If you are still alive when you read this,
close your eyes. I am
under their lids, growing black.
- Bill Knott, in Surrealist Poetry, ed. Edward B. Germain ( Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1978)
'O plunge your hands in water,
plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.
'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The dessert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.
-from 'As I walked out one evening...' , W. H. Auden
Wld it be different with a different pen? Of about to within which
what. Poppies grew out of the pile of broken-up cement. I began
again & again. These clouds are not apt to burn off. The yellow room
has a sober hue. Each sentence accounts for its place. Not this. Old
chairs in the back yard rotting from winter. Grease on the stove top
sizzled & spat. It's the same, only different. Ammonia's odour hangs in
the air. Not not this.
Analogies to quicksand. Not that either. Burglar's book. Last week I
wrote "I can barely grip this pen."White butterfly atop the gray con-
crete. Not so. Exactly. What then? What it means to "fiddle with" a
guitar. I found I'd begun. One orange, one white, two gray. This morn-
ing my lip is swollen, in pain. Nothing's discrete. I straddled an old chair
out behind the anise. A bit a part a lake. I cld have done it some other
way. Pilots & meteorologists disagree about the sky. The figure five
figures in. The way new shoots stretch out. Each finger has a seperate
function. Like choosing the form of one's execution.
-from Tjanting, by Ron Silliman.
'By degrees we beheld the infinite Abyss, fiery as the smoke of a burning city; beneath us at an immense distance was the sun, black but shining [;] round it were fiery tracks on which revolv'd vast spiders, crawling after their prey; which flew or rather swum in the infinite deep, in the most terrific shapes of annimals sprung from corruption. & the air was full of them, & seemed composed of them; these are Devils. and are called powers of the air, I now asked my companion which was my eternal lot? he said, between the black and white spiders...'
-from, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, William Blake.
Wherever in this city, screens flicker
with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,
victimized hirelings bending to the lash,
we also have to walk . . . if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseperable
from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,
and the red begonia perilously flashing
from a tenement still six stories high,
or the long legged young girls playing ball
in the junior highschool playground.
No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.
- part I, in 'Twenty-One Love Poems', Adrienne Rich