Privilege of the Object

  1. I’m close to calling —
  2. you or quits, I dunno.
  3. Clear the air a bit.
  4. Tight red curls
  5. against the white sky.
  6. You are in Belgrade —
  7. as Filip might say
  8. in a poem — and I
  9. am in Ljubljana.
  10. Who knows — this might
  11. be close to the truth
  12. like B comes after A.
  13. Maybe we’ll love again.
  14. Here’s to dashed hopes.
  15. — — —
  16. If there is a book
  17. I’ve never opened it’s
  18. well, let’s just say
  19. it’s the one I've been
  20. looking for all my
  21. wasted life. A moon
  22. is whatever it is I think
  23. I see above these regular
  24. buildings — counting
  25. syllables like lit up
  26. windows I could drink
  27. myself drunk faster
  28. than you could untie this
  29. knot I’ve placed before you
  30. — — —
  31. letter after letter.
  32. The poets of that generation
  33. didn’t do representation
  34. or at least they tried hard
  35. not to do it, but their
  36. cuticles still ached when
  37. they got caught in the
  38. radial dial of the phone
  39. (who were they calling
  40. anyway?) “As I’ve said
  41. before,” I heard the actor
  42. say, “it’s my face and
  43. it isn’t my face. It’s
  44. my face and it isn’t
  45. — — —
  46. mine. It’s mine but
  47. it isn't my face.” All
  48. of the above. On stage
  49. a whiff of burning lights
  50. solely responsible
  51. for the expression
  52. of what you took to be
  53. tragic self-awareness
  54. an indifference so cold
  55. to the tragedy within
  56. oneself — all written
  57. as if on the face — my face.
  58. Ratty grass; the median;
  59. the slab of cement; more
  60. — — —
  61. grass: my heritage walk
  62. seagull on the golden
  63. arches; only my con-
  64. temporaries would understand
  65. how white this shirt
  66. could be or what a regional
  67. hospitality center makes
  68. of a landscape: the mess
  69. that is land as country
  70. the mass of material —
  71. production spilling
  72. over the chain link
  73. of the horizon. In this
  74. horizontal theory I
  75. — — —
  76. become part of the work
  77. force and we become We
  78. and that's (supposed to
  79. be) an improvement: I
  80. max out, you amass; we
  81. mark the time it takes
  82. to finish the job so that
  83. we might become ourselves
  84. for a progressive moment
  85. by capturing something
  86. essentially false about
  87. what might've been better
  88. but will surely get worse
  89. by candlelight, by the light
  90. — — —
  91. of the television, screen
  92. or the personal night-light
  93. for those too anxious to
  94. sleep, the halo rounding
  95. the object of our faith in
  96. possibility or consolation
  97. (canvas or cross) cut away
  98. from what we were doing in
  99. the cubicle, in the field,
  100. at the service counter, in
  101. the car or the surveillance
  102. tower — a vision of a newly
  103. refreshing drink to get
  104. through the day always
  105. — — —
  106. to that distant billboard
  107. shining out, awash with
  108. light, a rectangular frame
  109. that gives meaning:
  110. the representation is
  111. clearer than before, enhanced
  112. by the knowledge of
  113. true intention. Who needs
  114. windows? A seagull alights
  115. on golden arches. Gentleman’s
  116. club painted pink. The game
  117. is on. The moment comes
  118. when you recognize
  119. the river is falling
  120. — — —
  121. not flowing as words
  122. may have it, just as
  123. the recognition of the
  124. object in view as poem —
  125. a preconditioned response:
  126. applause from the balcony
  127. the full moon over
  128. the parking lot — you
  129. could imagine it better
  130. singularly; the painted
  131. flames on the hood
  132. of a truck — down to earth
  133. the evening star paradox —
  134. Spring Time Lane, even that
  135. — — —
  136. is a dead end: I put one
  137. foot ahead of the other,
  138. but I’m still tethered
  139. to the wage. Style gave
  140. up the ghost, making way
  141. for choice. Make waves —
  142. but be sure they don't
  143. drown you out. Easy
  144. does it. Sign here
  145. your name’s commitment
  146. to the cause of indecision
  147. a there-&-back-again question
  148. coulda been a dialectician
  149. it's just the material
  150. — — —
  151. that drives me nuts
  152. imaginary problems for
  153. imaginary solutions:
  154. I want to have all your
  155. children. I mean
  156. all of you, with all of you.
  157. Lots of children
  158. with public healthcare.
  159. Children on welfare. Little
  160. ones at the county fair.
  161. Bare assed children
  162. running around like
  163. nature, free as leaves
  164. borne on the lofty breeze:
  165. — — —
  166. Russia! why do we even
  167. speak of you. How Russian
  168. is it, then? Foul space
  169. fouled up beyond repair
  170. a swamp for souls — the more
  171. mired they are, the heartier
  172. they beat their chests.
  173. What fate less enviable
  174. than to be born w/ talent
  175. on that crushing plain.
  176. And who doesn’t know
  177. a guy who was almost
  178. killed by a mini-van?
  179. It’s time he published
  180. — — —
  181. a book about it. Making
  182. shit up as I go along —
  183. one of my few strong suits
  184. a winning hand upside-down
  185. football player on the wall
  186. of the museum; running away
  187. from the story instead of
  188. running with it sideways
  189. or like what's playing
  190. tonight? My fly is down
  191. for the count. Poetry moves
  192. predictably — easy
  193. to track, pull the trigger
  194. and watch it defamiliarize
  195. — — —
  196. the sentence speaks volumes
  197. the light changes: shades
  198. that mark the time it takes.
  199. What have I learned from you
  200. poem? I don't recall. I
  201. don't remember anything
  202. from last night. I think
  203. I was happy, though. Down
  204. to the basic unit of ex–
  205. istance: a wisp of smoke
  206. two or three wisps – what
  207. are my questions? Problem
  208. is the day’s waning before
  209. even breakfast or words
  210. — — —
  211. that don’t come together –
  212. coming together being
  213. something of a gold standard
  214. (you’d feel better if you
  215. dressed weller). Thought that
  216. it would go away that you’d
  217. go away that we'd go away
  218. together “again & again”
  219. one way to say the same thing
  220. is happening more than once.
  221. (Are we mapping or am I napping
  222. is a question with multiple
  223. addresses.) To touch every
  224. one of you codes my desire
  225. — — —
  226. to make you appreciate
  227. a desire and its apparent
  228. truth-value. Quiet evening
  229. at home: potential self-
  230. destruction. Have another.
  231. (Am I taming complexity or
  232. entering a glassy phase?)
  233. The pasta cooks in a unit
  234. of time called a cigarette
  235. but a tad overdone wouldn't
  236. you say. So? So-so. Because
  237. I say so. That’s what’s up.
  238. The tenth corporation
  239. taps out rhythm for labor.
  240. — — —
  241. You know what I’m saying:
  242. who’s with us? Everyone
  243. who’s not against us. Every
  244. one who’s not hanging
  245. from a tree. The corpses
  246. of our fathers... That's
  247. how it goes. Not how it
  248. is; or: If I had it, you know
  249. I’d give it to you. Something
  250. cold in the woods, damp
  251. clearings in darkness
  252. between the fir trees
  253. and the oaks the aesthetic
  254. doesn’t stand a chance.
  255. — — —
  256. I’ve glued this together
  257. to emphasize just how apart
  258. I am from what binds us.
  259. Sun comes in morning
  260. then clouds brought by
  261. wind we imagine. Whir
  262. of motor, sweep of rain,
  263. modern-alienation clover
  264. takes over the plowed–
  265. under earth. Sharp cut
  266. of the sign, the letter's
  267. dark stroke. Marinetti
  268. vrooms; Mayakovsky booms.
  269. George Oppen say: If you see
  270. — — —
  271. a tree, you must include it,
  272. must write “tree”. I haven't
  273. read enough Oppen. I've
  274. eaten a lot of bagels
  275. and written a lot of trees.
  276. No thank you John the book–
  277. seller, I don't want to use
  278. the anti-bacterial hand–
  279. sanitizer. I'm old fashioned –
  280. I'll just wash my hands of it.
  281. The amount of it out there
  282. bothers me but what bothers
  283. me more are arguments
  284. against the amount of it
  285. — — —
  286. and the people who make them
  287. who are all bothered by it
  288. and in the end are bores.
  289. There is a sunny side
  290. of the street, but
  291. I’m not on it. I’m
  292. on the other side of
  293. the street; I have both
  294. scarf and hat on. Some
  295. people have accomplished
  296. today the washing of their
  297. automobiles, the trimming
  298. of their nails, a good
  299. day's work. I'm speeding
  300. — — —
  301. myself up and slowing
  302. myself down a process
  303. by which I remain
  304. I remain I remain
  305. is this floor dirty? is it
  306. dirty enough to be cleaned?
  307. dirty enough to be
  308. the ground we walk on
  309. I want to get under
  310. it all – would that
  311. be lower than the grass?
  312. they promised rain –
  313. how can I get some
  314. if it doesn’t come?