From PERFACT, by Nicole Raziya Fong.
I want to delve into the physical effort of witness. When it occurs to me that witnessing affirms its residue in the spatial certainty of a room, I want to close the windows. The windows are so penetrating, I want to damage them.
The occurrence of witnessing is a question posed to effort: do I want to close the windows? Do I want to feel your gaze as you’re seeing me? Do I want to feel myself feeling your gaze penetrate the panes of this window? I do feel you censoring this transit through cellular matter. I do want you to feel my transit either as an anterior embodiment of nerves or as the directive willing of fate. I do want you to believe that my spatial energy is hinged to yours and that as we close the windows to the exterior, the doors facing inwards will open.
You have created an absence for me and I exist within it. I exist freely in the absence left by / birthed by / discarded by / traced by the space you once occupied. I exist as an iteration of this absence. Though it is not my absence, it has grown as familiar to me as an unending spatial hinge. This absence is so penetrating but I cannot close the windows. Unable to depart from the conceivable exit, I must instead witness the physical effort of windows threatening to iterate from within the dream.
If repetition is paced by daylight then this is where the rain begins. If daylight is cast in my image then the repetition of precedents is a physical form that both confines and adheres to the pacing of rain. If this is the beginning of rain then it is evident that the passage of my daylight is a precedent. When you ask, “is this kind of durational passage imaginary?” I take it as evidence that to you, I am little more than a passing image in this system of contestation. The evidence that exists is a passage which ends, and in ending, reveals the transient weather of a system. The system brings forth rain, from which daylight appears.
The dimensions of matter are not so serene. Daylight changes but something about it remains the same. I remain suspended in the transparency of daylight’s belief, suggesting to all who ask that the inherent value of matter is concealed within the quality of its container. While value is given to certain genres of being, nothing exists outside of involuntary matter. This matter is a container that allows the dimensions of its substance to recede, which in turn allows value to suspend itself. This is a formula in which the suspension of translucence reveals the bland, passing certainty of value. My expectations of the nature of this passage have been uprooted by this changing of daylight, suggesting the contours of my container but never revealing it.
You must either question the seamless enclosure or pierce it. You must cause fluids to fall from the retreat of certainty. Certainty’s sheen is not reducible to rain coating an unmoved surface, though the two are comparable. Certainty’s sheen is a delicate tea, certainty’s sheen is warm milk. However, certainty maintains that the dimensions of matter are not so secure.
One essential thing has formed but its scent characterizes a changing will. The changing will of certainty cannot be reduced to matter. Refer to the coated surface that is simultaneously pierced and unmoved. The scent of delicate tea fuses with that of warm milk; this is the nature of its certainty. Bergamot changing into the warmth of a body, and bergamot fading into the persistence of a recurring note, each characterize the changing will of certainty. Notes of bergamot change into the living warmth of a body and pierce me.
I would like to cause this sudden overflowing in you. I would like to think I have pierced your defeated reality.
NICOLE RAZIYA FONG lives in Montreal. Her first book of poetry is forthcoming from Talonbooks in Spring 2019.