Two Poems

Words Without Acts

Of the mind.

Of the mind’s Parliament.

Of the mind’s Parliament sans its Lords.

Of the mind’s Parliament sans its Lords in plenipotentiary session.

Of the mind’s Parliament sans its Lords in plenipotentiary session hereby

resolving.

Of the mind’s Parliament sans its Lords in plenipotentiary session hereby

resolving an act.

Of the loins.

Of the loins’ machine in residence.

Of the loins’ machine in residence above the Holy Father.

Of the loins’ machine in residence above the Holy Father in his sanctum.

Of the loins’ machine in residence above the Holy Father in his sanctum of

personal injury.

Of the loins’ machine in residence above the Holy Father in his sanctum of

personal injury distraught under a blade.

Of the loins’ machine in residence above the Holy Father in his sanctum of

personal injury distraught under a blade in prevention.

Of a chrysalis.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm before a bent dancer.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm before a bent dancer spreading her

hair.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm before a bent dancer spreading her

hair at the edge of a goblin glade.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm before a bent dancer spreading her

hair at the edge of a goblin glade lit from within.

Of a chrysalis in the crotch of a solitary elm before a bent dancer spreading her

hair at the edge of a goblin glade lit from within the fallen fiery heart.

Of the man.

Of the man dealt a hand.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth of the burn-

clad hills.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth of the burn-

clad hills beneath the roseate cervical moon.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth of the burn-

clad hills beneath the roseate cervical moon at the center of a view.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth of the burn-

clad hills beneath the roseate cervical moon at the center of a view perspectless and free.

Of the man dealt a hand in the belly of a blowing between teeth of the burn-

clad hills beneath the roseate cervical moon at the center of a view perspectless and free from the fear of a hereafter.

drift

a  ~              tethered

moored

from the world-historical

sofa

driven       Miltonic stickpin       through our life’s

crust

tip in Satan’s heart     the shaft miraging     Singapore Berlin Mombasa

and the angels on top, a

sprinkling

spiritual affect impales me     bipedal standee     throne for blood be seated

spongy mass buildup     nuts to you

lymphing Magellanic clouds

so far

so goodnight           fair lyricism

Carnival gets cancelled
and the steam builds

Pretend to it, chief sufferer. Magistrate marked by systematicity. Your specific gravity’s been squelched.

All this energy comes to rest in a body Bobby Sands hurtled back and forth between walls.

Osmosis passes through bone, bathed in the fire of labor. Blaze of bright hair round the conditions of its production. As means of subsistence for individual consumption.

What’s to eat. Part and parcel of a compleat organism. Hoist meat! As it were, made alive.

To prefer the bruised fruit. Apple of sex, not a peach.

Parting lips in a landscape. To coordinate by the kiss, all roads leading to it. Dirt dampened on its way clearly to mud.

Nothing replaces heighth of a parapeted principle. Conditions of cellular production without a view.

“Stardust.” Animal filament forms between our bodies. Perfecting the work or the life frets a string.

Gauze is a poor concealer. Spinnerets blind my eye to markets. The point is to apprehend the world: achoo! You’re under arrest.

On your toes the red-rimmed inclines toward purple. Your face masking a future, eyes fixed on the back of your favorite head. Light uninterrupted by curvature bears the apple away.

A solar principle surrounded by the night it blinds. The new twenties threaded through with colorful overproduction. Who can stop the Chinese orbiter?

Who would stop. Catch rain in a rusty oil barrel, see depreciated dollars at work. Oxidation happens.

“Crazy.” In your torn dress you follow the trail of ruby slippers. Bowery boudoir under pale glass slivers. Torn couch in the middle of the street.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. The information is arranged in blue and green plastic bins, later to be hauled away. Stockroom fucking, mean what you say.

Mean what you say, there’s enough for everyone.

Fruited skin of harvest-time wrapped in hot foil—that’s desire. Archaic agricultural methods accumulate beards of virtue. Plain as your nose.

Slender’s the least of her.

Hunger’s attractive package if your dream were mine. The best song in the world! The last of Ithaca’s only lonely, moated by what we know. A blow.

Of the calisthenic withering of fat fearful flanks.

Of the pose assumed by Hindenburg at the instance of a spark.

General Blimp.

I pursue my own interests with ruthless and calculated disregard for the interests of others.

This confession likewise.

But a contract?

Blesséd bolt. Hook and eye. The boys come to carry it, all, away.

 

THE NOVEL

No more poems, only novels. Novels are easy: you write one sentence and then a second sentence.

For example: The roadkill’s black feathers fluttered a bit in the wind. Perhaps it wasn’t dead yet.

The history of cultural overproduction is long and tangled but boils down to this: Mr. Edgar Leeming woke on the last morning of his life and got up and went out for coffee. He died later that same day.

Or: I began writing this on my birthday. I intend to stop writing it on the same day.

The girl you use for sex has a question. She holds her hand high in the air like a pale fringed flag.

If I’m a character in your novel what are the benefits? Will I be prettier, will it make you rich?

Her name’s Sera. I take a long swallow of water while thinking about the question.

Shall I say nothing, an abstraction in the path of the projector’s scintillant beam? The other persons are starting to fidget.

Just now in Chicago it’s gray, spitting a little rain. The fans in the stands sing “America the Beautiful,” “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”; it is ascending or descending, it’s a bird tangled in our Ordnung.

Everyone wanders around dazed and hopeful in the disaster’s wake. Sera paints her fingernails black while I continue to say nothing to the room at large.

You were never real, I tell them at last. I needed you to be real to complete my own disappearance.

I can tell my choice of words puzzles some. I sit down.

Later in a lawn chair on the building’s roof Sera straddles me in her bikini top. She leans down so that her hair brushes my bare chest and whispers insinuations of death.

Will be, poor Will, will be. Sweet nothing of no name.

These sentences. They wrap themselves around me like Sera, like the serpent round the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (we must always use its full name), like the endlessly ramifying syntax of Milton who made English dance in Latin drag, making him the greatest novelist.

What we want most is to be heard, I tell the schoolroom, Sera’s cardigan serious as her spectacles. We need to believe in a bottom to every well.

There’s a bustle in my hedgerow and I’m alarmed now, I’m adding. Speak for yourself says Sera, walking out of the empty room.

Sentences imply a past, even those written in present tense. A long unspooling yellow tape leads me ineluctably back to the crime scene where I play every part but the victim’s.

Prose makes it safer for words like “ineluctably.” Sera is younger, will always be younger, be young.

Pose. Mistaken for Proust who’s mistaken for Poe.

I’ve given her everything and how does she thank me? She won’t even do me the courtesy of existing; she insists on the transitive; one must love something.

It doesn’t matter how any sentence might be nude and fondled for anyone’s pleasure. Backwards from the night window overlooking the city I retreat into the hot light of a hotel room bathroom where my reflection crouches to confront me, hollow-eyed, unshaven, a foreigner with shaking hands, protected only by his willingness to provide voice-over narration dirt cheap.

In preparation for the heist the dapper leader says, Our subjective is gold, all the gold in Fort Knox. Someone raises his hand—Don’t you mean objective?—That’s what I said, objective—But you said subjective—What’s the difference?—I don’t know—Whatever you want, motherfucker, just drive—

Sera’s not the leader but the crucial missing member like Shackleton’s third man, like Harry Lime who’s dead in the first half, risen in the third quarter, dead again at the end. Being then is polar and the novel’s a doomed expedition to where the seas begin their rise.

The shortest possible novel isn’t even a sentence. Isn’t even an emotion.

Fewer words slip past a sentimental feeling. Invisible as a verb.

Character operates by indirection, as in the dictations of Henry James: “It’s a mistake not to,” claims a minimal unit of luminance. The narrator bears a third eye.

David Foster Wallace made love to Sera, then killed himself. In the interval he wrote some novels.

I prefer his essays. I’d prefer Sera to look back over her shoulder as she walks away from me, but she doesn’t.

Getting younger. That’s no way to end a novel.

There’s one way to end it. A man with two plastic bags filled with Marie Calender frozen dinners gets up and leaves this Starbucks, never to return.

Calendar pages ripping by in the black-and-white wind. Novels are adapted into films as a means of dematerializing time.

Films adapt poems as the camera lingers. But evolution has no goal.

Sera. Come back.

Prose crowds the margins. In which living has become, unthinkable.