< lake project>

sound by Robert Holliday // poetry by Ariel Fintushel

Thank you for visiting the lake today. Please listen to the sounds of the lake and hear the submerged language, and/or read along with the text and images we pulled up from Castaic Lake, Echo Park Lake, Lake Lansing, and the mythical lake of Avalon where the Lady of the Lake guards her sword in a subaquatic castle.

how do you explore the lake?

dusty green hiking boots 

the lake’s name comes from the Spanish word for eye

what do you eat at the lake?

raspberries, irish green olives, solar iced tea from calendula, honey dew melon, hard salami 

what do you fear as you step into the lake?

a giant sunken skull covered with soft, blue-green algae

what kind of lake do you prefer, cool & clear or warmer, murkier?

mild transparency, layers of seaweed, small biota floating by in intermixing strata

how deep would you like to go?

I don’t like to fully submerge, I go in to just under my navel, but sometimes I’m

overcome, ducking under the green slip.


lake castaic // dry hills ring a bluegreen lake reflecting green bushes as emerald triangles

birds cluck, crow, growl, bark

eucalyptus and dry wood chips // distant bells chime // a bird that sounds like chiming bells

hills dry as sand dunes // sun on my calves through black leggings


persistence in not disappearing, I mean, do the eucalyptus know their own scent

when all that rushes back elicits a worthwhile vision

and formerly held branches open in leafy curtains on the stage of castaic lake

geese work language through their long necks 

to say things no one listens to otherwise

at peace most of the time, the lake ripples when it isn’t 


now is the time to make up for everything lost  // visitors move along on the lake’s blue screen

black bugs shimmer through wood chips burrowing and climbing up green foliage

i sit at a tree’s base by a dried orange peel as a duck looks around for a path

a black bird flutters down from the tree onto the lawn, and a man with a red lunch box

heads down the hill as though he’ll keep walking until he enters the lake, to eat from his red lunch box underwater surrounded by sunken skulls


don’t i, don’t i, don’t i too know the pain and tremors of a once abandoned love // to have and 

see it gone is a lonely matter but peaches are my favorite fruit // i like the outlines of fluffy trees 

ants crawl on my knees and every leaf is a horcrux // birds make indents on the lake // my hand’s shadow on the page has a rainbow cutting through // i am one tenth the size of the mountain // geese go by one by one, silent tankers // this is california weather

< envision a sword > 

orange blossoms on the green hedge of the wire cage a red brick house rises over

when I got to the point where my actions                were not just

                                 I could not feel even though I wanted to 

turtles crawling on aquatic plants,     

   a woman canoeing to Avalon //

I was so worried that people would hear me

talking behind the scenes

Demoiselle du Lac, Dama del Lago,             Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

Am I unacceptable? It seems to me that I           deserve a book, though perhaps 

not the sun itself

It bothers me a lot, as some people think, but what can I confidently offer? 

I immediately lose sight of 

 shiny palms in the water,

< envision a sword >

turtles swim in green reflections of palm trees             toward the bullet of the sun

every time the word grief becomes unique,                     a sword swimming in the lake–

I do not know when and how to serve it //     Am I the type to accept a decision?

white flowers line the peninsula 

       with broken fingers // 

white feather, lonesome // hunting for bugs in the grass, simply put,

what am I waiting for? I sat confused,   

wondering if this was true or if

I was ever going to leave to finish the day //

white flowers on bushes

lining the peninsula >

< envision a sword >

being forecast down low, white jasmine between waxy green leaves,

toucan shaped buds      with twists of red, attenuated to 

a pattern of spaces

I am looking for a topic

looking into someone’s eyes

but there are fears I don’t see, like seeing the sun and blindly seeing

    my own eyes–   I want to see,

am I allowed? I was so scared that people behind the stage would hear

It seemed to me that it was real to me, not just

a date

piecing the scene together through liquid stone 

dragon boats drum by 

roots clench and absorb 

                     in unlit zones as  

 a bridge connecting past to future 

studies contours, icon blooms, lotuses’

yellow pollen centers

< envision a sword >

turtles crawl on aquatic plants, sun shines       on their hard shells // circles of water

open and close under their feet reflecting               light

Even though the water around me was green 

          and weak, it was harder to build my 

        relationship than I thought

A fishing pole dips in 

       less than one millionth

        My biggest concern is that I am a dedicated and satisfying

[insert noun]

Our bodies are divided into

different parts of the brain that pass through         mountains and lakes.

        I see

politics reflected in the lake, green goose scat

I put on my swimsuit 

< envision a sword >

black duck with a white beak on teal water, each dragon boat 

leads with a drum

I watch turtles climb 


if my role-selves learn 

 to swim, there is no love and 

no doubt

I am lonely because 

            I love them

a bird with a long white neck 

flies over the Lady of the Lake

The year I was born, her broken fingers are reattached 

I have a photo of her 

in a sunbeam, the sunbeam

striking through her like 

a sword made from the swan’s


but I know the waters of the lake 

will swallow me up 

before I am judged to be anything other than what I am, nasturtiums growing on the bush over
the camouflage tarp by the lily pads studying to become

free in the lake someday

I miss the lake // je vois la beauté dans le casse

I fall in love with myself by the water // but being alone is an expensive conversation

Ju suis d’accord avec // buzz. distant scraping.

the feeling of distance and expanse // but duty without love is empty

my cells mix with yours through water // all is connected by moisture

Je suis d’accord avec // gray Cadillac collecting dust

how quiet it was // les roses rouges de la maison abandonnée

is every action compensation ? // where am I now ?

a smashed lemon showing its pale yellow pulp // the body shows it 

I see the beauty of the breakage // everything distilled in watery pockets

birds mimicking sirens // ballistic vectors // to get out of a tragic situation

to make anything known to anyone // tell someone // the colored lemon shows light yellow meat