Tuesday, November 30, 2010

190. That Sound May be the Cat Wheezing or it May be a Radiator

o & . . . a dot.

O, & a loop thru a loop

@ & a plate
or the handle
of a cup and a
finger imagined
slipping through it

0 & the wide range of nothing
spread before us in the shape of possibility

the clicking of a night
through the forms of our attention:
crack of a fire in a log
tick of a clock
creak in a stepping through it
clank of a radiator

hearing suddenly the sounds
surrounding the pattern of our listening

the world suddenly upon us
as if it were real

in the shape
of the sound
of the breathing
of night
we can hear the sleeping of birds

large dry leaves
have become the bills we use
to pay our debts
and we count them carefully out
though we cannot
fold them back into our pockets

we realize only eventually
that we are no longer away
the fiction of our dreams
sufficiently real to worry us
into believing each were happening

leaves large enough
to be tobacco
but a dream that is empty of scent

arriving
at a train station
is a train
pulling the end
of a train

what goes
in order is
what comes
in the form
of forgetting

every blank space
in our lives
is a memorial
to our extravagant
forgetting

care being taken
not to remember
too much of what
has happened lest
we be forced
to relive it

a dream is
that part of a life
we lose
upon waking

that is why
it’s best not to
have a dream
of any kind

the last dream
I remember
was of a home
I didn’t own
in the process
of renovation

the night can’t
hold everything in

something
has to slip into daylight

Barely a start to it

o & . . . a dot.

Monday, November 29, 2010

189. 518 Miles

trip doesn’t have a measure
but a fall
comes of it

cold in the way of an apple
(is crisp)

too much road
to hold back the sky

from Schenectady
head first east
to Albany
ducking south
and down

word in my ear
the way along
word in my mouth
back to it

sun in my eyes
instead of vision

(“we have a visor for that”)

in my ear, words
in my mouth, words
mouthwards and
earwards and south

a drop
a swoop
a constriction
at the Tappan Zee

bridge big enough
to keep the sea from us

southward
downward
carward

wake tired to
drive tired to
arrive tired to
be tired

at least there is sunlight

eventually
the Whitestone
the Island
(the Island)

the pattern of
shadow and
light is enough

the pattern of
shadow and
light is enough
for my travels
for my day

the scent of sunlight

leaving by three
& avoiding traffic

though I am merely a small piece of traffic moving along

north and north
but west and
finally into

what darkness
lies between
the mountain and
the mountain
beside it

I am part of that darkness

shadow through lightless night

through 100 miles
and more and west
toward but never to
my birthplace beside
another ocean afar
and a far way off

the car as a weight of night

unlight in place of sunlight

such little music
that comes from
such a dark and
driving place a
car might pass
through on the
way to somewhere
beyond sleep

what is the whether like out there?

who is the wender out there?

motion
replaces
action

getting to
becomes
the final
goal to be

precious how a night
comforts with the
closeness of cold

comforth

I drive
it is a process of continuing
of continuing

at Binghamton and a right turn north

;

tree lit from its base
light into the leafless branches
the tree is flattened by light against continuous night

it is now fan coral
in a sea of night

and I am swimming home but not homeward

north
and north
again

turning west
through darker forms of night
and the road that disappears into them

my sense is that I am floating
within this sea of night
flotsam against the jet

and I might get
and I may have got
through Amber
to Auburn

so what color is the flowing hair of the evening?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

187. ing’ing

Just a slip
in the form of
a movement
unexpected
or a tiny piece
of something
moves it all
forward moves
us forward

We are thus
guided into
place to a
location that
gives us time
to pause and
think out the
scene we now
inhabit as us

A word does
it and that
is the case
with most of
it as it is
words that
come forward
as meaning
and motion

Distance
designs a way
for it to make
what it can
out of all there
is before us
and there has
been much
before us

A slip can
be forward
or in or down
or it can be a
layer of light
under a dress
or purpose
or accident

A word can be
lowered or light
or languid or
language but
sound or sign
or message or
mess or mass-
age or the age
of the masses

Plenty exists a
a size and
assignment as
what accepted
is taken what
is offered is
assumed
as surfeit
mere surface

Motion is a
theory of light
against weight
the opera of
incorporated
thought or a
thoughtless
action chemical
or meteorologic

Everything
begins from
some thing
that is small
like an irri-
tation or irri-
gation of ideas
into ends or
their endings

Friday, November 26, 2010

186. What I Remember of the Past, I Keep in an Object I Can Hold in My Hands

Thinking about what I’d say to you on this birthday,
on this day of reaching the middle of a century you might not finish,
and thinking about it even though I wouldn’t share the words with you today
but only make them for you now, put them together, give them shape,
I thought about the process of time and how a life is lived through it
against our will, how we always desire the past, either its security
or a chance to live it differently, how we always desire the future,
which we imagine into a perfection we could never live through,
perfect in its way even in those instances when we imagine the worst,
how we live uncomfortably in the present, where we inextricably exist.

I’m sitting by a fire through a night after Thanksgiving,
which was my eldest niece’s birthday, which fact reminded me that
your birthday falls often enough on that holiday, making that day for you
a day maybe forgotten, or slipped sideways for a while as people attend
to the main event, which is, after all, a celebration that hundreds
of millions celebrate all at once, and that serves as a reminder to us
that we are only, each of us, an individual, a single instance of humanity,
not enough for much attention, and maybe too little for the attention
we crave, yet there is something significant in each of us, we are
small bearers of signs and thoughts sent out into the world,
and we go forth, unbidden, to make something out of what we find.

My own journey has taken fifty and a half years so far, ignoring
the extra day for now, and I find myself thinking today of the objects
in our lives, and how they make sense of our lives, how our lives’ essences
seem to adhere to the objects we keep with us, even though that sense we have
of their significance is merely a reminder of the memories we attach
to those objects, and the importance we perceive exuding from the events
those memories are associated with, so that we find ourselves memorializing
objects as the manifestations of past events, objects that continue to live with us,
yet things are just things, when our more malleable memories and
the almost evanescent fact of the people of our lives are really all we have,
flesh and blood and thought, the flesh that holds you together, the blood
that makes you move, and the thought that gives you human form.

I write this wide river of words to you quickly, beside a fire that keeps
my feet too warm and that sends the occasional red spark
out to the far end of the red-brick hearth, and the popping of the fire
and these shooting sparks keep my mind on my letter to you, as I sit here
beside my Ekeko, the colorful little Andean god of abundance and prosperity,
something my family picked up at an Alasitas one January 24th in the ’70s,
though his knit cap is pulled down too far over his eyes, his mouth is open
in a greeting, both his arms are raised to welcome us, and he is surrounded
by the concrete plenty that he promises us, a clay house, sacks of many grains,
there must be quinoa in one of them, a plastic bag of pasta, a tiny clay cup,
an Andean panpipe, and even a llama, though the paper money seems
to have been lost over the course of these last few decades, financial wealth
remains a palpable promise from this only god who spends time in my house.

When I think of the objects in my house that mean the most to me, that
I cherish in some way, I think of this jovial Ekeko, the vestiges of another god
by the same name, a Tiahuanacan god of more seriousness than wishes
for financial security, but when I think about books, among the most precious
of my possessions, I think of one of the many strange books I own by the poet
Robert Grenier, a book called Sentences, it comes not as a codex,
but as a box, dark blue, that unfolds into something vaguely the shape of a bird
as it reveals a stack of 500 cards, eight inches wide by five inches tall,
each carrying upon its face a single small poem, sometimes extending but
the breadth of a single word, and each of them a queer little bit of wordplay,
all of them real, about a life, about experience, about memories, about
the people he lived with and the places he lived, and I read this book
at least once a year, to remind me of the effort it takes to read through
so many cards, keeping them orderly as I do, but also to live
inside this precious object of words, this carrier of coded meaning
that moves through time at the same pace and in the same way that we do,
we carriers of coded meaning and memories.

Sometime in the middle of the afternoon today, I realized that neither
of theseimportant objects in my life, neither of these objects that
somehow define me and my life, really is the most significant,
because I’d remembered my puppet, which is a longer story and one
much more deeply personal, for this puppet is something my parents
and I made, separately but also together, and the reason we made it
was because it was an assignment at my school,
the Deutsche Schule zu Porto, where the children in my class
fashioned little pink papier-mâché heads designed to resemble
our respective selves, and our parents were assigned the task of completing
the hand puppets we had made the heads for, so my father carved
wooden shoes for the puppet with holes in the heels into which a button
would fit to allow a way to sew the shoes onto the puppet, and he carved
the wooden hands of the puppet, each holding a plate so that the fingers
wouldn’t break off during use, and my mother, she sewed an elaborate
costume for this clown, a tall pointed hat in red and yellow with
a yarn tassel at the end, a tunic doubly and triply frilled
in yellow at the collar, the ends of the sleeves, and along the hem,
and the red tunic itself she decorated with additional symbols,
the sturdy brown corduroy trousers covered with geometrical designs she frilled
at the cuffs, again in yellow, and the clown’s hair peeking from
under his jaunty hat was the blond hair of my childhood, before
I turned brunet in my teens, before I turned bald in my thirties, meaning
that this hand puppet represents me, is me, carries my DNA, is something
my parents made as they had made me, something I made as well as I have also
made myself, something that recalls a period of my life when I spoke
three languages a day, English at home, Portuguese at home and school,
German only at school, and this puppet is something unique to me, something
none of my five other siblings received, something that memorializes,
in one sense, nothing more than a school assignment, but something
that gives me a sense of what I was, and who I am, and what it was
I was supposed to be even if I never had become it.

This is your birthday, of course, so I shouldn’t write so much about myself,
but I write about my own memories and the objects of my life, my childhood,
my adolescence, my adulthood, so I can elicit thoughts from you,
so that you will realize that you’ve lived a good life, and long enough
not to be able to die young, and you have your own memories,
those stories that, together, form a picture of who you are,
a small childhood in France, that school of yours associated with the college
where your parents taught French, the bald fact of your life lived
in the middle of upstate New York, in a small city surrounded
by forest and field, and that’s what I want you to think about,
that accumulation of events, that amassing of objects
that leaves you with the sharp sense of who you are.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

185. Caitlyn in Jail

I remember once there was a time
When Caitlyn was in jail,
For she had done a terrible crime
And couldn’t pay her bail.

Her crime was worse than playing games,
And worse than stealing pears.
She did her crime to find some fame
And put on fancy airs.

What she had done would scare a man
And chill him to his core.
She’d hatched a quite nefarious plan
To hurt her uncle more.

She’d framed her uncle for a push
Of his wife right off a roof,
Who fell directly on her tush
And twisted her left hoof.

A crime too heinous to imagine,
Yet Caitlyn easily hatched it.
Of evil she was a lively engine
And no-one else had matched it.

Her scheme included powerful drugs
That made her uncle puzzled,
So a shove seemed just like giving hugs
And his voice, by fear, was muzzled.

With drugs like those, it seemed to him
That everyone was Caitlyn,
So when he pushed with his stiff limb
He thought he pushed that Caitlyn.

And Caitlyn had to fall below
Because he knew her scheme
To control the way that people mow
And to make their grass seem green.

She wanted to divert the sun
And make the earth go cold.
She wanted everyone on the run
And to claim the planet’s gold.

He had to stop her evil plans
No matter what he did.
He needed to confuse her fans
And find out where they hid.

But little did he know that Caitlyn
Had plans afoot to crop
Any ideas he could take in
And any ways to stop.

Oh, Caitlyn was a canny girl,
And knew just what to do,
So even if a rock he’d hurl,
She’d quickly start to sue.

Confused and dazed by Caitlyn’s whiles,
He whiled away his days,
Attempting to construct large piles
To block her wicked ways.

But Caitlyn was a step ahead
And always had her friends,
So he could never stop her dead
Or learn to make amends.

Oh, Caitlyn tricked him right and good
And she got him arrested,
But soon she showed she was a hood,
And she herself was bested.

But people when they talk of her
They don’t think of her jailing.
They think of how she made them wonder
How she had caused such wailing.

For Caitlyn had a mind of steel
And a voice as sweet as sugar,
Her heart it learned to never feel,
And the joyous always bugged her.

So Caitlyn sits inside of jail
Where she is just as happy,
For she has the time to plot and rail
And never once felt trappy.

She sits inside that velvet prison
And plans for future times
When she might start a devilish mission
Replete with awful crimes.

(Okay, I must admit right here
That she’s a wonderful child,
But it is fun to pretend to fear
That this sweet child’s wild.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

184. This

this reminds me of an ocean
the page of the screen and its words
blank permanent continuous
that it wraps itself around

there is only one ocean on it

this reminds me of the material man
made out of matter and meaning
and making from messages the means
of his mettle and might and meant

there was a motion to his moving

this reminds me of the rhythm
extracted from the running of the day
the slip of water away or towards
the sift of wind over or through
cattle of humanity in fields of concrete

there was a hollow sound to it

this reminds me of lemons at dawn
the scent rising yellow and full
sounds of birds waking your fingers
the only leaves the feathers of birds

there was a sliver of sight in it

this reminds me of the time
clock watched into distraction
the disrepair of jeweled movements
dusty and dingy towards night

there was a sense of a tick from it

this reminds me of the serum
celluloid cinema on the television
transparency of greys to their faces
who might die if the serum’s not found
the lack of serum in the rest of life

there was an urgency to it

this reminds me of the fire in place
kept in a cupboard of bricks
a wind inflamed and fluttering
the warmth that comes but doesn’t
way to wrap the winter’s coming away

there is a yellow in it

this reminds me of the last book read
the size of letters exaggerated by time
spit and bile from ferocious life
the love he had for hate
and a slippery manner with the word

there was the taste of syntax from it

this reminds me of the requirement of caution
stopping at the red hexagon for a single breath
option to hold on as the train jolted forward
being what everyone knew you had to be

there was a blanket behind it all

this reminds me of the feet of the table
stuck to the floor and balancing a weight
operatic in their graceful simplicity
audaciously reserved and smoothly brown
four of them one for each corner

there was a balance to it

this reminds me of when we met
melted summer and songs for voices
13 preparations for the extemporaneous
dark and the stage upon which the feet
microphones on the stand and we too
voice twins against the sound of a fever
laugh of a daughter in the dark audience
shoeless for singing and shoeless for word
loss of the line for laughter of chest
audience of faces covered with ears
sound of the scent of the sweat on a neck
tremolo and tremor to temporal words
sat at a table for exchanging of voices

there was a continuity to it

Enough Words to Make the Letter (at Least for Now)

this reminds me of an ocean
not the words of this but the page
the page on the screen and
the idea that the ocean is blank
and permanent, continuous, that
it wraps itself around the earth

there is only one ocean

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

183. Poem at the Midpoint

we could
through counting
make it forward
into space
to the middle
of a motion


I. One-eyed at the point at which one eyelid is closed


She would imagine that this one eye would sit in the center of her forehead, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-encompassing, replacing all other eyes and means of perception. The eye as a door that opens and closes, one that lets light into a darkness that she couldn’t see because she stared into the middle of a light, unblinking.


II. Tousled at the point of requiring hair for any tousling

She had hair that did not contain itself in a shape resembling the effects of sculpting. Instead, the wind had wound it into knots and notes of music so that her hair accompanied or challenged the birds at their own game. Sometimes, she would find entwined within her hair little notes scribbled surreptitiously on pieces of foolscap:

Concentrate on the least piece

It matters only to the moment

What we have is what we’ve lost

Dementia: the diminution of dimensions

Order but not an order

It came to a middle, not to an end


III. Threnody at the point of discovering death

The point was simple but unavoidable. The shadow of death fell across her world, and it was a shadow cast by her sun. A shadow of her earth against her moon, which pulled her body back into motions and into place. A cool shadow that comforted her. She felt well enough to sleep, though she couldn’t quite sleep through it.



IV. Foreign at the point of perceiving it as if for the first time

If she opened her eye in the middle of her head—which was merely one of her two eyes left open with the other one closed, usually the left one open and moving at a swivel against the visions before it—she could look into a mirror and allow her eye to see her eye on her face in the mirror, or her eye in the mirror on her face, and she would not recognize it, seeing only an inkwell, which she had never seen before and, thus, could not identify.



V. Fife at the point of marching into battle

Sure, she could hear the little high-pitched tweets coming out through her nose, breath squeezed through too tight a spot and for just long enough to make a tune, but she thought nothing of it until she heard the drums and their insistent beating, the sound of her heart beating like a drum and beating out a rhythm that no-one else would hear.


VI. Six-shooter at the point of being drawn

She realized she could not draw the revolver as quickly as she could withdraw it from a holster, which she had already mistaken for a cow, but the process of drawing seemed required by the act of self-preservation imagined at the point that someone else had drawn a gun on her—on her left calf, and delicately, in a maroon red that reminded her of the dried blood beside the bullet hole.



VII. Seventh sign at the point after the sixth sign’s already been seen

Through the reading of signs was not how she had expected to be remembered, not by her skill in reading the spoors of some unseen quarry or the revelatory expressions that any face displays. If she had not completed the sixth grade, however, she would not have realized the need for the seventh. The second tally mark after the fasces of five gave it all away.


VIII. Ate out at the point of not wanting to prepare a meal

First, she didn’t understand how threes were ever square, and if she had ever owned squares she’d want for of them, which she would call squares squared. Yet each day required that she perform certain ritual actions, sometimes according to a system of numbers, so it was that she found herself trapped by the requirement of taking three meals into her body:

1. Meal in the morning: She would have had porridge but they were out of oatmeal, so she settled for an egg sunny-side-up, and she felt a shadow slide over her.

2. Meal at noon: For this meal she would have preferred a soup, but she had heard from a source that it was an evening meal and beautifully so. Instead, she had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (traditionally made with jam) on two pieces of white bread.

3. Meal in the evening: This was the only meal she had prepared herself for, deciding on lamb stew. She imagined the death of the lamb that brought such sweetness to her tongue.

The names of the meals were foreign to her, as was the process of counting, so she invented ways to pretend she knew what people called things. She found herself always in the middle of things and always inventing a way to move forward.

Monday, November 22, 2010

182. Siontopón

Siontopón from Geof Huth on Vimeo.

On 22 November 2010, Geof Huth performs, in his bedroom in Schenectady, New York, and upon his bed there, his sound poem "Siontopón," the score for which he had written that night.



phwoitn phwoitn phwoitn phwoitn
phwoitn phwoitn phwoitn phwoitn

pfffffft

b( ) b( ) b( ) b( )
b( ) b( ) b( ) b( )
prrrrrr tatata prrrrrr tatata
prrrrrr tatata prrrrrr tatata

pfffffft

hmmmbaa hmmbaiyo
hmmmbaa hmmbaiyo

hnnnn hnnnn hnnnn
w( ) w( ) w( )
hnnnn hnnnn
w( ) w( ) w( )

phkhthph phkhthph phkhthph phph
phkhthph phkhthph phkhthph ph

phkhthph phkhthph phkhthph phph
phkhthph phkhthph phkhthph ph

ungghíu ungghíu ungghíu
ungghíu gaiyuhm
ungghíu gaiyuhm
ungghíu gaiyuhm

pakalaka-túsero
pakalaka-túsero
pakalaka-túsero

u-é-u-sé-o-á
u-é-u-sé-o-á
u-é-u-sé-o-á apalá

apala-pakáselo
apala-pakáselo
apala-pakáselo

en la casa de mi madre
con la carne de mi vida
sin el sueño de su padre
por el mundo de su vida

no lo puedo
no lo puedo
no lo puedo
sin vergüenza

tiopó tiop( ) p( )
tiopó tiop( ) p( )
b( ) b( ) b( ) b( )
b( ) b( ) b( )

prrrrr thph
prrrrr thph
prrrrr thph

oketəmææ
oketəmææ
oketəmææ

oteká-taya
oteká-taya
oteká-taya
oteká-taya

tsss mmm daíyu
mmm daíyu
daíyu

seroté-kombátá-yu
seroté-kombátá-yu
seroté-kombátá-yu

élotárá
élotárá
élotárá
élotárá
élotárá
élotárá
élotárá
élotárá

tsss phttph
tsss phttph
tsss phttph

Sunday, November 21, 2010

181. Articles of Echantment

too much too unsoon it happened
and after or toward it we went
hunting for a trace

blurred like raining
through a mirror and the
steam filling the room

got a way of remembering
what used to happen
a long time from now

maybe he had said that already
or meant to repeat himself
or asked for a ride somewhere

a favorite brand of autocar
if only for the name
or possibly the hyphen

elusive sense taking the
form of vapor though it was
possible to breathe it in

though thought went through
it it
didn’t seem to have done so

if you’d proffered your palm
we might have figured out
this future before it was too late

remembering only what had
never happened thus requiring
the maintenance of archives

I’m not talking about memories
I’m not talking about words
I’m not talking about archives

seems like he is repeating
what I’m thinking of saying
just before I think it

the pleasure of process
is similar to the pleasure of
processing for pleasure

regardless of intent the words
move forward on a path
we cannot quite control or divert

do not worry about these words
they will take care of themselves
and they require no attention

you might hear a
little song in here
somewhere

every word was in perfect order
until we had been asked to attend to them
we do not know what is amiss

let the potato
chips fall in
the mayonnaise

(I think
I’ve got
that right)

left to his own devices
he would build
more of them

still there was no way
to ensure that forgetting would
overtake the worry of remembering

the largest piece
of something tiny
was all he needed

that might be
large enough to preserve
for the future

condensation
didn’t always seem to make things
smaller

this is not a joke
this is how the words surprise you
when you most expect it

Poem, So Far and Unfinished

blurred like raining
through a mirror, the
steam filling the room

got a way of remembering
what used to happen
a long time from now in the future

a favorite brand of autocar
if only for the name
or possibly the hyphen

elusive sense taking the
form of vapor though it was
possible to breathe it in

Saturday, November 20, 2010

180. Benign Being

bird as
leaf as
blowing

hand of
cup of
drinking

thought in
sight in
being

moss on
rock on
lying

the
blue
sky

the
green
earth

the
grey
forms

of
this
night

the
grey
forms

of
this
night

and the
way the
night

makes the
trees the
sinister

shapes the
trees must
be

what sleep
what dream
what rest

what run
what fall
what stand

what go
what come
what stay

what want
what need
what wish

in every
crook of
every

in every
finger of
every

in every
hand of
every

in every
arm of
yours

we lull
beside
ourselves

we leave
inside
ourselves

we live
alongside
ourselves

we love
bestride
ourselves

the ocean
of the
ocean

of the
ocean of
the ocean

the heavens
of the
heavens

of the
heavens of
the heavens

reside
inside
us

increase
beneath
us

extend
beyond
us

expand
beyond
us

Friday, November 19, 2010

179. The Way of the Walking

I am walking past the walking dead,
And they do not know what they are.

Their eyes are saucers, and the lenses
Of their glasses are the cups upon these.

The lenses of their glasses are the cups
Upon the saucers of their dark yellow eyes.

The cups upon the saucers of their eyes
Are the foggy lenses of their glasses.

And I am walking past them, these walking
Dead, and they do not know who I am.

These walking dead do not know who I am,
And they are walking with saucers for eyes.

Wide-eyed through this subterranean tunnel,
They walk holding their ears in their palms.

These dead walking past me and walking
Behind me, are holding their ears in their hands.

The ears that they have they hold in their hands
So the sound of their talking won’t hurt them.

They walk through the echoes lighting this
Tunnel, speaking small words among themselves.

They speak among, not to, themselves; they speak
Among, not with, each other along the way of the tunnel.

Along the tunnel glowing white, I am the only one
Who hears all these voices talking to no-one.

Talking to no-one, these walking dead, who
Keep their names to themselves, are walking.

They are walking, not waking, through
The sound of their voices talking in space.

Their voices are moving as their legs are
Moving, as their arms don’t swing by their sides.

Their legs are moving in steps like walking
To the sound of their voices they can’t hear.

My heart, through the sound of the echo of
Their voices, moves like the sound of thinking.

The sound of my thinking is the only sound
I hear; it is the sound of their voices walking.

Within this sheath beneath the earth, the only
Sound of me is the sound of their voices moving.

Theirs are moving voices moving with the sound
Of their legs moving them forward through voices.

Their voices are the moving of the walking dead
Walking through the sound of my thinking.

I am thinking through the sound of their voices
Which is the sound of my thinking moving past.

They are moving past me or behind me or
Coming toward me to move right past me.

They do not stop to look through their saucers
At the sound of the voice from my face.

They do not stop to open their hands to
Hear every word they are saying out loud.

The sound of their voices is the sound of their
Words moving and turning away and through.

They are turning down corridors off the run
Of this tunnel and turning away from voices.

They are walking down corridors away from
This tunnel and dropping their ears to the floor.

Their voices are silent and their ears they are
Listening as they walk from the tunnel to darkness.

I am left in the tunnel and walking with
Voices whose echoes remain in my head.

I am walking past spaces where the dead used to
Walk down the tunnel lit up with their voices.

I am walking past empty down the way
Of the dead and no-one is talking beside me.

The tunnel is long and lit up with voices
That once had once spoken beside me.

Only I have a voice, a voice only thinking,
And I hear it inside me with footsteps.

I am walking past the way that once was
The way of the walking dead walking beside me.

I am walking past silence and walking directly,
And I do not know where I might be.

Maybe I am the Walking Dead, Since I Can't Complete this Beginning

I am walking past the walking dead,
And they do not know what they are.

Their eyes are saucers, and the lenses
Of their glasses are the cups upon these.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

178. Animated by a Constant

He gets it.
He gets the way the children hear
the words through their noses.
He gets the American language like
braised beef tongue with ketchup.
He gets the need for a word to taste
better on the tongue than stuck in an ear.
He gets it that the poem is both
dissonant and congruent.
He gets in trouble with the purveyors
of filth and of decency.
He gets a bottle of tequila and
a slightly desiccated lime.
He gets it and brings it back to us.

Grey-haired, he rises, ashen because old enough to be colorless, the hidden berry of his tongue behind his lips, somewhat stooped, limping forward he puts the book down on the table, and shuffles around the podium to the other side, where he sits down, twists off a cap, takes a swig of water from his bottle, and then says he has to take a swig of water just after I have written down those words.

Cara wraps a scarf
around her head and
neck, blocking the cold
from her skin. I explain
I lived my childhood in
the tropics: Barbados,
Ghana, Somalia, even
Bolivia ,though just
below the altiplano,
at almost 10,000 feet,
so not tropical, but
near the Yungas, where
the tropics were almost
a form of servitude. I
do not know why. No,
I do not know how I
survived. The world is
always too hot for me.

A mind is porous like dreams.
The pressure of light gently
against the eyelids produces
an explosion, bits of steel
flying at him, his only chance
is to jump, to fall, to fly.

His nose sloping downward and into a soft rounded hook, head bowed just enough to see the pages, and his glasses resting on that nose allow him the words from it, which he reads out to us, they come out of his body like new-found thoughts.

They wonder why I
had moved so much,
what the reason might
be. Thoughts enter
their heads like a family
in the military. I explain
I was a child murderer.
Not, I am quick to add,
a murder of children,
but one who took up
the art of killing early
in life. They believe a
second story that my
father was a diplomat.
I am a miscast miscreant.

Appears a story of St Peter’s Bird
and the aural riches of its birdsong.
The song of birds comforts us back
into a porous sleep that we might
remember as a poem we’d imagined
we’d written, but long before we
had ever remembered writing
anything. It is possible that we were
remembering the same thing twice.

Flips through the book looking for a poem, flips past three yellow sticky notes marking possible poems to read, suggesting he knows which are the good poems, then he flips back in the other direction, retreating into the past, he doesn’t read every poem he’s written, the laws of physics would not allow it.

The auditorium is full
to capacity. I walk to
the front, close enough
to see the poets in
their own flesh, the
youthful Berrigan
(premier fils ou autre)
and the white-skinned
Ashbery, the human
reliquary of our words.

Splurge against the machine
of language by using its riches
against itself. Do not hold
inside a single word you think
you might need sometime.
Spend them all. Spend yourself
into penury so you have something
to write with. It is a singular
experience and expression
of our work.

Ann Lauterbach drops her head, closes her two eyes to concentrate, crosses her arms and legs. Joan Retallack smiles wanly looks right at Ashbery, her head straight, arms crossed under the arms of her jacket, one leg cocked, the left one stuck out and balancing gracefully on its heel, toes pointing at Ashbery.

Audience, I see you,
bored and half-asleep,
not inside the words
but with words falling
against you. Even the
sound of their hitting
you does not wake you.
Your eyes are not closed
for thinking. I think to
you, as loudly as I can,
Poetry isn’t good for you.
Never suffer through it.
A poem suffered is lost.


Then long applause.

I’m listening
to my headache,
and it is loud.
I am
listening to
my headache and it
is loud. I am listening
to my headache

and it is loud.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

177. Irrevocably Unbuttonable

To be given
on the first day of sunset
a sample of rain

is. Twice is
a long time
to be without

an. Alive in
diegesis tho only
a particle of

it. What and
that that remain
unfastenably

so. To struggle
to hold together
what can’t be shut

or. Periods of
intense sleep followed by
extremes

of. Nothing could
be changed even before it
had happened

to. Distilled to
its quintessence and
relished just

as. Any system used
to discover the limits
of whatever used to

be. Conscious but not
conscience in the sense of
paying attention to what was

in. The site of numerous
events of a clandestine and
balletic nature relying

on. To the observers
the tails of the deer were
cautionary and

if. Winds comes cold
in November and
hard through

my. A clicking of
dog’s nails across a floor
and a clock

at. Her purpose
relegated to disdain
continued to

be. Whatever it was
he thought it was
was what he could

do. The surface
of the idea of log and
the way he held the

ax. I wanted
to explain exactly how
it was that

we. Expectations
were gathered and
placed in a receptacle

by. Leafless sycamore
and an equally leafless
sky that

he. The taste of ashes
in his bowl and the
taste of what remains of

me. Bodily she
breathed beside me in
a way that told

us. All those faces
between
all those ears and looking

up. The art of words
as an action and as
a way to say

no.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

176. Opera Heart Surgery

Apparatus of body
can open right up:
the gears of bone
and spinning blood,
sinews strapped
across the motor,
and spitting blood,
and spitting blood.

Eyes as a theory
of seeing without
oneself or separate,
set on a plane tilted
to allow moisture
to drain off it and
titled to make it
known as it is.

Lassitude without
young women is a
travesty of punning,
locking every figment
into a deep lake
as security against
forming a memory of
what never happened.

Tontine is my brother’s
drum, and drumming’s
what’s keeping him
alive until someone is
the last one left and
takes a hammer to a
piggy bank to dig the
last silver quarter out.

Alphabet of escape forms
a sense of assimilation
into the whole, blood
on the doctor’s hands,
blood on his gloves,
holding a beating heart
as a butcher holds a
rabbit before the chop.

White rabbit, white gown,
white sheet on the operating
table, and the blood is
pumping onto the floor, and
the heart is well and pumping,
pumping blood right onto
the floor—so much slipping
of the surgeons into puns.

Weary for a slip on blood,
or a sipping of it, weary for
a sense of her slip and
the blood at the crotch, or
blood on my cock from
fucking through the blood,
and rising simultaneous
with the beats of the heart.

Tie the ribcage back in place
to trap the heart within
the body, tie the sternum
sawn open back together
with stiff wires, hold the body
whole and in place, and say,
“No-one was ever here, and
no-one was ever there either.”

I hear in the air the sound
of the words of the beating
heart, I hear in the air the
sound of the heart itself
beating, the heart so full of
desire, so full of desire to
squeeze the blood through
the body, thru the veins.

A song comes beating from
the chest and out through
the mouth, a song comes
beating for you, the heart
comes beating as if alive and
huge and walking the halls of
this house, and wandering
the neighborhood for blood.

Monday, November 15, 2010

175. If I Had the Time, I’d Tell You All About It

I have been reduced
to fragments and there
are 26 fragments to
make sense of
what’s left:


Aa.

Gored by an ox
but’t’s better’n bored

Or so we might
be led to believe
(and the lie in
the middle of it)

Everything begins
in the eye i’ th’middle
of it, stretching
without moving out,
without in


Bb.

If I had a baby’s body but
my fontanel filled in,
no lanugo lining my back,
not crying for a drink,
tho my head still
bald and sunny, I would
be just the man I am
making just the poems
I do, each a little
intricacy or delicacy or
subtle extricacy of
the mind,

But of the body
because of the tongue,
for the tongue guides
them if not toward
you at least outward.

Don’t (I would say to
you because it is my
duty to have some
concern for you, dear
reader) worry about
finding a way into
the poem. Just pretend
you are already inside.


Cc.

What is the unmarked
form of a letter when
the capital is identical
to the minuscule except
for size? which is little
more than a relative
guide to meaning.

How many cubic
centimeters of words
could you take in before
your head would go
all dazed and dizzy
from the drug of it?


Dd.

She wants a little real
soft thing, maybe like the edge
of a blanket running silkwise.
She wants a little sound
upon the little tip of the top
of her tongue against the
roof that holds the rain out
from her mouth. A little pop,
and almost T, along that ridge.
And she sings it out to herself:

T t t t T t t t T t t t T t t t T
T t t t T t t t T t t t T t t t T
T t t t T t t t T t t t T t t t T
T t t t T t t t T t t t T t t t T
T t t t T t t t T t t t T t t t T


Ee.

We had an ear for, we had
an earful, we had an earwig
in an ear and wiggling or
wriggling (we never knew
which), and we were wearing
bright white wigs the color
of sclera, and guns were
going off in our ears, and we
were fearful we would forget
and tearful we would remember
what it was we were hearing
it for, what it was we needed.

But we had an ear for it, so
we figured it out like a problem,
something quadratic but un-
able to swim, a kind of dance,
and four of them all around us,
trapping us in a cubic thought.
Everything was for four and
going fore and forth, but we
lived a lean unleavened life
inside a trap that was only 3D.


Ff.

Every night, his mother-nothing,
his mothering thing, his thin
other muttering one, came in to
find him under the unders of the
covers of his bed to see if he
were still awake and reading in
the wee hours of the night and
holding in the pee of himself
so that he could read the dull
black word of it into color, to read
the dull black word of it into song.

Every night, this other mothering
thing would ring her voice up to
the notch that would a tiny buzzing
send into his ear so deep he could
feel the sound of it, and she would
rasp, her ear against his nose, her
mouth against her ear, “Stop it.
Stop it right now. Stop playing with
your words. Stop playing with your
works. Stop playing with your
wurst. And try to learn something!”


Gg.

I’m a one-story may in a two-
storey g, and I got a house to
count the floors of someday when
I have the time for arithmetic.
They’ve told me I need a way
to count the steps up to the
second storey of the g so I’d be
sure to guess the reason for the
swooping at the bottom. The way
it swoops, the way it swings,
the way it stands still and slides
all around, like the world moves
around the dead center of an eye.

Gee, I love this gig of gauging
how much guff I cannot give.


Hh.

She came lithe and houynhmn-like.

Yes.

She came lithe and houynhmn-like
lately along the lake, and what she
carried was less than nothing but
more’n she’d need for thirst to slake.

Deep tubes of the H, and aching,
sturdy pylons to hold th’alphabet
in place, a space to rest the word
for now, a reason now to sleep.


Ii.

What have I did now?
What could I don’t wrong?

Where is I now been?
Where am I done gone?

Why will I be hear?
Why will I been sound?

Which of I was heard?
Which would I want done?

Who are I now flown?
Who were I drumbeat?


Jj.


Simply put, as if down, but
firmly, in the form or manner
of a decision, I can attest to
you, my hands upon my sacred
coupled selves, that this is just
a joke, a jittery test of jesting,
a gesture as if language or
languishing, the jaunt we take
when boredom runs too deep
t’allow the candle to burn out.


Kk.

Another’n and we are kaput,
maybe a head cut off to roll,
or a ball you kick down alley,
a little game of kick and run.

To boil the water in a kettle
to turn it into steam that we
might breathe right into us.


Ll.

The llama is llearning to spit into
a cup. The llama is llawning all over
the grass. The llama is llipping
like little black dogs. Don’t take
a llama for granted. She never forgets,
and she never loses her name.

If there were a twelve llamas here now,
there’d be enough for a herd or a dozen.


Mm.

She is moaning in the dark
over chocolate and Armagnac. She is measuring
for the curtains made of velvet, all in black.
She meanders through the day. She is
Wednesday when in Spain. She remembers
everything, even that
that never happened.


Nn.

More’n half way to the end, and I’ve lost my sense of count.
More’n quarter to the middle, and I mount my sturdy steed.
More’n eighth to the beginning, and I’m standing still in place.
More’n sixteenth to th’ thought of it, and I’m moving ever backwards.

Holding hemidemisemiquaver, and no-one left can hear it.


Oo.

O, write an ode to Ovid, omitting no omission.


Pp.

The want between between and the want beneath begin
leave the want betwixt belittle and the want before besiege.

The want beside bewitching and the want bestride bejeweled
abandon wants befitting bedraggled and the want beheading beauty.

There is no explosion of thought or sound or sought.


Qq.

She stood in a line
aligned with choirs
and sang a line from
a song of stars.

She sat at a foot
of a bed or a man
and she sighed in
a line like a line of a thought.


Rr.

Are you experienced enough
to understand the responsibilities
expected of you in this grave matter?

Are you an aardvark and given
to eating insects with your tongue?

Are you an ostrich or Astrid or astride
a courser galloping away?


Ss.

Doodle in a swooping
in a sweeping in a swiping
in a swatting in a
switching in a swilling in
a swearing in a sweating
in a swishing in a
swamping in a swerving
in a swinging in
a swindling in a swatting
in a swaddling in a
swarming in a swooning

in a sword
in as word
in a word

in a nod
in a not
in a notting.


Tt.

Take a tin toy from the trunk.
Take a rusty tin toy from the trundled trunk.
Take and old and rusty tin toy from the trusty trundled trunk.

And open the trunk
And open the trunk up
And open the trunk right up

Open the trusty trundled trunk up
Take the rusty tin toy out
Take the rusty tin truck out

Take out of the trusty trundled trunk
The trusty rusty tin toy truck

And play with it
Without cutting your fingers

Without cutting your fingers
Even once


Uu.

In the bowl of the one called you
or in the bowl of the eye of the one called you

What you find in the bowl of your milk-white eye
What you find in the bowl of your milk

What I find in the bowl of you
What you find in the bowl of my eye

What my eyes together see as the shape of you
What the bowl of your u’s makes out of the ones called us


Vv.

I have retried to finish the opening

I have opened the finish to retie the opening closed

I have finished retying to finish the opening

I have opened the closing to retry the tie

I have tied the opening closed to refinish the trying

I have varnished it all into place

And let it dry

Even my keys are frozen into its surface

So I cannot leave


Ww.

Wilted and wavering,
the dream of dreaming to sleep
and the dream of waking from dream
the dream of walking from wake
and the sleep of dreaming awake

Whispered and wondering,
the wind of the sound of the reed
the realm of the reason to read
the song of the summons to sing
and the slumber in it

Wintered and withering,
the dreamt of the mountain of sleep
the scent of the fountain so deep
the meant of the bounty so blunt
the crept of the country to hunt


Xx.

A trance of a cross in a chance of a day,
and insight that allows you to see outwards
through the crosshairs and to the spot
where it is marked that it is there.

What we see in a nothering night and oceans
of blackness coming at us again and again,
what would be waves and wet if they were water,
but which are cold and black the color of cold
and deep and dark and deepening into fear, and
a crack in the side of the night would only open
the night to let the night flow in, inky and pure
in its blackness, so much so that it would be
India for us, China for the French, and our skin
so black, so black, so black, like night, not human,
but all of us under and swollen with night and
so much so the color of night that we’d become
the night itself and lose ourselves past out fear,
as if we had been the point we’d been trying to
reach, trying to make, the whole time through.


Yy.

You’d’ve thought a frail thing like
her and her fingers like tiny plastic
rails on a doll house would’ve broken
at the strain of simply existing in
the strangle of life so strange and
frightening, and you’d’ve thought
a trail would lead like breadcrumbs
thinly in a wandering line would’ve
reached her by now so that he
could’ve been the one to save her by
now, so late, almost morning except
that it is morning, only dark, and
you’d’ve thought, and you’d’ve been
wrong once again, so so wrong, that
a grail would be a prize for her to
want and keep and live as if she
were in proper form and a stunning
success as the process of living,
as if she’d’ve lived her life only for
the wants and desires of others,
not for her but of her, as if she were
so frail, a wisp, and wrinkling in
the wind, that she would’ve held
onto anything, even him, even her,
even it, just to keep from falling,
but she fell, and hard, into sleep,
and swiftly, and then there was
the loud plash, less watery than
puncturing, as she landed in it.


Zz.

1. Dering whether will were
less than want or won’t or
wont to.

2. Sleep and shifting
back to movement or
moveless in time to
music that could be.

3. Some of self and spouse
and sleep and snoring
through in troughs of
blanket, sheet, and com-
forter.

4. Th and through and
stretching silent slipping
slumber’s stumble mumble
slumbled bell.

5. In fragments, lost and
grasping, and holding slippery,
loose and losing, letting weight
just let us go, waking, when and
whether, waking wonder at
the weather a dreaming’d
made of cold.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

174. Tongue in Place of Music

the click of the branch
in the sound of the noise of the voice

the tongue on the roof as it lets itself loose

the click the click the click
the crack

hear what you can in the sound of a yawn
in the sound of a mouth cranking open

hear it with tongue against t
hear it hear it

there is a heart in it and it is beating
beating forth a flowing blood

a measure in the beating
a measure in the breathing

the body is a music
body is the music of human space

voice come
if a voice come
voice come at you like a sound of singing
that is the sound of the song

voice
if a voice come at you
if at you like the sound of a laughing
that is the sound of joy

if with the sound of crying
a voice come at you
in halting speech and gasping
that is the sound of it

voice is a measure of meaning
a measure of
the man of meaning
a measure
of human feeling meant

feel in the body the timbre of the voice
feel the deep rich rouxy voice
feel then the thin reedy voice
feel the voice buzzing through the nose

nose is the noise of some saying
nose is the noise of some singing

take every piece of the sound of the voice
the sound of the larynx buzzing in place
the sound of the tongue twisting within
the sound of the lips coming together
the sound of the lungs pushing it out

a word is but the sound of air
a word is but the sound of the air as it leaves a body

a word is a burst
appears in a burst

the lips can’t keep it in
the lips can only shape it

I hear in my head the sound of my words as I speak
I hear in my head the sound of my words as I sing

I sing a song
a song I’ve sung
I sang a song
a song I’ll sing

I sing a song
with only tongue
I sing a song
to anything

I sing a song to anything
because my voice must make it so

I sing a song to sleeping you
I sing a song without a sound
I sing a song you cannot hear
I sing a song that’s never here

Saturday, November 13, 2010

173. The Journey of the Spider

silk as thread as filament as carrier of light

overhead and strung between two points

strung between some point upon the hill and some point beside the river

in the manner of a rainbow it doesn’t touch the earth at either end

face doesn’t run into it and hand cannot touch it

body does not feel tension of the thread of light against its skin

the Susquehanna runs leftward because we watch it from this bank

swift and cold and hauling its own heavy weight of light

sun is heavy on the shoulders

sun heavy on the shoulders and the river runs swift and cold below it

there are veins in my body and blood travels through them

veins in my body and these rivers of blood

suck down into our passageways a warm air the color of sunshine

think of the river color de sangre

think of the river color de sangre and everything you’ve read

you have always read in a line across the page

the tunnel bores through the mountain in the shape of a vein

in the shape of a vein the tunnel burrows under the river

wherever I am in a tunnel the shape of a vein I hold my breath when I go through

breath that goes through the tubes of my body into my lungs

I could breathe the sunlight as my warm blood flows through rivers

see the river beneath you as a highway running in one direction

headlights cut a tunnel through the night as headlights come towards us

a thread through a blouse that you do not perceive as thread

a white thread that might soak up light

we were wet with sunlight when we walked under the silken thread

light seems to sit in place but it rushes at us like running water

the white line at the edge of the road tells us where the road ends

even though the road continues to the right the white line shows us the end

does the spider float down the hill to secure its line beside the river?

eye is a line of sight

invisible in a line of sight the eye sees through the light

along the course of the wave of light your eyesight floats

a row of pairs of headlights in a row as a line of light

we see by the side of the river the shape of the river pulling sunlight

thin strand of spider’s silk had come into view only because it filled with light

light is the way to see

light is all you see

think of a spider spinning light

think of the spider as it lowers itself by its light through sunlight

what is weightless almost as if flight or in flight

a breeze following the river and filled with the warmth of sunlight is a weight

broken lines of white down the center of the highway leading north

broken lines to show the left lane from the right

we want to touch the light within the thread

it may be day or night but still we see by line of sight

every line is right and righted and moving right

every line’s a spider thread leaning at a slant

the light is moving at a slant and down into a river carrying light

light is moving leftward because we face the river from this shore

light is moving though there’s no spider that seems to’ve made this light

Friday, November 12, 2010

172. Unencumbered by Sunlight

It is not what we put
away or keep
or throw away
or file or pile. It is what
we find and how
we find it.

Take the instance
of a moment of a leg
twisting in the undisturbed sunlight
of a small incline and in a state of
complacent pleasure. And take
the instance after it, when
the leg twists a moment further and shatters,
leaving your body above it to fall
(unsupported, so down)
onto the some green earth.
Gravity
takes it all out of us.

Maybe in your absence
I should put away
what you have left out,
this widening stratum
of your officed life:
letter, report, card, note,
empty envelope torn open
for some little touch
of the sheet inside it.
We cannot find, in the piles
you have made, what we
would look through them
for, and I can’t walk right
through the office.

I’ve lost grip of this poem.
Every poem, even a letter,
is a particular event of
imagination, and I cannot
leave it without finishing it,
or I may never return.

And you should keep
for twenty years the boxes
I have put all those papers
into until you won’t
imagine even what you
might look for within them,
so that the boxes will
represent your forgotten
but palpable past, what
you cannot abandon but
what you can never recall.

Shuffle through the sheaf of them,
and you won’t discover a thing.

One day you held
an unencumbered day
on a quiet Adirondack slope
and the slightest torquing,
the weight on your leg
just perfectly off, took you
away from the simplest path
through your future, a small
path through the paper
in gentle heaps across
the floor. But everything
remained, nothing was
ever lost, and we never
tried to find anything
within it ever again.

There is a pleasure
in not finding what
we’re not looking for.
It is as if we have not
lost anything at all.

Tomorrow, it seems,
will be a day sunny
but cool. There’s beauty
in this quiet river outside
the window, and maybe
we’ll walk along it
just to see how our lives
might change from it.

We might find nothing but
the sun on the river or
a sense of something moving
more slowly than it seems.

Still,
it will be a finding.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

171. Caliber of Archival Confusion

in a slant and sloping
sunlight slips off the mountainside
copper with the effects of autumn

passing Annandale-not-on-Hudson
and John Ashbery cannot give a word
to set us down into sullen penury of mood
or the curvaceous mode of swinging
out of balance

a rock
would stop us
                       though we glide forward
                       through an overexposed landscape

no-one speaks between their metal capsules
on an incline we accelerate to take off into space
a light blue fading to haziness and we cannot
recall the exact reason for this expedition

domed roof of copper of the protruding silo
out of the feathered woods that do not speak to us

tires on the highway beat but broken out of order
the gentle sound is swishing of the air we knife through
throaty drone of the truck that wanders onto rumble strip

bare and leafless bushes in shades of nudity
remind me of bowties though there is
no reason for them too

                                  and who had taken time to tie
                                  them into those twisted shapes?

with the right crayons I could color this scene
but never draw it out
                                  it stays where it is
                                  humble in its indistinctness
                                  nothing seems much different
                                  from itself or its parts

                                  everything is somehow
                                  the color of sunlight

houses are white
with triangles atop them
and kept at a distance
so as to resemble
models of houses
or the landscape
through which toy trains
run in circles
that rarely cross
into figure-8s

below us upon a green
a flattened oval paddock
gate left open
and horseless

sweep of light of car of sound along the curve
a force pushing us to the outer rim

everything the landscape wants to save is thrown together
in a heap and flurry
                                  light upon sky upon tree upon hill
                                  upon road upon incline heading downward
                                  into recesses of shadow sliced with sunlight

at the outskirts of the beginning
of a place which has a name
but we refuse to believe it

                                       because we are at the top of a hill
                                       in a flat valley decorated
                                       with a cluster of static rollercoasters

a steeple pierces

everything in pieces          but one

we believe that context imbues otherwise random records of the earth
with meaning

even in the muddle of a thought wrote down wrong
archives are representations of actions but not truth
reflection is itself a type of perception

the windows on the car
ahead of me are flat
and perpendicular to
the roadway aligned
so that I can see straight
through them to where
I will be in a few seconds
it is as if I can see
the future through a
small cardboard tube
held tight against
my open left eye

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

170. dwithout

Ramp to ramparts to rampant
slowness, my process of decay.

The silences of speaking.

Impression of ink to a sheet,
and a blanket to keep warm.

Every fingertip covered with ink,
we mark the places we’ve been.

Accumulation is the only means
of writing, piecemeal and piecework.

Involute results from immaterial actions
of a piece of metal against a piece of paper
against the assault of words and the material
fact of all we’ve made and left behind.

The typographer’s nervousness
at the undeniability of ink.

The muscle flexes,
the ink fluxes. It is a river
that runs out of us and
and river that runs
across the page.

We are marked people, and separated
from the unmarked by our greater specificity.

The ballerina’s pirandello
at the penalty kick. Entr’acte,
and a stage gone black enough
to close onto silence.

There were eight of them, each
faster at making themselves meant
than I could be, who (word by word)
am making (word by word) these words.

Patience is required of process.

I am making this so measurably slowly
because I am making it word by word,
against the concept of sentence or
paragraph or structure of meaning.

Ink is thicker than blood.

I have a heart of birch
and the bark of birch
to cut a word into or
another word upon
the first word, or the
bark as a basket, a horn
to play, a ring, a shoe,
a knapsack made of birch
and holding together
both wind and night, both
sun and evening, both
daylight and shadow.

In the margins of the day, in the margins
of a life and waiting, and better than not,
in the margins of the page, in the gutter
of the book, in the margins where there
are no words, no webs of ink, that is where
we find the structure, the carapace, the
process that holds the word together,
that gives it weight enough to mean for us.

Page the color of pale.

Making the distinction between distinct
and having no features that distinguish
that face from any other face as a page
appearing inkless but more expressive
for the simple fact of its pure blankness.

What comes slow for us, but inexorable,
is the making, with ink and type, with
fingers and paint, within and without.

I left a leaf of paper to float to the ground.

It fell against a word
and then another
and became a word.

169. The Ringing in His Ears was Thinking

Broken bits of music through the closed window
as if the muffled sound of bells from inside a jar
the radiators click and clank into warmth

which is a relative to sound

and the room is cold

The night comes early now and the snow
comes early and wet, orange leaves covered
by a cold melting, their orange vibrant in the grey

a white that melts to orange to green

to the wet red brick leading to the house

The story concerned the creation of the past
and the protagonist’s inability to stop creating
his past in ever more detail until he finally

discovered the white bowtie he’d worn at age six

and the crooked smile he’d forgotten he’d once had

Even if you could read these words clearly
you would still believe that they meant something
still believe that they were a guide of some sort

even if only to a single person’s thoughts

even if only in the form of a letter to you

Nights have the character but not the fact of silence
they are quiet enough to allow the sound of his ears
to ring within his head and over everything

the sound of a car driving by, the sound of its return

the cat padding its way nowhere but deliberately so

Writing is a method of preservation, one way to save
the smallest thought from escaping into nothing,
its being better that a few dozen useless thoughts

fly off the page and become lodged in another’s head

than that a single compelling thought be lost

He had driven a night through the slumbering rain
the wet road reflecting the beams of his headlights
back up at him to dispel the notion of darkness

through narrow gauntlets of orange traffic cones

across the barriers of night, barriers of night and rain

Tires sing a song over the wet highway
and he would sing a song along with them
or he would if he could sing but he couldn’t

so he listened to the song of tires

which he thought was the song of whales

After a long time he discovered there are no stories
that he could not explain how he had made it
so many years to some particular location or situation

nothing ever added up to his being where he was

yet he could feel the rain and drink little bits of it

He believed there had to be a story to explain it all
but all he could recall was a large wooden box
that his father had made into a house and

a rope ladder up into a tree, and a red wagon

that he was modifying so he could fly, and he was six

But the wagon hadn’t brought him here, not even
just by rolling downhill which would have taken him
to the shore of the Atlantic Ocean grey and cold as rain

there was simply no story to move him out of that wagon

to move him out of that wagon and to the point of writing this

Monday, November 8, 2010

168. 13 Ways to Make it Unknown

The messages appeared in unexpected ways:


1.

carrot to the earhole
celery to the mouth
we could be full of
the sound of vegetables


2.

errpr


3.

error extracted
in its pure state
from the movement
of the human voice


4.

crushed & cherished


5.

she could extend herself through the conversation effortlessly


6.

eration
as his greatest
sermon


7.

at
an
in
it
is
on
or
by
or
of
it


8.

terrors
and shredded clothing
a moment before sunrise


9.

instinctually
he thought it carefully
through

her


10.

bellicose
did not mean
his jelly wiggled
when he laughed


11.

what they had forgotten
was what he was writing


12.

the tenderness
that caused him
to cause such cruelty


13.

in love with the moment before it ended

in a sense, an always

Sunday, November 7, 2010

167. stitching+writing

I am trying to follow
the thread of your words
and there is a thread
to the pictures you make

A stitched word holds
something in place
(it may be a thought)
allowing for sight

Leave a word stitched
in the face of a postcard
and I might see the
topography of its meaning

Rising up out of a white
field is the simple shape
of a thought and it may
be a delicate light blue

Maybe your message to me
is my message returned
in the form of stitching
ink transformed into thread

Your message is a picture
just as this message of mine
to you is nothing but a set
of pictures of words

You hear in your eye
the taste of a word so
you make me smell it
by touching its surface

A word is a thing of
the body and the body
makes sense of the
word with all its senses

I receive in the mail a card
that is not inscribed that
is not imprinted that is
stitched and stamped

You send me a card in
stitches nine times told
and held in the hand to
save me time and effort

You send me the water
of words as images of
words as words of images
to slake the thirst of eyes

If I had thirty eyes I could not
drink every word off this small
fabric-covered card with a
date stitched carefully into it

If I had thirty eyes and no
desire for water I could not
find a way to make the words
of these cards into words of ink

I feel with my fingertips the
shape of these words with
my eyes closed and my fingers
over them like a blind man reading

Every card is a rectangle
yet the words might have lines
of curves or straight and rigid
words in the sense of living

I want to take a needle through
the thick root of my thumb to
sew a letter back to you I want
to draw a red or blue thread through

I want to hold the welted
raised and topographic word
in my hand as my hand as
a word of the body held upon it

I want to stitch together
the wounds of this body
to make the words this
body can hold together

All words are typographic
their environment is the page
all words are topographic
their home is the limit of ours

Saturday, November 6, 2010

166. The Word “Autumn”

37 around the bend
and the word “autumn” all around

seems there is all about it
something to think about

wet branches as a memory
of what you saw as rain

driving among the signs of falling
weather and how it continues among us

a cloud above bluesky’d mountain
and what you see above beside or besides it

your own requirement to look at
whatever she had looked at before you

in front of you the presence and
the quality of light resembling “and”

these are the falls you remember
of water of leaves of light are each one

an appearance of water falling white
through an assumption of darkening night

taking a drink of water
from a cold wet hand of yours

as are you so am I in autumn
as I am in the sense of falling

ah the earth it wants you
to remember to say “ah”

hills turn to amber without
even the glow of amber sunlight

even death resembles an aye
aye the simple state of death

almost purple toward evening
in a world almost leafless

after the coupling of summer
the uncoupling of fall comes after

all shoes shuffle through these leaves
that is all the noise we want of fall

the word “autumn” arrives
at the start of autumn

the slate water alters the color
of the sky that alters the color of day

lay a white cheek against the stone
feel the cold against that pale skin

the soft blue sky again
her soft blue eyes again

you see there is no art in it
you say, “The sea art not like this”

ask for plenty in a time of want
and there will be nothing to ask for

aching for the colors of fall
for the empty aching crotch of the maple

every season is a vague acquaintance
an acquaintance we must learn the name of again

you could add to the world’s words
a word for autumn to add to yourself

she has such anxious eyes
that you are anxious to know her

nothing affects the shape of fall more
than whatever affects the way you see it

even empty fall is ample enough
to fill you with the ample delights of living

there is you are sure an acrid scent
to the leaves rotting acrid beneath your feet

some words are empty and alone
invisible to us whether in sentences or alone

an array of leaves
an array of light

arrow to the heart in the color of autumn
if there has to be a target there must be an arrow

moving athwart Under Mountain Road and over
thus moving athwart the weight of autumn

when a season is an act of life
you must act as if trained for it

is there anything you can see
when anything is always before you?

you have no answer for autumn
every answer was used up for spring

Friday, November 5, 2010

165. Questions Preceding or Succeeding Actions

Have you, in this cul-de-sac of abnegation, this purified realm drained of want because it’s filled with desire, have you found that locket stuffed with her lock of hair?

Could you, in the sense of losing, find a key to the life of living a life to the extent that you could remove the penumbra of self to reveal the self itself?

Have you, considering the restrictions required by the rules of imagination, infinitely detailed the limits of your ability to imagine what could not be before you right now without opening your eyes to reveal the fact of these presences?

Will you ever, in the theatre of life as it is actually but imperfectly lived, find yourself, as if you had been lost, in a, but not the, perfected state that allows you to realize but not to remember if you had?

Can you, if in taking the smallest bit of it away from the rest of it, discover that what was lost had led to a process of recognition that allowed you to see what you had seen so many times before but imperfectly so?

When you step, with the delicacy of a cat but through a storm of wind, do you imagine the thunder of your foot on the ground to those tiny denizens of the grass and mud or do you imagine your imprint and consider how long it will continue?

Would you, if allowed the opportunity to consider it and put it into action, be inclined to? or would you install a mediating system of diversions to keep your mind occupied like a rail station when people are moving furiously home?

Were you ever thought to be the one who had put that sequences of unexpected events into action, in the hope that only the process of attempting something, however outrageous, no matter how unlikely to succeed, could cause the changes you needed to see?

Had you the smallest piece of yarn in your pocket, say a thumbnail’s breadth in length and of a color so faint that all you could tell was that it was not white, and kept there only to remind you of the concept of sweater when the days turned cold?

Are you now imagining what the answer might be to this question even before you have heard it, because you are now filled with the anticipation of answer, as if it were a form of light that carried with it the warmth of what used to be summer?

Could you decide, even without provocation, to complete that project, what you think of as the project of your life, even if it seems now to be incomplete and potentially mawkish in its possible results, because it is what you want to do?

Were you surprised by the discovery that there was always something else under whatever you had pulled up to find what was under it, so much so that you realized the answer to every question was merely the beginning of the next question?

Have you found the time to extract from the various instances of your life the essential events of it, not the major events that seem meaningful but the tiniest ones that somehow had set the course and meaning of your life?

Do you see the broad expanses of this house, doorknob to ceiling, basement to lightswitch, and the way that it doesn’t so much hold you in as allow you to move about the world freely and unworried, and the way its windows open everything up to you?

Can you extract from a simple run of words the design of human consciousness and the barest outlines of what human thinking could consist of if allowed to move in the direction of the mind as the manifestation of the body?

Will you remember what you have willed yourself to forget at that point where forgetting becomes nothing more to you than the burden of the accumulated actions and events of your life imagined as a single weight?

Have you listened to the breath of a wren, not when surrounded by your restricting hand, but when it is within a bush and resting and it takes the greatest portion of your concentration to hear its small feathery chest breathe its limited breath in and back out into the air?

Did you ever consider that the sky is just the air, is just the collected respiration, in syncopated unison, of every plant and animal on the planet letting slip from lungs and through the stomata or epidermal cells of plants everything required to make the sky seem a tent of blue that blocks nothing but the darkness of space and that only during daylight?

Do you realize that our breathing consists of two parts, the inspiration and expiration of air, so that we could be conceived of as beasts in constant fluctuating states of being surprised by our sudden brilliant ideas and of being dead?

Where you are could be what you want?

How you might wish to imagine it?

Who you must always be?

Why you?

Just the Start

Have you, in this cul-de-sac of abnegation, this purified realm drained of want because it's filled with desire, have you found that locket stuffed with her lock of hair?

Could you, in the sense of losing, find a key to the life of living a life to the extent that you could remove the penumbra of self to reveal the self itself?

Have you, considering the restrictions required by the rules of imagination, infinitely detailed the limits of your ability to imagine what could not be before you right now without opening your eyes to reveal the fact of these presences?

Will you ever, in the theatre of life as it is actually but imperfectly lived, find yourself, as if you had been lost, in a, but not the, perfected state that allows you to realize but not to remember if you had?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

164. Once Violet Once

a
pair

a
trip
let

a
let
ter

geese in single file
against a grey of diluted violet
and separated in sets

cars in single file and moving
through forest of trees as skeletons
in grey-violet early-morning haze

sleeping and driving thru violet-grey nearlight
as a dot in a sequence of dots in a line
the movement of enclosed spaces as a pattern

a pattern of music of the sound of driving in a line
a line of music as the sound of tires of a car
a tire of music in water over grey

a grey
“there is”
in it

grey bones of grey trees overhead
into that grey suffusion of violet
whimper of violet in smudgy sunrise

eye the first camera
of the morning in light
seeing what might be there

automobile as human sight
as sight of headlight
in pairs of seeing

le Paris de voici
et les voix des yeux
mieux comme ci

la langue
comme l’oeil
comme le ciel

et le vicomte
de la voix de
l’éminence

interruption of seeing
by the saying of it
out or in to ears

the sound of the ears
moving around the sound
of the voice of seeing

whisper of tires
under the slipping
tired toward sleeping

wipers
washing
windshield

thru the grey
thru the grey
thru the grey

morning glowing
into place
and slipping

sideways out of view
behind a round hill itself
behind a rounded hill

leafing thru
leafless space
and leaving

the motion of moving
the driven and driving
the notice of moving

& moving under
the memory of
moving under

a
ter
cet

a
trip
let

of
geese
and

a
pair

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

163. Existence 2.0

............for life is interactive........................stretching forward
........................as if to touch............but reaching ultimately through
............and through............the blade is propeller and propelled

on certain nights we find ourselves within but not upon............
............when darkness takes on the temperature of its shape
........................our bodies shrink dry and scaly clinging to bone

............desperate can be the actions............towards necessary water
thirst comes first of the needs........................exceeding desire............
........................shadows of the trees extend into the universal shadow

........................elongated............Giacometti & Goya............the Gs that
extend the idea of form ideal human............rubber shadow............
safe from rain........................electrical storm or shock........................

moderate........................and moderated............over the shoulder or
eye to eye............the hand clasps air or shoulder............and it all seems
............perfectly prepared and preserved............the bug-in-amber of life

............treatise as a treat............to understand the general shapes of
every monster slinking and lurking in a dream............the lurch to awake
........................bringing back to th’interactive world............swirled

Prospero............but not us............our strength most faint............
............this bare island of us left in thinking or behind........................
we make our arts only to enchanted............and enchanted be

....................................a screen........................to shade us from view
though now mirror............here we see ourselves............wherever we look
........................eyes interacting with I’s is what we be....................................

version of you in the reflection of the screen of your eye upon the screen of you
............extension of a thought through............and through the thought............
th’intention (intension) of a being............in the form of a being of thought

............yet every being having been............is a being of body and bone
........................taken as a being of fact and form............and taking from each
that reason of thinking....................................as the primary face of them

............turned word against the other........................not in combat
but in figured thought............as in a particular number of words
........................or lines of a particular number............and seeing it

giving up to another person the rote of that person for an idea
............what would increase........................in exposure to a sense
of tide against the wall............which is another kind of screen

............we project into space but onto object........................
............until we take up every surface............with ourselves
.......................until everything has become us........................

because we are involved with everything............because everything
............is a part of us............because we are a part of everything
....................................because there is no difference............

............we are not confined............by the sequence of screens
........................window curtain wall............computer as beacon
they do not hold us back............but allow us to move as if

we are not in one place or of............temperate as air............
............but various and varying............in our uniform forms
variegated............could even take the shape of demons............

............were we allowed the luxury of make believe............
........................rough-eyed fact of the limited world of the screen
which seems to expand effortlessly............as if encompassing all

............likewise in the simple texture of fact............viburnum
euonymous arborvitae............these false relics of another word............
........................intruders into the dust beyond the screens............

but which the screens open up into........................our silence
........................at the sight of what we will speak much of in a moment
............our outrage of that that moves most into us............

........................existing now............in a second state............after
the enjoyment of the first state............its innocence............now with
............every correction made............so small we cannot see them

yet................................................some can feel....................................
........................some can feel them........................without identifying
............any........................some can feel the changes within............

....................................so........................they stretch forward............
........................not to touch............only to leave a sign............
............a message that they were there............and needed something