Andrew Levy




from Continuous Discontinuous - Curve 2
(Elmwood CT: Potes & Poets, 1997):

published in PDF and html versions from the Andrew Levy Author Page
Electronic Poetry Center of the Poetics Program at
The State University of New York at Buffalo




As fragment the incomplete still appears most bearable -- thus is this form of communication recommended to those still not wholly ready





Take responsibility. Don't die a child, he said.

Yes. Nothing but that story, no one else to tell it. The words everything and nothing.

An entire story about to be told. He withdraws from you. Withdraws and withdraws. Lost in an allegory of their telling, in the consciousness of their lives, as if they carry within them a psychology no author could imagine. Pen, Ink, and Paper. Authors of themselves -- to one to think about it. Their passive agressivity. Each night met and began to speak. We want to tell you many things, our absolute freedom to amble, the beauty of our story and song. Midnight oil. Who we are, where we come from the contents about which we'll protect you -- witness to our invention.




Find that balance between what lay outside and inside them. That this may happen someday. Oh, someday. Someday will never come.

The mess that has enhanced it, or crippled it. The molecular locatedness register of the DNA in one's brain. Its education to know the limits of its intelligibility -- to themselves: the plurality of its constellated personality, personism. Our pluralism gets the better of you. Can't stop to regather their tenses, their alphabetical regularity grasped early on a magnetized board with brightly colored plastic pieces. It's a toy, look at what it can do.

These are letters speaking. Lincoln logs, marbles, an aquarium. Grassy dogshit on a stick.




He was more than my editor -- everything about my life was a disorganized shamble. I think he was the author of what it was he had hoped to say. That the distance necessary to bring the composition of his life together into some semblance of order might find its embodiment in my mind -- a mind that he never knew, nor understood. Still, a mind that settled within his senses in a way that his mind could never be in me. To navigate by that rift, to circumvent those advantages in another's life fully grasped, he pushed away and prohibited the enjoyment of it between them. Today, you have come into my study to indulge in delicacies and to eat when I am not hungry -- to sustain or renew -- extended to the need for love, fully prepared to abandon what he no longer needs, though understanding that his continued existence desperately needs it, and is dependent upon it. He wants the separation between us to enter this afternoon in which he sits at my desk, and speaks to himself from my life to his.




What then lie broken in the mounds I had visited.

A question from a morning dream. Take what you want. It cannot be surveyed. Still it stands and is altered in a peripheral awareness of whom you think you might be, and the adjustments one makes to clarify that consciousness of oneself for another. That what you were thinking -- why does it take so long to state it. Pumpkin pie, coffee for breakfast. A pervasiveness that permeates distances between each word -- each phrase a juxtaposition of disparate times loss.

Drives in the countryside. What might be fruitful -- a nectarine, a peach. A metronome of water drips from the tap in the kitchen sink. A drive in the countryside. Children stepping in and out of the rain falling at one end of the block -- sky divided by sunlight and darkness.

The simplest errands filled with fun. A pen hovering over the page doubled in the writer's vision -- a field farming something both more and less than. Whatever you are looking for, what you would see. The sky and the water, the earth and its people all huddled together. Naked women at a carnival sideshow picking up oranges between their legs. Rides at an amusement park. Heads bent over desks, manuscripts and papers in special collections. Held against them, no business leads me.

The book would contain songs. A writing of listening. Dream headphones a liquid book the songs would be. The music of a book of poems.

Sublime Energy Field Arisen




"the open lesson of the lungs"

her clit I put my tongue to

my breast that fills his mouth


bird voiced flower

the blame found its mark It wants to tell

bringing must go out

its function

'that the link may be established between them'

suggestion of belief

unseizureable -- "I have no guard"




This is the path that all angels take

Its boundary this side of the page gives it its speech. It melts in his mouth, arrives in my hand. Appears in front to be remembered behind. Trees admonition, pressures mattress, forefingers placement of pen to paper. Feeds a personal life in writing in an attempt to make it be so. When he is me, and I am he. This that we are now. We've entered another party entirely.

Fishing-poles in hand, we walk along the edge of a pond to water sheltered by the shade of trees. Touching among something or someone composing himself -- that's what was meant. Bent back on the tree, the writer his body knew. Leaf and limb, teaspoon of upper lip holding his pen, walking through fields of sharp yellow grass, tasting breakfast and coffee. Sunlight of the world in a liquid heaven. Spirits flying low, coming revisions.

Turn away your thoughts, speak of his head inside them -- its alphabet its sense will survive. Cast out the work and reel in sunlight and rain. Angels spilling from their mouths a concerto, unavowable.


Its occasional light quietly tells him:

...Turn away from what is said. Speak the words shouldering your pen. Turn away your thought, seek a world inside it. Inexhaustible, all the words you will have written are there.




For the last few pages a different rhythm and speed -- the careful, sometimes eloquent shapes of the letters have begun to slacken and lean forward into a limegreen corridor of trees.

"Then came down the phonemes of the requisite" [furniture for your future], by they are not for that reason in you, just as you are not in them. Choose which are most likely to be remembered. They wanted to tell a story, and in the telling about them the story changed. Catfish and brain sandwiches, ice-cold beer, or ice tea. Onion, pickle and catsup. Greasy frenchfries, molasses baked beans with bacon. Barbecue ribs, peach cobbler. Enough to make a man or woman vomit. German potato salad, buttered corn on the cob, coleslaw. Reified okra. The heaviness of ink pressed on the skin.

His hand on your shoulder, slapping your head. Always rust like they need less.

Veins in the panelled bedroom pulsing with life. Trees walking the university lawn -- seeing oneself dead in an entire world come alive. Unable to understand human speech -- others unable to understand you. Learning a prayer in hebrew differently from the rest of the class. Admonitions have blocked your way. Turn away from where you've disappeared into. These voices are not your own, and have blinded your steps. They can't always be where you are. No conflict in your heart.




Hundreds, thousands, millions of people are within your senses and outside them.

Allegiance is too strong a word, still, the social features of one's community hastens arrivals and departures. A thinking town, a town of thought that thinks similarity and sensibility the central matter that binds it together. Actual presence means so little to it, the manipulations of intelligence that draws one to its street dominated by men and their prose of useful information.

How to return through writing.

The activities of his fellows filled him with an unbearable sadness. They said they wanted to love him, but were forever unavailable -- for so long had they been so he could no longer recall their gestures toward him, nor discern any sign of love passing between them.




"To give equally," his friend wrote, "the sureness of statement and obscurity of the matter -- in that sharpness toward the pain and the comfort." Leaving it all behind in the confluence of our thoughts. What they are made of... its curriculum loosens control over my pen, wants witnesses inside these speeches to reach him. Intelligibility. The prose behind our eyes this side of the page. The inroads. Time. The grain of the mortar between bricks -- nothing weaker.


Think of my smile on her face the middle of fall.

For me -- think of his different selves, enact them in the poem for someone to see. Engage them to those other presences, their wonderfully pained sense of clarity. This kaleidoscopic return and frugalessness.

but think of his eyes smothering the page where I alternate between his love of me and this fictional prose text. And when he demands my attention, the angel lifts his pen from paper its ink clots up with dust -- the provenance of his words rise in rebellion and interrogate someone depicting me. Or, a machine that answers as me.

Small plops of melting snow on the windowsill, creak and groan pipes in the walls. He realized we had not spoken to him in a long time. Words stuck together over rich raison-bran muffins and coffee. What a relief to be young, to feel our bodies between us, and be young.


Celan -- "Listen your way in / with your mouth."

from a dream --
Some high space called lunacy gave it speech




"You see, you don't collect poems -- they collect you. Then after they have collected you they collect themselves. There is nothing haphazard in their choice, as I found out when I brought home what I thought were companion pieces. They know and will tell you with whom they want to keep company and who is an intruder. After a while, if you really love them, you learn to respect their judgment."