Emily Toder

Movement Study

One moves from a sense of confidence

One’s footing is learned from a doing

Footing is a phrase denoting confidence

Descending stairs takes such belief

Ascent is blind and normal

Flatlands are unsafe due to the flatness of waters

Moving on earth is difficult and hazardous

Historically it is the number one cause of death

I am making a study of vehicles

and its object is to codify the distrust of the limb

and of the earth

Or of the limb alone upon the earth

One of its aims is to explore the limp exhaustion

of the limb and the dressing of its lameness in impressive,

showy spectacles, like steam

I have an agenda and it’s to show that movement

is the true and only feat of the human body

and the basis of its agency’s serious limits

which wrongly feel boundless to the elated

The elated have a ridiculous will to direct it

Agency, that is

The souls of the elated are sprightly from an inner knowing

or it could be a false peace

I have a goal to my research and it is to prove the distance

between individuals is historically bridged by the peverse

confidence of rich men

Large and fat men or pale tubular men

Often times you do not have a good mental image of the man

A man who can’t see limits to agency dishonors curiosity

I have not shown my work to my boss yet

I have an agenda and it’s to show the philanthropists

who loved people so much

paved the ways to carry them out of the virtual uselessness

of their own bodies

One’s own body is useless and fixed, even in moments of confidence

One moves from a momentary lapse in the admission

of one’s unhurried pull to the floor and one’s own muscles’

inscrutible chemical metamorphoses

One’s momentum is fed by the illusion of a live and willed mobility

One building a loft feels so great

I cannot come down from a loft ever since the wedding

My friend talked me down from it

and I came to the floor

I go to work each day conducting my study

I study how the A train’s sloth

is offensive to the lame and sore-footed

To the injured and ankle-beat laborers

And to athletes

It is a disservice to the clumsy toiling plumber

an overt affront to dancers

It’s a punch in the face to all the heartworn caretakers

And still the only way for them to get to the cared

The sloth is a large classist kick in the face

which is patently socioeconomic and not just biochemical

even though the inertia is physically unsettling in a scientific way

Socioeconomic aspects are key in this realm but it takes us

out of the essence of my study which is less social

My study tries to steer clear of the administrative and political

nuances of civil engineering within organized societies

because that’s too emotional

My study’s more into the ability of man to perceive his

innate dissatisfaction in stasis

I also plan to study the willingness of man

to attribute life and life-like properties to static beasts like coral

but also, vines

I hope one day to make this study great

If it really takes off, it could go off, into space

the main points of which fall outside

of the scope of this poem

My study begins on earth, in the hammered eyes of strangers

who move in a mysterious, momentous confidence

I can’t wrap my head around

My thesis is that momentum derives from a confidence to move

It’s hard to be animate and it takes confidence

It’s interesting to me because I’ve always moved completely without it

So at the end of the study the thesis is disproven

and the opposite thesis is put forth: movement takes nothing, actually

The reader’s confidence engorges

from the failure of the thesis to deliver

The reader takes the poet’s arm and their elbows lock

in a rich and boring triangle