Writing the Walls -

Felt Floor - Loretta Oleck

Back and forth, you pace upon my wool-felt face.

A loaded German luger shoved deep inside the ladder-

stitched pocket on your inside-out trousers held up

with frayed twine. Eyes roll backwards like electrical

sockets waiting to be turned on.

I am the underbelly of the floor in this wrong-way-round

house listening to the squeak of your soles when you imagine

you are in control. Listening to the swish of your pointer

stroking the luger’s trigger like a wild lover unable to remain

contained. It’s mouth opens wide as a full moon crying out

in a throaty full moan—

a hold-everything, day-of-reckoning, pace-setting, red-herring,

window-dressing kind of full moan. Put-the-phone-down,

pay-attention, take-a-breath, pull-the-trigger kind of full moan.

I’ve been walked on with scuffed heels, slopped over in mud

by biting boots. But I will tell you what lives in the negative

space, what steadies you, what holds your aching arches

to my lips—

strong steel bones hinged to stronger steel bones.

Some say it’s better to be the ceiling than the floor.

Some say it’s better to be a floor-to-ceiling window.

I say it’s better to live inside-out, far enough away

from your rants and your raves—

Plato’s-cave, learn-to-behave kinds of raves. Up-the-ante,

up-your-ass kinds of rants. Go-to-bed, close-the-door,

and the best of course, is get-the-broom and


That’s right, sweep me clean.

You don’t know that while that loaded luger bulges

with a loosened toggle lock straining to release a round,

I’ve become a ghostly sinkhole in the ground. A felt sinkhole

that will pull you further and further down.

I will swallow all the nuts and bolts, leaving you without

a leg or a floor to stand on.

Image: Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (Felt Floor), 2003

Resinated wool felt

18 units, each 3 x 54 x 18 inches

Overall 3 x 108 x 168 inches