Kazhuo Ohno Dancing Through my Quarantine by Maddy Leue

Maddy Leue is a poet from Franklin County (Ashfield) and is a member of the Cloud Saddle Writers. She is a single parent, a graduate student of public policy, an artist, a caregiver, a wanderer of woods, a tea-drinker, a tinkerer, a meddler. 

(Kazhuo Ohno, who is referenced in the title of this poem, was a Japanese Butoh dancer, teacher, and guru. He asked his students to relate to spontaneity and chaos, just as this pandemic asks of us. Cobbentry belongs to my father, refers to carpentry cobbled together, and absolutely must be pronounced with a strong Boston accent.)

Kazhuo Ohno Dancing Through
my Quarantine

Maybe there’s something
in all that
to help me
to have built from the bits
a cobbentry of a life
where everything fits – just
each part holding the others
tack, bolt, and screw
all of us doing this side by side
only to find that it’s volatile
as ether, stable only in the way
of a star which is to say
it’s relative
well it makes me wonder
how much spontaneity vs.
how much control we owe
ourselves, others.
I’m not holding well
the vessel of my words.
I can’t make sense of the shape.

Here go my hands again
contained now more often
longing to leap and howl
like loving dogs but hushed
down and dimmed. Even here
even in the homesafe I can’t
shake the holding tight
feel of imagining the places
my hands are not allowed.
I made my child, dug-in
and sullen, I made her wear
her new-leaf green mask out
onto the beach to practice.
I did that. Feeding her fear
like a sourdough; kneading it
down into something usable.
She has to go out has to be able.
I need to imagine a world
where she can sit on the cold sand
in a protective circle and watch
leaden waters curl without plan
with the perfect plan of nature
with no agenda without virtue
– it’s imperative. Good g-d or
whatever holds cells in proper order
please do not take this.
Order/disorder roaring like a wind
through the forest sculpting out
the sound of landscape.
Didn’t I say that? Didn’t I
just? Didn’t I seem to know then so
how now am I so muddled
clutching tight to torment
like a child her mother
unwilling to let even one thing fall
and shatter? It’s all ether, Maddy,
exploding violently around you
and clutching at that is clearly futile.

It just comes back to
the speed of entropy
which determines if atoms
can even form and society
is somehow more like that
than we’d thought.
If everyone coughs North
at the same time
would the earth wobble
do you think?
If everyone just fucking
listened would we hear
the creak of that orbit?
Every acid-dropping mystic
can tell you the answer.
Six feet away from each other
is also a good distance for dancing
is also a good distance to
let your limbs move without thinking
what will my hands grasp
and will it last long enough
to keep us home all summer?

Cobbentry this bitch up, I guess,
take blown asunder pottery
sharded, hefted out a window
left to blow open guts streaming out
stuff and find
some way
to make