Poems by Calvin Walds

Negative Space as the Space Around an Object

for the captives at Nauru and Guantanamo

Geographical containers of gash.
Deposit a movement in extraction in
ground. Redden loam. Circulation labor.
Open. A filing of the earth with berry
ceded by black hands from one continent
living and breathing in another.

The drifting space is liquidity.
Momentous. Algid constant froth. Depth
and vast and white wash spread in
sunlight that must have been bright.

Slicked with wounds. The bound water is
vague. Undifferentiated masses of clots
unable to be dragged with bucket or stone to slosh upon in the vulnerable space the negative space. The blue space is draining— a wallow cascade.

Water vaults above the surface only to fall again.

A catapult in pull. The body is averse to
falling over wood that splinters into water that drowns. Remember being. The beach at night.

Couldn’t see the water. Felt. Wet my feet
and legs and chest and mouth.

I felt not algae but a skeletal bone
anointing my ankle. A tibia abrades my
knee. My haunt of arrival is a backward
cortege in slow. Water frays. A negative
positive violation of electricity.



Currents each push against nullity.
Contradiction into Lacuna Island. I flew a
blue drop between aught and cipher. The
beads on my wrist. Brown and yellow. A
radiance ray.

We ran through dark water only to fall


The morning after we looked onto the
strait and questioned ourselves.




To Capture the Landscape

Flatlands of salt, dry granular soil, tightly compact. Tree, solid and fibrous. Branch, soaked with hollows. I stop barefoot I press
to imprint the crust onto my foot I ask can you take a picture – me amidst the nature
step back you snap and show it to me my face comes out blackened thick circles
of joy where my eyes should be my jaw is turned that way and smiling. I glance onto the world the clouds seem closer the sky is sky blue and I wonder why the sky would ever be any other color why not blue why not light and wind and taut and flame and smooth and I ask you to take another you do and you grimace show me this time my skin is washed out not an absence of light but a clear an after grey only my clothes are alive the brown of my pants is too bright I look away and give you back the camera maybe we should change positions
maybe it is
the angle.

I move under tree you snap and it shows me not hanging but sitting on the branch the branch is breaking from my weight fungi hollowed out the inside nothing but bark I feel for the destruction you feel we have not captured the shot one more I ask here I will lay down on the crystalline crisp you say corroded maybe you should move your shirt I do you snap we look at it together this time I am all inner body you say with out skin with out organs not legible I ask why you don’t explain will you post these for me these nature shots you answer handing me the camera ask me when did capture become fresh how can we hold two definitions that never intersect I say we exist in proximity to earth and sound wave. Circles drawn around the buckled tree roots, a tortoise ventures out into the yellow light.
Notes sate and obscure breath.
Heaving hydrated bodies.
We held for exchange. Blood circulation.
Cutting and dropping.
Meaning two parts.
Sliding in the other’s place, a shaping.


Calvin Walds is an MFA student in the Cross-Genre Writing program at University of California, San Diego. His thinking often concerns fugitive Blackness, maroonage, and the possibilities of sound.