[-empyre-] Lyrae van Clief-Stefanon post on Duration

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Fri Nov 16 13:08:14 AEDT 2018

For her posts, Lyrae van Clief-Stefanon is generously sharing with us poems from her Cornell Biennial performance with Emily Stark-Menneg, "Measured/The Clover Project."  For today, we share her poem,


If space makes the pattern, her absence is filling a quota.

The president says, 
“we’re a nation of laws” :—
The limerick 
under her dreaming :—that lilting.

At seven a Seuss-rhyme’s still funny.
And who’s to say wouldn’t have been, still, at 30?
The Sneetches or What Was I Scared Of?

She’s seven, asleep on the living room sofa.

     in amphibrachs—:
			who hears her, breathing?

If space makes the pattern, her absence is filling a quota.

This absence—: Aiyana.

But what was the officer scared of?
What reaches for him in the recesses of his attention?
What formal suggestion of darkness
needs stagger
to formless? 

If space makes the pattern—: egregious—:

This grief in the rhythm of—: uplift
too :— graphic—: a measure of struggle.
Which struggle with law holds

the dark in it? Keeps 
the dark of 
     Quinletta, LaToya, Kimkesia, Oneka, Tawana…
my still-breathing cousins
] your still-breathing cousins [
     alive in it.	Aiyana. Her breath in perfection—: at seven—: This measure
for measure on measure on measure
or else—:

Law is dead, Aiyana. It never was
July 14, 2013
Statement by the President
“The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy.  Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America.  I know this case has elicited strong passions.  And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher.  But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.  I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.  And as we do, we should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities.  We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis.  We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this.  As citizens, that’s a job for all of us.  That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”


Link to the Sneetches


Link to article on Aiyana Stanley-Jones


Timothy Murray
Director, Cornell Council for the Arts and Curator, CCA Biennial
Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art 
http://goldsen.library.cornell.edu <http://goldsen.library.cornell.edu/>
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
B-1 West Sibley Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853

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