I lost my body at Plan D’eau - Tiziana La Melia
September 11, 2015

A split second before stepping over the edge, I experience an oozing schism and stop myself from falling into the water. From far away I perceive the dots as a solid plane, easily mistaken for the concrete of a playground painted pea green.

Still in disbelief, I toss gravel into it.

I dip a stick into it.

I walk to the small island connected by a bridge, sitting with my back against rocks, moss and lichen. The Pavillon de Sources ices the horizon. I google it and find pictures of nymphs.

On my second day in Pougue-les-Eaux, I finally left my room. I walk through the streets, around Park Saint-Léger. I am looking for my body. I rest my back against the dappled trunk of a plane tree, read Testo Junkie. The sun beats over my feet. I hear new sounds. The insects purr, the insects rattle. I’m looking at the wind. Red beetles crawl onto the notepad, transparent beetles curl against my skin.

The pink light during sunset offers even less contrast between the deceptively solid plane of the algae bloom. I don’t see frogs, but I hear them make contact with water. My neck weighs down, I read about the anus. I think about donuts and mouths and hands and the short circuit between the sexes. There’s some connection here with frogs. Time constricts. Gut feelings.

I don’t know how I arrived here, but I did. Pining to make sense of it I look to the pond. It offers only questions. The algae negotiates with the weather.

The barely detectable wind produces fine lines where from closer up the algae produces a cartography of the air. The pond is deep. It does not ripple when you disturb it. It feels like stirring thick soup. The stone sinks quickly. I think about poison. I read that excessive nitrogen and phosphorous in the pond can stimulate the growth of parasitic flatworms, which burrows in large numbers into tadpoles where limbs are developing and can lead to deformities. Or new ways of jumping. Developing frogs grow with too few limbs or displaced limbs – cysts traced to excessive nitrogen and phosphorus in lakes and ponds.

I read close to the pond scum.
I read the scum.
We both need more oxygen.

I lost my body before I got here. I lost it sometime early winter and I retrieved it> on August 11th.

That morning after work I went to Aloe Massage on Pender Street. It was relaxing at first, but then part way through Peter released a knot. Then followed the black bile bloom.

The sink is clogged.
The stream is drained.
The channels quiet.

I returned today and moved the surface with a stick. It reeks and bubbles. The first time I observed this it seemed emotional. The pond’s hypoxia, gasping for air.

I sit here drained and drained of emotion. Time, a dilated instance, dark pines making shadows over water. The surroundings made more still by the opaque and gross stagnancy of the pond.

The algae had already bloomed across and up the sides of the pond when I go there. The blooms with no contact turn beige, stuck onto grass like crusty braids.

But I had dreamed of you at another time, you are a liveliness that responds to heat, just as I sit here, my body blushes, my head feels light. I want to smoke cigarettes with the people who work here. I feel wet with the air.

I finally catch a glimpse of the frog. I can confirm this now. I see a fly land on the algae. From where I’m sitting today, I notice the different islands of density. Pockets of bare water, black. Thinner areas of green trace the movement below.

I go back to the tree where I wrote you the first letters. At the time I was too emotionally wasted to be afraid of all the insects, which I detected, noting their colours, crawling over my feet up my jeans and in my hair. I didn’t notice because I had lost my body completely, and so I had lost my fear.

Clouds appear.
I am wet.
The pond is the sum of it.
Away from the screen I turn inward,
I want to catch the frog jump in.
The fly lands on a dot.

The old pond
A frog jumped in,


*Matsuo Bashô: Frog Haiku translated by Allen Ginsberg.