The Simple Poetry of Sleep
by Nick Piombino

The simple poetry of sleep
Enclosed in the hand held absence
Of narrative time
Who would dare
To call it a mistake
If the words were not forthcoming
All the evidence of life was there anyway
Slightly askew diagrammatic evocation of a galaxy
Something felt like it wanted to come into existence
And then chose to wait and let it happen
Compelled to listen for the presence of mystery
What was satisfied caused to descend polyphonically
Abetted by the implication of vocable sound
Heard between random intervals of meaning
Voices rising in chromatic insignificant phrases
Against the lapping of specific waves
Minute portions brush granite aural forms
Density glitters between vibrant afterimages
In a world of green vegetation and brown arid hills
Very close to the sea
The obscure aberrations of flora and fauna
Astonished the oceanographers
The infinite variety of evolving forms
The immensely long natural tracks between wooded hills
The mere suggestion of lunar ridges and shadows
Added a strangely silent atmosphere to the now faded photographs
Of this non-event in space and time
Which existed only in its virtual state
These were actual pockets of reality
Embedded in a completely hypothetical situation
Of which all the emblems, significations, symbols and signs
Were utterly verbal in form
The horizon-its mask, its secret periphery
At the closest zone of its solitude
Pressing its ultimate, final realization
In a position contrary to its margin
The poem is intrinsic to the machine
The notes have a duration which corresponds
To the illuminated objects bright as they are
Over aeons become their signs
And when the distances contract at their maximum velocity
Time is almost completely under the influence
Of all those forces which are precursors to events
The oldest trees and the youngest stars
Have been talking a long time
The unwinking hills, the apostrophes of small paths
Slowly take their places on the constellations of language
The commentaries spoken in computerized tongues
The soft technology improvised within the logarithmic system
Of substitutions and exchanges
Of concepts and energy

(originally published in Poems by Nick Piombino (Sun and Moon, 1988) and republished in From The Other Side Of The Cenury: A New American Poetry 1960-1990, edited by Douglas Messerli, Sun and Moon,1994.)