The Illusion of Level*

Nick Piombino


Something precedes it
And how it breaks my heart
That what I don't have
Doesn't have me.
I'm applying for a job in eternity.
The hours are terrible but the duties are light
And only the furniture and love
Lean on your molecules.
Oh, the embitterment
Oh, the tears cried for a birthday
And the endless waiting.
But it is mostly a trick
Done to the kind of seizures
That accompany the holidays
A portrait of salamanders on wood and glass.
Forgive me, kind teacher,
For my awful Spanish
My references to globules
Both stout and slim.
You put them there anyway
Just to confuse me
(Thought's honesty so abrasive)
I ought to just leave, and I do, and I will.
Just one moment!

Finally there's someone to give to
And there's so much to give, I'm scared.
A simple decision...oh, that word!
I'm tired of it and also of the punctuation,
The pronunciation, light for light and dark for dark.
I'm exhausted, black against white, horrible screams,
White against yellow, brown against brown.
Who determines these things? Don't they listen?
A poet is a voice from the gutter,
A blubbering, terrified, lonely child.
How I gape.
How I stare and let my eyes grow large,
How impatient she is, in her crying,
How patient and
The men accuse me, whispering and laughing,
Two pants legs, what a riot.
Voices, and more voices, Stimmen und drang.
Noise isn't what's destroying those maracas.
It's sobbing.

They put me in jail and expect me to talk.
Who's kidding who?
Who is the therapist and who the artist?
This one you can never shut up
And the other won't start talking.
Dialogue is impossible, better to use
A wet nurse and a television set.

If they use the word "transference" one more time
I'm going to start screaming.

"Resistance." What a laugh.
It's like trying to make a
Non-site out of bronze.
They eat chocolates instead,
They peel them from pages of Freud
And nibble. No one even stops in the hallway.
Art walks around in here
Like a neglected "borderline."
Isn't anybody else sick of words?

Bite the hand that feeds you.

Being a Pongeian exposition of the word
for B.W. and C.H.
Narrative is one step back: I look into
a mirror and what I see is
what I intended. But beyond all this
you don't have to hang yourself to
prove that the rope is strong. Such as:
a softie cannot be a heavy. Limit a world
becomes more than one text. The before has
died they were in earnest. What does
it mean to mention an interval (squeeze
that one in "after awhile, you want to
follow it the power of a name.") Close
quotes. On separate ground. A vast
portrait of the American flag such as
"the poem" and not "the poetry= a vast
proving ground." Un etage. M returns.
An elaborate trick to hold the floor. This
time we are laughing and holding our sides.
The moon in a furor "Racing With
The Moon"= a tracing, a blank space.
Young and old, a wild spelling +
a cold. "Mean it" inhabits. The
text glows with aplomb (Valorization
Principle becomes "words make their own
things.") Everybody played a hand and
beat me so evidently this put me out of
the game different kind of Bridge, but
the game could form a
bridge to who is being addressed there
racing with the Alfred Ryder moon.


*This poem originally appeared on fait accompli. It has been reprinted with the permission of its author.


Copyright 2003 Nick Piombino