In this dark alley, my knee locks

panic breath

 hitch in the air

Breath pattern

wink of bone against bone: hear the grating

breathe against or with

patterns of resistance, flow

Kugel: round bone head rotate inwards, into the mountains

balance on the crag's edge

grind cracks as the circle sinks

so lift: breathe

diaphragm blooms

lengthen tendon

complex picture paints in blood and sinew

stitches a band-aid across the site

a brick is a brick is a brick

crumbles free under my hand

lift the Kugel (bowling ball with too many cracks, use

value negligible, too smooth so smooth never cavern no)

ravenous maw that cuts into curve

balance on the needle

one breath, and it falls:

sword bite

bowling alley limp that knee up, up and freeze:


a breath is a breath is a breath

If you want to get away, if you want to roll and fall and start again,


this round volume of the lung, my aviolae balls

in mimicry to live, to heave.

Measure the curvature,

correspondence, despondence, dependence

secure round of the bone ball,

bone cradle call you, you, you, into the round

respond, wave of compression

circle wheeling



In this dark alley with its smell of piss and garbage

my knee locks

me out


breathe out

breathe in breathe out

in the dark alley breathe in and out and breathe

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist and a community artist, and teaches in performance studies and disability studies the University of Michigan. Her books include a poetry collection co-written with Neil Marcus, Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (Homofactus, 2008) and the forthcoming Disability Culture and Community Performance: Find a Strange and Twisted Shape (Palgrave, 2011). She is artistic director of The Olimpias,

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