“Dear Book” by Angel Dominguez

"Untitled" by Helen Xiu / helenxiu.com



Dear Book,

Surely the puncture must work both ways, if the present is ever-past, always departing. What then do we make of the future, or rather, how do we make a future out of the rubble of almost?
I mostly think I’m tethered to those sidewalks, and those cracks form an autobiography where the roses figure the concrete. I get weak knees thinking of who transfigures what and will we still live to see the rain? Look how long the days are.
I can’t explain what happens to my body when I.
I keep trying to write the same book, which is not a book. There’s a Clarice Lispector translation of Agua Viva with a line that reads, “There is much I cannot tell you. I am not going to be autobiographical. I want to be “bio.”
I too want to be bio. Here with you. What is the gesture needed to compress the body until it becomes the page? How might we (re) capture the spirit(s) of lived experiences, here. Sometimes I hear a train call out to the ocean from the redwoods. Sometimes, a small mountain town street calls out my name with no one there. Sometimes I let myself sleep and become the rain elsewhere.
The stream is slow. These days are weeks are months and slowly the totality of time becomes compressed, or flattened by the motions of living. There’s only so much scale we can comprehend before it bursts apart.
The stone is alive without my hand just as this sentence lives beyond my inevitable transmission. Or is it translation? Perhaps a transfiguration.
To become the planet again spiraling towards the center of a larger spiral.
I got sick of writing letters to myself so I got around to talking to people.
Sometimes I feel like I might remember snippets of the future, and I can see it. In these tiny ensueños, like the mirror speckle of a minnow emerging between the murky water and its surface.
Sometimes I let myself become the rain. The rhythm grows to fit the room.
Sometimes I let the lemon trees talk to me in my dreams; mostly it’s about the things they failed to mention before they’re torn out of the earth, before the seed my grandmother planted reverses back into itself, back into her hands, never to be planted.
I fear the constant flattening of the city. The way these posters and flyers remain locked in a circuitous wreckage.
Roses, much like rain, seem to follow me wherever I go. I’ve grown to love these brief salutations between living things. The rain is older than everything.
For a long time, I dreamt of writing a kind of entanglement – a window reflecting a window while also maintaining the image beyond each window and I’d like to think it’s a bit like living.
I’ve been thinking less and less about architectures and more about trees. The idea of trees – how the acorn is the oak, how the seed is the tree without time. Is that the book?
In my dreams, there’s a language that keeps reaching outside of itself. My dreams keep telling me things about other people’s dreams and sometimes I think we’re entwined by this celestial rhizome that extends beyond the planet and into other planes of thinking and being and somewhere between the earth and this connection is where the writing happens, or at least, it’s where the intersection occurs in such a way to open a space for writing.
As the rain softens the particular, the trees sigh sleepy with exhale.

I warp these words to help fit the disk in my spine.


//Dear rose, I want you to be sun; become water//

I want to save the house. Save the peninsula. Save the city. Save the sea. And still, I can’t. All I can do is hold them together in my memory, piling all this language next to me, counting the containers and measuring their weight and is this sentence a year yet or did they ever really die? Did we ever exist at all?
Under the blue flower Scorpio moon, I dream of more time with the lemon trees; I dream of the aguacates teaching me everything they know about growing and freedom; I learn to become the house and begin to build one in the heart of my heart, and I forgot to take a brick. Wanted the memory to stick more than maybe tried to make a talisman of the tragedy. Sky all on me.
The angel trumpets levitate and face the sky when I return to the house in dreams. It seems the structure continues to grow older in the imaginary, which may be an entangled dream, or another thing happening else-when, where the house survives. I don’t assume to know the finer details of the holographic universe. I feel it sometimes and can’t language fast enough to render it real. We remain parallel, never touching and yet, is that not a form of touch? Is touch not the repulsion of electrons, atoms hovering like star-systems becoming a type of distance that communicates nearness, the impossibility of connection. We become enmeshed in this language mess, and yet it’s the only way I can reach you. This weary warble, the low yawn of the somnambulist waking the forest.



Angel Dominguez is a Latinx poet and artist of Yucatec Maya descent, born in Hollywood and raised in Van Nuys, CA, by their immigrant family. They’re the author of RoseSunWater (Operating System, 2020) and Black Lavender Milk (Timeless, Infinite Light, 2015). Their third book, DESGRACIADO (the collected letters) is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2021. You can find Angel’s work online and in print in various publications. Angel lives in Bonny Doon, CA.