Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Aditi Machado





from “Epistle to the Efficience”



1        It is said ‘A kind of malignant mind
creeps through the earth lit only by the light
of the movies.’
2        In the recession, an easterly mind
is unable to give up its ideas, accordion
sea. In a forest of pines, sapient, sap pools,
the report goes awry. Fold this.
3        I am reporting on a country.
_____There appears a corrosion on its hills.
_____Birds are winding the landscape, using it to tell time.
The report goes awry.
4        Again.
5        I am reporting on a country.
_____There appears a buzzing on its sills.
_____There appears a digital sort of graininess.
_____A thin line appears, dividing estrangement
from habit, lupines from tentacles, ‘a spasm,
____________________________a psalm’
6        Again.
7        I am reporting on a country.
_____Traffic is a lovely lingering
sound. Shops are open. I neglect what
neglects me. Feel a bit petty. I drink a wine,
I dress a vegetable, quick kimchi, slow
8        Again.
9        According to a source, I am reporting on a country.
I am learning some skills, I am wielding them
as others do. I am feeling things as I am wont to do.
What do I observe? Bald classicism. Fallen romanticism.
The stained glass of basement revivals.
10      What do I learn? Nothing



1        Dark night. Dark theatre.
2        A love of subtitle files fills me.
3        Narration, speech, voice.
4        Timestamps secrete a music.
5        When I watch a film I explore a time
‘that is not mine,’ ‘that is mine, it is
so near to the heart.’
6        The film is a fold. The fold lies
at one end of a woman’s body. It lies
7 murdered in a field. In the gorgeous rolling country
I love the merest christ figures. I love the thin blades
of thin grass, the little scurrilous winters, doxy
8 doxa—o be still, my
less intel. Be still, o night
that is metallic, o meticulous human
in the window next door. I’ve been watching
your interior grow. Roseate
in the roseate light. Unlike the rose’s shabby
inscape and unlike the ball gowns wrinkling
from memory, sartorial
paysan, you are dressed most simply, ruddy
and complex only ever inside.
I fold you. Against my bed
you make an impressionism
like a fossil.
9        In the recession, away from all
edifications, nasturtiums,
10      I am stopped from the couplet
or at the border of a country.
11      As ways and truths go,
I am more or less deadened.
12      My effete mind rests
upon an effete divan.
13      A crocus occurs a.



1        Darkest night. Smell of cyanide.
A number of cruel jokes circulates.
2        Here are some definitions of sex, here
some anatomies of money. An impecunious
fluid routs my flesh.
3        ‘Everyone,’ she says, ‘everyone
is doing the work but what does the work
do?’ I observe the cheap light turn slowly
gibbous, why not. ‘The terror,’ she says, ‘isn’t,’
she says, ‘we’re fragments.’ ‘The terror is,’
she says, ‘we’re whole.’ The copse witnessed
through the opera glass turns into a
guess what. Fold it.
4        Dank morning. ‘I cultivate a primrose’
that is cryptic. An impresario, I unfold its petals.
5        Method. Méprise. Nostalgia for a condition
gone by, when ‘Silk was a duration’ and ‘I unpacked it.’
6        A rich, quotidian engagement, whatever
it is, too much of it, too much presence, too much
7        absence, fold it. Thin line between vellum
and blunt instrument. Fold it.
8        Late afternoon. Aspic quivers.
Birds shed their descriptors.
9        Hopkinsesque accents
10      equip the air with plain joy, then
torqued pleasure. The imagined cottage,
the oblique approach to which is a romance,
sits pretty.
11      Why a quivering aspic?
12      This slightly outlandish window into my—no
interior, we said—sensations, the way the alleged
storm affects the globe on a dish upon a
table in the somewhat inclement
outside turning to hail, it shivers
13      totally.
14      A quaint time of day even the streets glisten
a dark sort of description. It’s all right,
don’t come. I’ll just ‘decay with imprecision.’
15      The experiment in stillness isn’t death, it’s
an attempt toward season.

Aditi Machado is a poet and translator from Bangalore, India. Her first book Some Beheadings (Nightboat, 2017) won The Believer Poetry Award in 2018. Her other work includes a translation, from the French, of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia (Action, 2016), a chapbook called Prologue | Emporium to appear from Garden-Door Press in Fall 2018, and poetry (forthcoming) in Western Humanities Review, Seedings, Volt, and Lana Turner Journal, among other journals. She is the poetry editor of Asymptote, and the Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis. More from this author →