And what is the zero that marks the place for the one-who-writes? A page like snow? White without seven dwarves? The invention of a bee see? elbowing elemen(t) toward o.p. cues? With increasing speed and frequency? The moment the Greeks added vowels to the alphabet so that we don't have to draw on anything outside the word to construe it?

Shapes not found in nature. To take us out of body.

But I long for it. The body. Even if blue veins run from the knees to the ankles and the feet are swollen and bulge out of the shoes. And how can I long for something that is right here? A bit scattered my brain, perhaps. Not yet the bones I've carried around all my life. And by my own strength.

So I embark. On writing. With a shout at the sea around me, the surface of language. The vessel’s not important, but the shout is. It brings the body. And with it the patterns I love, rhythmic, paratactic, the old oral forms, repetition, alliteration. And if I don't use formulae and proverbs I at least play among their echoes in the inner ear.

Words that sleep in the body all night and in the daytime come out and touch you like a warm hand.

Yet all the while I sharpen my pencil to a fine point. My alphaknife to dissect the world. And remember the phoneme, an abstract value like that of zero, which makes possible the existence of language.

Intricate lines, complex, across gaps and fissures. Toward the distance needed for full understanding. Where the void opens its one eye that never closes. In the middle of the mind. Not in the proportions of body. And I'm unsure, does it make me blind or seeing.

Swallows, missiles, helicopters, wounded bodies, budding leaves, the sun rising out of the sea, streets glistening with rain, tin cans, plastic bags, armchairs, playing cards, a prisoner on a leash, cigarette butts, colours shifting in the sky, rooftops, maples, humvees, tanks, fields of wildflowers and landmines in one big, blooming confusion.

Or the other side of language. Where I am mute and the unsaid weighs heavy. On the tip of the tongue. A foretaste of death.

untitled 2021
six 12,25 x 15 cm
Mezzotint prints on Zerkall paper
Majla Zeneli @selected_unsettlements

Jarmuschek & Partner

From "Driven to Abstraction"
Rosmarie Waldrop

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Artists and Poems: Berlin 2021


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