Lara Mimosa Montes
Whale Tongue


Accessibility audio version: Lara Mimosa Montes reads her text

Time remaining:

Prehensile like a starfish I was trying to get your attention. Filthy imagination and the kelp like bloated condoms. They keep me alive. Viscous matter, I am.

I chase a blue mood called angelika. It’s sprinting past. What are the thoughts you have in relation to time, to your own emergence? I am coming into contact with someone whose matter coalesces before me and I awake before a new grammar. This is transversal speech; sound without origin.

When we make eye contact I can sense you like me, you like my breath whereas my fascination, it’s an accident. Imagine if we take the shyness and make a seahorse of it. I must sequester this happening that manifests when I feel threatened. It is a hormone chain reaction. I am communicating something to you that goes unsaid through a process that I want to share like music. It is not intended to be friendly. I do not send this as a welcome.

Without hesitation you approach what you are as you witness the corona of the flower open. There is also the silence that precedes the sound of the inner coil that wants to brighten. To touch the coil is to receive the transmission. I experience the touch of the other like a new chemical composition. I titrate this feeling that is one molecule away from becoming a toxin. I guzzle the strangeness, a form of pollution, but in order to imagine the sound of my own voice I need to inhabit a very deep silence, a shimmery glossy dying and dividing. Silver, nitrogen, potassium, boron…

Sentience– it’s like smoke, a sign from elsewhere, burning. I tried to tell you in my own language what I saw emerging. This time we share, it’s citrus-scented, but as I cut into the orange, I slice into something so nascent. We inhabit this moment and everywhere its magic. In me I feel a drifting, a distant sadness. I try to court the living because they are here among us. Wordless music, what we also imagine– the first time I heard your voice I felt the bludgeon. How do you experience the phenomenon of recognition? Is it like a gathering of features or the spread on a picnic blanket? What I recall of us when I travel back in time to understand this moment is an affection. I think about the architecture that could contain us and I ask myself can you feel this? If it’s 1:30 in the morning and I see myself in the mirror, a planet, silent and lifeless. When I look at the night sky and ask myself is this Fate. Ruptures in time when you can barely stand to look away.

You think you are in the fold but you are also part of the psychosis.

We inhabit a hiatus; idle time. Firepits. Tell me about the penumbra. It’s where you stand in the shadow of the object. The whole event was so overwhelming I forgot how to enjoy my own reflection, and over time I learned how to speak what I thought was the other’s language. I even forged my signature on the most important of documents. I was a copy of a copy. Exhilarating to be a body in the shape of what appeared to me to be a person. But I also had nightmares where I imagined myself running naked and afraid of what I was becoming. You have to remember that even as you are leaving yourself, you are, from some other point, also approaching. It’s a wingless flight that leaves you breathless. Soaring. So I took my refuge among the lynxes.

What followed was a sense of spiritual displacement. Years ago I saw you, but I could not name the style of your looking. We were like two magnets transfixed by a shared repulsion. The sensation was the opposite of boredom. I have no memory of how I may or may not have participated in that moment, or what kind of pornography I might have summoned deep in my memory to pretend as though I had a body. I am what I say I am and today it’s a bolt of lightning.

There I lay the next day sweating and exhausted. I have in me this desire to end myself, but equally matched is a desire to live out my magic. Incandescence of the light bulb, a radiant logic. Now when I bend over I try to feel the connection between my mouth and my anus.

It’s not speech I carry but thrownness. That’s why sometimes I still visit the ocean in search of new meanings, new words, new life forms, strange currents. I realize I am a person who doesn’t have patience. It’s there if you want it, body to body contact. I want a full-length mirror so I can count every orifice. The truth is I fear I am disappearing. I am frightened. I am not sure who I am becoming. I used to be brave and now I carry a trident. And then everything that happened up until that point seemed pointless. Meanwhile the others who live here beside me think I am clairvoyant.

Once we ran through the fields only to experience a chemical burning. I leave you now as I found you, an eggshell in a coffin. I make a ritual of this and send out to the world my silence.

If you are afraid of dying, try and imagine a beautiful red curtain– a field of vibrations flexing, bending, contracting, and expanding.

You don’t have to be afraid, but I understand why you are. I came here to tell you that you don’t need sex to reach me because you have already touched me here beyond the camouflage.

I try to stretch to let in this magnet because turmoil is alive like this and also magic. You try to unearth me but I am velvet, a space that reorganizes itself around the unearthing. What of me remains in the space that you fill? How do you arrive home to yourself? Sputum, spirit, alive, the saliva. I ask you to open your mouth and speak the truth about the lovers we have left inside us— to embrace a stranger attraction whose structure is like a honeycomb, hexagonal and imperfect.

Crossing my path is a new spiky element. It says to me no me toques. Midnight approaches. What do you feel capable of giving to another person? We have a capacity to sense what is in us, around us, and ultra-violet. Was there a past and did I exist in it? Someone knows your name and to hear you speak it is to hide inside time, the glow of childhood, like dawn, breaking.

Who are you when you inhabit the moment that invites you into it? Who are you when you live against your own ambitions? Sometimes you arrive at your own death early, anticipating moments in your life when you look at another person and imagine that some end of you as you know it is also approaching. It is there that I envision myself at the cusp of this newness, perishing. Try to imagine it as a natural process. A shapeless future coming into focus. Something concresces beneath the layers, outside the fictions. You count the years. What night am I carrying?

I know this remembering is a symptom. Who is the one writhing when I feel you bodily inside me, scattered among the matter, seaflesh decomposing?

This tongue is a sensory organ that sweats something viscous and thixotropic. If I had the biggest tongue in the world I would tell you to lap up the liquid that gathers from outside us. Was it the language of others ricocheting through our body? An unveiling as if over coffee? Little rings of smoke, loops disintegrating. A gravitation. Add in another step and the whole dance changes.

The night I was violated I felt a perforation. To say my body is insufficient. What I mean is my soul, my sacrum, the seat of my person. I want you to shake with the force of what happened to us. I want you to weep in the presence of that moment for which you were absent and I had breathed my last breath as I knew myself, in that body, in that incarnation. What spun around us changed us and what followed is this now, after. I imagine what I think it’s like to go unconscious.

That is what I sense death is. A recurrence. The worst has already happened so why should we fear it? The night I ended I came like a comet. Now I have a fucking attitude and I’m unforgiving. Unsorted, epileptic, ungathered as a person– how will you know you are there in the space of revelation rather than past it? I try to be in the world and without the feeling so I force it. I am told I refuse aliveness, but I am also capable of acting in certain moments as if I live in a world without punctuation, comma, comma splice, breath, or ending. I think about the way my spine extends to my stomach. It goes unseen by me, but I know that it happens. Bliss, by nature, is incapable of exhaustion and DESIRE, IT ISN’T LIKE US– IT DOESN’T USE LANGUAGE. It’s impossible to enter the field without also leaving an imprint, that’s what they said about the lead threshold, a passage.

When we meet in time and space it is a love poem. When we meet in time and space it’s a dusty road. When we meet in time and space we unloosen something inside us. When we meet in time and space we make a pact to return as we are. When we meet in time and space we play hopscotch, but instead of numbers we count stars. When we meet in time and space we blush to recognize the other because the other is us. When we meet in time and space we worry about the past later. When we meet in time and space we scrape the inside of the gourd and from the emptiness build a world. When we meet in time and space we shatter the illusion that we know who we are. When we meet in time and space we are a thousand tiny sexes divided and reborn. When we meet in time and space we lean so far we almost fall.

I wasn’t looking for this and yet it found me. I imagine we are stranded, unpeopled, before trauma. But I know inside us there are narratives, stories of other people’s passing. Presence, loading. Then moments when I think of our parting, I imagine you turning your back on something to forget it. It was like we all moved out of the same house on the same day, but the house was my body.

In my new tongue, I mew. How can a person survive, live on as a vacancy? I lick the rim of the cherry bowl and in my dreams, I envision myself existing somewhere between a rocking horse and a foal. My phobias vibrate around me charged with a kind of unfeeling. I weep sensing the story of my flesh. No one has to know what happened to you. No one has to know where you went. But I feel compelled to explain I went somewhere, it was raining, and after that night “I” did not return. And maybe that shyness is something I don’t have to explain. Skittish animal running toward the fjords, fearful that in encountering the world, I will encounter what I have lost too. There is the time before the event and then there is now. Something happened to me once. I went out in the rain and I never came back. I did not lose consciousness, but a part of me stepped out, as if to smoke a cigarette. What was left is now just a narrative lodged within me like a feeling of love fated. An iciness coating the inside of everything like life coming to life and then abruptly expiring.

I am encountering this fact daily here as a secret. What parts of me do I want to reveal and which do I wish to leave out? Is it flirting to attempt to speak in the other’s tongue, to hear in its cadence echoes of your former life, your dreams, your name, undone? We speak the same language and I open myself up to the rapture of remembering. What I did not say that night was that I loved you and that to experience your love like a ruin had abolished me, moved oceans in me. Now I imagine us carrying on a conversation that yesterday ended and the silences that have since followed are intermittently punctuated by a series of repeating arrhythmic pulses. What does it feel like to be somebody else’s secret? Protected, knowing glances. A thermal in a landscape. A provocation.

I need to be touched because I need reassurance that I live, I breathe, I speak, I think. Centripetal force, explosion, momentum. Before I met you, I had been in mourning so long I had become synonymous with my grief. Now I am cresting. I render it from memory. It’s a curve we lean into, not a cliff off of which we throw ourselves. I touch myself now in hopes that I can confirm I live, get off grammar’s path— drift. That wish is born out of our life together as long as it is a life together because it will not always be. I get swept up in it believing that I meet you now to bring me closer to this. I bang my head and smash my clit. The imagery is confused because look at how I live.

Who is the girl who softens at the hand of someone else’s desire? Something has happened to me and to pretend otherwise is to betray the knowledge that I have derived from that changing. I see myself in triplicate. Am I alone or just starlit? Your amorousness is a language. I like to listen to its music while you tread water, lapping up something of yourself in the process. The thing you are not capable of perceiving is that what has been is now broken and what is broken now is, lives on now as presence. Who are you to break open what has already been broken? You walk on sacred earth and you mistake the shape of the mountain. The mystery at its center will now be your unraveling. How shall we inhabit separately this shared silence? Is it cruel to continue on pretending as if I did not know the language? This connection we share is the secret I carry and all who enter go forth blindly. But not everyone can bear the visions and I myself almost cannot bear them. What is it like to enter the field of desire and beside it death? A pink light on the horizon, and a feeling so full I feel it as a ripeness. Time intervenes and then it’s diluted. Why is beauty like this— a silver blur in the distance? I think of myself as a young girl. And in the blur, passion. Laissez-moi, let me go. I thought I could stand idle, capture the flag. I am the flag, but I also surrender.

Image of Humpback Whale, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Michele Roux, Ocean Image Bank.