Rachel Blau DuPlessis — Draft L: Scholia and Restlessness
from Chain (Summer 2002)


One has touched vers, toward what objection hardy knows,
Touched glass, meddled the poem, cracked crystal show-

shelves in the thrift stores, smashed debris again, gained in
intensity, yet blocked comment! Reined in.

Stand there, restlessness. Also femaleness, heightened by
another hot flash, time, loss, annoyance, frankly

can't sit still, flesh floods the place as loose as
sloggy water, sandy brookings where one tides a bay,

"surfant le web" or "parling anguish." Where
beach-rose berries globen orange ripe, Here,

is this Happening? alongside what text, in what cued
brain extt, or xtte? The lemma-afloat with breathing tube

wiggles through rushing fish wash, blue schools they were
running light tween, twist unseen from wavers of a placid sea,

breath deliberate in the mouth and loud, husky heaves
of own survival. El allows for depth just under the surface

between subaqueous seam and down-- "that zone"
"that parallel world we live in whenever we waken to it."

So stroke those looping, loping tunes beyond Gelassenheit.
Loft that haunting melody all sheeny bright,

and reach your fingers in between the modal pings
to play and twist those other, shadow, strings.

When you listen to the vibe of disinterested phonemes
Pheromones of phonemes, indecisive decibel, it

garners the supplement of illusion. Inclusion. Hallucination. Keys
on little pegs. All of them indifferent, all tagged with names,

chained charms and souvenirs, foreign, near, for the car,
for the ear. Where were they seen, the keys? So far.

Where heard? Per word. What instrument? Already rent.
And lock to match and sound to catch? Unknown.

Real or a dream? Hope or a shuck? Schtick or stuck?
Stumbled walker, shivering singer-where and to do what?

How to live? what's to hope? who's to say?
By the side of the road, trash cravings amid crazy ravings,

I saw a stranger at a rusted fire of cartons and cartels
a-singeing songs. "Who are you?" Now what?

It is simply-simply NO, not and never simply. For as he paces,
as he rocks, as he feeds the fire, this place, this nothing place

becomes beyond. A flesh sketch of something else.
For the return to wandering. As cure and as disease.

He told me his ears hurt, one who at the end, is X, a blank
a wanter among nomad wanderers, caught

like s.l.a.n. on the book, sine loco, anno, nomine,
holding rank ends of a split, so I said I was dizzy.

Fine. Now what? Where did I see the keys? This is loco.
From the fire's wandering chorus, "melancholy"

was the one word on the page as it sizzled, crumpt up, nought.
The burn was 15 orange, one orage, zero blue and weightless

worse--brownish silvering dense explosive points,
wind aggression roaring, tornado through the straight.

A person never knows the bravery that times
demand until they riddle how to construct the correct

"crimes." Ques: how to preserve the archives of dada
(Ans: in metal boxes buried near your hovel).

Nazis knocked but came without a shovel,
lucky for her. How to be courageous and stupid.

Who are you? What do you do it for? for natural light,
to keep these listeners awake, plus dead and time.

All local and all destroyed must speak accurately
how the man stood on the margin of edge

larbage dreams with dusk, cardbore and ash.
Why scan, capture, index, interlink this trash?

"For your good health, Barrel Picking is prohibited."
Why not leave well enough alone?

A play within the play, he hove sprechstimme
fragments in half an anguage, ghostily selected

strung together as if continuous text,
hallucination's vantage keying incantation sentinel,

with restless regard "not from a place on which to fix
but from a crossing of that place, a crossing of that crossing."

He began to experience difficulties with reality;
for him each human soul remained a human soul.

But it is hard to act without shame, though
this be always true, for who it act it in your name?

The dream of turning the key in the lock as the wind in the door
moaned and the crow flew with its yard-wide wingspan

into the pear tree finding the open place. Now what?
He asked me, Why do you do what you do?

Do you take this adult set of sores
as yours for use in the urban scavenger tradition

to enchain all it with it? to travel through the spot-deep text of song?
Je est un interstate, he said. "We Welcome Christian Tours."

There were left-handed shadows facing east
cloud cover over cloud cover, pumpkins sporting flags,

ever-whispering space when ick geschri or scry
every unspeakable untellable yod inside the bye.

This man with a small tree growing from his neck
was arrayed in imaginary memories, dot by dot,

"where the fibrous roots of every heart on earth
infixes deep its restless twists," arraigned with

weights across the border where he stood by fire,
the day dedicated to the evanescent ruffle of silence

as it teasing, tonging turns to hissy clumps, a spree
and spray of listed sound, a funny Jew d'esprit.

So sung, singing with waves the theremin, harp of the heap
sung with the hands, with the mouth, hand to mouth, a

paltry of mishegoss and dreck,
of unsatisfied satisfactions, allowering the wreck

to float out in brightness and disjuncture, all rift.
Poultry plants where bloody flesh and fast knives lift,

it's immigrunts work there why can't they just
speed Aing lish fast and wishing well like ust.

The fire got low, the voice asked, Who are you?
Stood in waves of strangeness, shaken rue,

still sigh underneath senselessness, to find
such speech songs scanned, rotated, aligned,

as addled noise to Nos, news to blues.
From search string, fuzzy and phonemic search,

from word stemming, natural language lurch
fall Drafts and fragments, Drifts and figments,

scrap paper shreds and fan-shaped books of Pantone
pigments. Asked a simple question: Why do you do

what you do? The world is all that's In Your Face.
Curious stranger still, as stranger place by place.

November 2001-January 2002
to Charles Bernstein

Notes to Draft L: Scholia and Restlessness. There was, as in "Draft 20: Incipit," another incident like the "Curious, this querying letter from a stranger": this one an e-mail by Michael Collino in mid-November 2001. Some of the questions in this poem were asked by him. "J'apporte en effet des nouvelles. Les plus surprenantes. Même cas ne se vit encore. On a touché au vers." Stéphane Mallarmé, "La Musique et les Lettres," Oeuvres complètes, 1945, 643. At Oxford/ Cambridge in 1894. "I am truly bringing news. Astonishing news. And never seen before-We have been meddling with verse." Trans. Lawrence Lipking, cited in his article "Poet-critics" in The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism, vol. 7, ed. Litz, Menand, and Rainey. But see also the translation of Rosemary Lloyd that ends: "Poetry has been under attack." Mallarmé in Prose, ed. Mary Ann Caws, 32."That parallel world we live in whenever we waken to it": Charles Bernstein, e-mail on his book With Strings (2001). Description of the strings between other strings concerns the Welsh triple harp. S.l.a.n.: without place, year, name. The archives of dada: from the life of Hannah Höch. "For your good health, Barrel Picking is prohibited" is a sign in a Maine rest stop on I 95, 2001. The citation "not from a place on which to fix/ but from a crossing of that place, a crossing of that crossing," is, slightly modified, from Michael Moon, Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Corporeality in Leaves of Grass, 109. "Where the fibrous roots/ Of every heart on earth infixes deep its restless twists" William Blake, "The Book of Thel." Reminded of the theremin in reading Andrew Joron's work "Constellations for Theremin," ABACUS #142, 15 November 2001. When I went to Georgia, someone said "poultry plants," whereupon I heard "poetry plants." List of search tactics from Brown University web site on The New Age. Donor drafts are Draft 12: Diasporas and Draft 31: Serving Writ.

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