The Ideation Project

by Domenica Martinello

Domenica Martinello is the author of the chapbook Interzones (2015) and All Day I Dream About Sirens (Coach House Books, 2019). She was a finalist for the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the winner of the carte blanche 3Macs prize for her genre-bending work of literary criticism, “Ferrante in the Cellar: A Vulgar Appreciation.” Originally from Montréal, she is currently completing an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and tweets @domenicahope


 

Exile is a most superb
suburb for those who hurt us

to disappear into,bushes kept
so high and trim they’ll be

rose bushes, soon.

Perhaps there’s traffic
on the way back

with a bit of honking
and all that but obviously
it’s not that far a trip,
because here we are—

smelling the air, mmmmmmm! All cleared.

MARCH 24th, 2016
hereto referred to as “THAT DAY”—
was all corners.

And today?

~

The verdict passed, what
seven seasons agonow

screaming match of SPRING SUMMER FALL
WINTER SPRING SUMMER FALL

I remember it. I did my taxes
“THAT DAY”

100+ bucks to praise the ledger
of the accounting software dropdown list

fidgeting in the boxy beige office, a pile of coats
in one corner.

~

Embracing impermanence is our solemn
duty as women, along with coming

clean about OUR EMAILS
ALWAYS OUR EMAILS

(and emailed bikini pics).

Every woman was braless
under her coat “THAT DAY”

and all of the schools were closed.
Heard a man joke on the phone, Toronto falls

apart under a bit of ice! I stifled
a shiver, bit my own icy thigh.

~

I don’t exist
properly

under the big red

clit of the Canada
Revenue Agency,

in offices or courtrooms.
My femininity
is so much bigger and better

and more pleasurable than yours,
I’ve been trained to wield it

like the magnificent cock that it is
I spread myself out in public

take my comfort like the boys
stick my fingers into any icebox
I want.

(O, let the record show! the type of heels worn

by the lawyer in court: the audience is invited
to wonder—would she
have secretly liked
being choked, too?)

~

Fear is infectious
as strep throat.

Develop a parasocial relationship

to hair-pulling, to keeping handwritten notes, to
Lady Justice herself, who ironically never gets choked

up on the topic of what she may
or may not haveseen.

~

“THAT DAY” I watched the coats in the corner multiply
pile
pile
pile

as if disappearing a body
feeling cornered

each time the accountant exits the room to consult her supervisor
and I barely made any money again this year

who in this narrative is yearning for predictability?
the coats,

a soft, dismissive surveillance
No, ma’am, I did not keep the past three years  

of tax returns
frankly I’m humiliated
by all the lengthy decisions
of our most esteemed elders.

~

Some thrive on archives
others on paper trails

or the rickety railroad
of rumour.

Some fondle the
sweet, frigid plums
we all know that one guy.

Everyone has a story
or heard one. Some got

tied to the tracks anyway.
Some of us finger our files on the reg.

(snap-snap)
He came
(snap-snap)
He saw
(snap-snap-snap-snap)
He brought receipts!

The double
metonymy

of pen and sword, of holding court
for fear of missing out.

No one knows and
everyone does.

~

Where were you the first time
you had mud flung in your face
and pretended to like it?

Where were you the second time?

How bruised were you “THAT DAY”

when you fell hard on the ice and bounced right back up
so fast, for fear of being seen? How long after you walked

away did the shock wear off and it actually started
to hurt? When did you

first feel the pain?

And if the pain
is delayed

long enough

was it ever really there
in the first place,

or is it still there

a sickly blotch, embodied

is the pain
blameless?
less
less
less

~

There’s no pressing pause on “THAT DAY”
the air was so bitter
and so fucking cold

I went and got
myself in order

I went and got
myself on paper

this is just to say
I ran from my attention span

“THAT DAY” began to gestate

it gestated, all corners
to write myself out of

nuance was not a casualty
of my gesticulating

ideation: politics to philosophy to pop culture’s
subhuman condition
of repetition
(command) a quit all

(command) a quit all

(command) a quit all

~

The eighth season—
WINTER bushes bare

ice on all
the roads back here.

 


Domenica Martinello is the author of the chapbook Interzones (2015) and All Day I Dream About Sirens (Coach House Books, 2019). She was a finalist for the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the winner of the carte blanche 3Macs prize for her genre-bending work of literary criticism, “Ferrante in the Cellar: A Vulgar Appreciation.” Originally from Montréal, she is currently completing an MFA at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and tweets @domenicahope

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