'Learning to Be Human/Learning to Be Lion' by Kathryn Nowinski

 

A./ To stalk—(on the internet?); or to set out after?  My first boyfriend, Jacob, I dated from the time I was sixteen until I was 21 (well, the last few years of that were on-again, off-again).  He cheated on me with a vegan the summer before our junior years of college.  We took his 12 year old brother to the zoo sometime earlier that summer, and the lions were mating.  Male lions have barbed penises.  Biology is a hard science.

 

Learning to Be Human/Learning to Be Lion

 

If the lions like…

           

The lions like

Prowling

 

Yes, prowling around.

 

…Then that’s you.

 

And you give me prowling around lessons. 

 

Bridging images

Bridging imaginaries

 

Airplanes to America.

 

 

From Coming (2017), the Fordham published translation of Jean-Luc Nancy and Adele Van Reeth’s, la Jouissance. Van Reeth poses, “Not only does jouissance have no precise subject, but might it be the sign of belonging to a community, something that surpasses the subject and makes us join with being?”  Can it be the “locus for…a shared meaning, a common sensibility…”?  Jean-Luc Nancy replies, “Exactly, because since I am not the owner of my jouissance, I still experience it in a way that I can actually be there where however I cannot find myself.”

 

B./  We are cells storing energy that jive, magnetize, and spark.  Sitting at breakfast, I listened to you talk about ketosis while we ate house-made cranberry toast and eggs over medium without irony.  There have been days and days of breakfast sandwiches on croissants, bagels, and muffins.

 

Sometimes there are minutes that I want to freezer-pack and save for a day when the stores run low.  I want memories like standing around smoking cigarettes on the corner of Michigan and 14th.  You smoked Parliaments, too, and always lit mine first.  I thought, “This is fun.”

 

When we first met, I thought, okay, flirt back.  I imagined what it would be like to slow dance or fast dance, or fuck.  The latter two I would come to learn later that night.  I pulled my car into a parking space outside of your hostel to drop you off at the end of the night, and you said, “If you’d like to come up to the Four Seasons…”  I pulled out of the space I had paralleled into and brought you home to my place.  You were too tall for my bed so you hogged the diagonal.  I burrowed in.  When I was falling asleep, I thought of how you had originally asked, “If you’re down for a boogie and/or drink just let me know.”  Kissing in an alley might be why we ever get out of bed in the morning.

 

 

C./  In the back yard, there is a parrot I see sometimes.

Well, I’ve seen it twice now.

It’s actually a parrot,

A real parrot, not a cardinal like I thought the first time I saw it

Well…

Maybe it’s a cockatiel

Or a cockatoo,

I used to know the difference.

It’s red and green and blue.

I tried to catch it the first time I saw it,

Thinking somebody lost a pet maybe.

 

I’m an idiot for thinking you can catch a parrot.

Those things have wings.

 

It’s in the neighbor’s yard now.

 

I was talking on the phone with my mother.

And there it was.  In a tree.

I wonder if it gets let out sometimes

And goes back home after?

Or if it’s a feral parrot—

A homeless parrot—

Or maybe just a wayward parrot?

 

I wonder if it likes living like that?

A tropical bird,

I don’t think it will make it through the Michigan winter.

 

D./  I hate that I wished I could just keep sleeping with him in a nonemotive way, just to be fucking someone I didn’t hate, because I really might have hated most of them: the BBC director who came on my face; or the floppy-haired singer-songwriter who gave me his CD as I was walk-of-shame leaving his house, his roommate was in her underwear in the kitchen hungover; my ex who got slightly better in bed at some point in the last three years living in New York but still kisses sort of like a fish.  Before that, the list of failings include the mansplainer-stoner who liked to tell me about art-symbolism, regardless of my art history degree; the accountant from Farmington Hills whose loft was way-cooler than he was; the medical-supplier whose older, nearly-forty dick got soft every time I tried putting on a condom, so I gave the fuck up and resolved to only sleep with him for the summer, but he couldn’t sleep, so he left me naked and alone night after night and never even appreciated the box-fort I made that one July; the condescending prick who thought his nuclear-engineering PhD meant more than my anthropology PhD, and made me question that maybe it might; there was Daniel, who having sex with in the middle of the residential street shouldn’t be a favorite, most cherished romantic memory, because that’s fucked up, but there we stood; and of course there’s the unresolvedness of the Irish Catholic political scientist whose rosary fell out of his pocket the first time I took off his pants.  He studied internal Palestinian politics, and went back to Ramallah too soon…I appreciated him changing his profile-picture to the Hagia Sophia in Turkey on his way there, so at least I knew he had left the country, but, no, I wasn’t mad.  There are too many others to feel anything about and they all rush back like the water pouring out of the faucet at the farmer’s market bathroom.  My hands were red and raw because the water was stuck on hot and I developed mechanisms that were apparently failing. 

E./ 

Draught

Drought

One means having liquid, the other is the lack.