Breath Work audio
Gently inhale & exhale
Right lung, left lung, blink 
Hold on to your seat real tight, hold your breath, keep your eyes in your head, and go on 
Meditate on the colour that is flesh void of oxygen, also the
discoloured fruit / fingered out of misted windows / into which I breathed 
for years i stood / in the semeny ginko staring at my hands believing / in afterlives thinking one day I’d wake into / a new kind of body like a fish suddenly / breathing air through its eyes [4
When ready, place your right pointer finger in the centre of your forehead, your thumb over your right nostril, your middle finger searching for its erogenous zone.
o separate(d)/strands of our breath!/Bright silver/threads of spirit/O quicksilver/spurt of fist, scansion of/unfocused eyeball 
While here, practice pushing air from the back of your throat up into your eye sockets.
consider making this your mourning practice.
you don't refuse to breathe do you 
the primary medium of poetry is not language but breath, specifically the breath of the poet marrying the breath of the reader. This is the key to its intimacy, its strange physicality 
the HEAD, by way of the EAR, to the SYLLABLE / the HEART, by way of the BREATH, to the LINE 
This is (also) why bad poetry hurts so much 
becoming dragonfish to survive / the horrors we are living / with tortured lungs / adapting to breathe blood 
the hellish (but breathable) finitudes of our present conjuncture 
Inhale & raise your arms / above your head (...)
Apply a small amount of tea tree oil to the tip of a cotton ball (...)
all arrangements require pain (...)
Hold the cotton ball up to the opening of your mouth, so that your breath might catch its oil and become dry, brittle, might
Is not the acquisition of speech based on the ability to
the words in one’s mouth? To push the lips this way and that, shaping breath into particular forms? 
Slowly, peel your breathing away from its body so that it becomes a tender outlier draped on the floor. Look over at your sculpted breath-skin; attend to it daily. Think about what it means to denature, to render something so
—antibacterial, antifungal. Are you now: analgesic; anti - viral?
as you slowly lower your arms, exhale / & pour your pleasure into a crystal vase 
Hold it there, applying a veil of empathic gauze over the mouth of the vessel so that your pleasure can still receive air, but not without effort.
Repeat three times:
As long as the earth continues / its stony breathing, I will breathe. 
Smother all illusions, alas
stones only breathe once a year. 
Like last night, on the riverbank, between the moss and the / baby’s-breath, where he had kissed her sticky until she cried out from / her chest 
Combat breathing names the mobilisation of the target subject’s life energies merely in order to continue to live, to breathe and to survive the exercise of state violence 
If we can inhale/exhale with perfect / regularity, 
if breath / is a leash to hold the mind 
proceed to attune to all the ways in which your body—
A body can cause almost anything / to happen. 
In the moments before sleep, close your eyes and hold your breath; repeat the words “I can’t breathe” eleven times. Think about what it means to hold.
1. Kaveh Akbar,
Calling a Wolf a Wolf
(London: Penguin Random House), 36.
2. Alexis Wright,
The Swan Book
(Artarmon: Giramondo Publishing, 2013), 99.
3. Omar Sakr,
These Wild Houses
(Carlton South: Cordite Publishing Inc., 2017), 8.
4. Kaveh Akbar, ibid, 42.
5. “Diane di Prima,” The Allen Ginsberg Project, accessed August 13, 2020,
6. Frank O’Hara, “Song (Is it dirty),” All Poetry, accessed August 18, 2020,
7.Ariana Reines, “Interview with Ariana Reines,” interview by Rebecca Tamás,
The White Review
, July, 2019, accessed August 10, 2020,
8. Charles Olsen, “Projective Verse,” Poetry Foundation, accessed August 13, 2020,
9. Ariana Reines, ibid.
10. Audre Lorde, “Afterimages,” Poetry Foundation, accessed August 8, 2020,
11. Noah Brehmer, “There is, after all, still air to breathe in hell, Part 2,”
Blind Field: A Journal of Cultural Inquiry
, accessed August 13, 2020,
12. Brandon LaBelle,
Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary
(London & Oxford: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), 7.
13. Autumn Royal,
She Woke & Rose
(Carlton South: Cordite Publishing Inc., 2016), 6.
14. Kaveh Akbar, ibid, 39.
15. Fanny Howe, “The Definitions,” Poetry Foundation, accessed August 10, 2020,
16. Tayi Tibble,
(Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2019), 35.
17. Suvendrini Perera, and Joseph Pugliese, “Introduction: Combat Breathing: State Violence & the Body in Question,”
1, no. 1 (2011): 1–14,
18. Rae Armantrout, ibid, 59.
19. Kaveh Akbar, ibid, 46.
20. Kaveh Akbar, ibid, 80.
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