Snail Trail Press

Jennifer Calkins [with Anne de Marcken]

Paris Durational (ex. 1)*

drilling for water               is
climate change, is
Psychotic, fecal, neural, wild
I bumped up against what I thought I was
Sweat slicked my forehead
the auto-sacrifice begins, endures the
never stops: goes on :
I could only imagine the pieces of flesh
I’d carve off to dampen the rising tide,
Thought is not something we do well the
rising emissions, the rising green
house gas  whatever would you do
for the world

Oh house in the ground forever
I’m alone on my insides
We mistook the chaotic for the thing to
watch. I died long ago But that meant
watching death, not life
time is a mode of experiencing

Life organizes itself in itself
against chaos
This means a sort of energy
a sort of community

As cell as organism as symbiont
They lit a fire but missed the body

As the forest for the trees as the cry
above as the conversation below
And so the feasting always and always
As rain as fire as flood as flesh as bark
as the edge of the wood as the arroyo
through the desert
As rubbing eyes with the edge
of charcoal

As me as reach as you


Quotes are from Bhanu Kapil, Sophocles and Anne Carson, Nan Shepard and Riel Miller


by Jennifer Calkins & Anne de Marcken

*Paris Durational is part of an ongoing project where Jennifer Calkins and Anne de Marcken engage climate change in space and on the page. The project started with Calkins’ academic legal paper “Paris When it Sizzles” published in 2018 in The Washington International Journal of Law. During a 5 hour durational performance, we engaged the text in the ways we need to address climate change. Slowing, time constrained, with sequestration and reduction. We were outside, and we had multiple stations as invitations to the audience and as sustenance for us. This is a piece developed from the text that emerged that day.

Invocation No. 2

I call on this existence, this multitude, legion, I call not on this “thing” but this “everything.” On carboniferous sequestration, the palm of my hand palmate. I call on carrach, my side of the mountain, towards two lakes, only one of which I found. I call on you dark eyed junco Junco hyemalis, who scared the shit of me out hidden from one side across the path to the other tik tik chestnut back chickadee Poecile rufescens. I think you, think you rage. I call on gemmed puffball covered in jewels Lycoperdon perlatum, A devils snuffbox, as though the dew froze from a morning. Townsend’s chipmunk, low and eyes on me, and then away. Tamias townsendii. Omnivorous, eyed. Meadow spittle bug, Philaenus spumarius, encased. Robin, Turdus migratorious, blueberry to blue berry, white ringed I.

I call on you creature, plant, fungus, protist, I call on you bacteria, archea, eukaryote, virus please lend me...what, support?... “your hands”... my kingdom for a horse?

I call you, existence, I call you biota, I call you ecosystem in the grain of soil, I call you clay and silica, I call you into this work I am constructing. I call on you for this universe this utopia.

I call on you space. Cracked concrete, rootlimbs, you craving a burger, you craving a fuck. You creature with skin and eyes, you audience. You poet or otherwise, you child and adult. Your presence is invocation.

I call on you scalpel. I call you on blood. I call on you severing and piercing. I call on you trauma. I call you mouth sewn shut, I call on you wound. The great tabby cat Felis catus the pigeon, rock dove Columba livia. Mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus you, eye. Soft. Anticipate.

I call on The thing made of muscles and spells. I call on Close is worse than anything in the world. I call on In this place technology bends the knee to luck. I call on Notions. A darkness.

The dried stream bed, nailbourne, the forest fire. The rising tide that sinks all boats, the fundamental. Clemmies and Chine. Col the utmost spot to drive you. The bed of the river, the top of the hill. I call. I silent. I hush.

*quotes from The Terror: Season 1.

Invocation NO. 3

I call white columbine, forest flower floor. Understory. Hundred- year old stumps of ancient trees. Elderly face in the notches and emerging crevices. Not the greenman but the true face of the forest, unmade, unmaking. Slow time tree time.

I call on you forest floor, lush with secondary growth, the trillium, the sword fern. I call on you canopy, withering branchins stripped and brown cedars and pines. They’re communicating with one another. I call on you drought, extreme heat, storm surge and tsunami. The methane, the carbon dioxide the smoky air of our presence. I call on you great blue heron, always. Eastern cottontails, you smell me, I know, passing in the late evening.

I call on you coyote howl coyote yip yip in the corners of the urban sprawling like a creature that is not a creature but is something entirely else. I call on I call on you 350. I call on you soil microbes. I call on you glacier. I call as I’m watching the drip drip drip and you melt into the alpine lake. I call on you. End of the world. I call on you end of biota. I call on you grief. I call on you loss, ever and always, I call on you a lifetime of grief. I call on you world that I love I call on you creature and non-creature. I call you into this room.






Jennifer Calkins is an attorney, evolutionary biologist and writer. She lives in Seattle with a variety of creatures including teenage humans. Her most recent book is Fugitive Assemblage (The 3rd Thing Press, 2020).


Anne de Marcken is a writer and interdisciplinary artist. Her credits include durational writing projects, hybrid narratives, short and feature-length films and site-specific installations. She approaches creative work as a process of critical inquiry, centering questions of impermanence, invisibility and the abject. She is author of the lyric novella The Accident: An Account (Spuyten Duyvil, 2020). Her writing has appeared in Best New American Voices, Ploughshares, Narrative, Entropy, Glimmer Train, on NPR’s Selected Shorts and elsewhere. Anne is editor and publisher of The 3rd Thing, an independent press dedicated to intersectional, interdisciplinary work.