Electronic Edition 1.0 copyright 1995 by Ron Silliman

Ron Silliman


for Kit Robinson

This is a test.

The hammer of birds (rabbits) secure in the deficit garden, fog along the coast.

Water hammer, rock board -- recurrence as key in phlegmatic analysis (fellaheen hurdling custard pie into the face of Bette Midler).

Friends are perpetually "going to get it together," jobwise: the coast is altered one quarter inch.

Just like that.

The window conceived as a form of torture, through which a century is expressed (blue hands, the chartreuse of a tennis ball): dobermans of delight crowd the sun.

Met against metaphor (I want white rooms): the cast is clear.

Up against the woolite, desire for narrative condemns millions -- French bread hard as a rock.

Nouns aver facts (pinched nerve at base of neck): a terrycloth sweatband is an insufficient monument (dress for excess), specific as the smell of chalk.

Words row.

The sun, backlighting your blouse, reveals all, newlyweds at a Grateful Dead concert, birthmark of the surgeon general.

Birthright of way: foghorns and a rooster counterpoint hazy morning.

The outer wall of the prison is yellow, the inner one green (old paperback bought at a garage sale).

Verb is the eye of the sentence (world stylized for efficiency's sake): dogs bark.

Dog barks -- there is another way to compute the tides.

Eminent ptomaine.

Poets propose sky, only to fall back on cannibalism (downhill on a skateboard).

Crudley mechanical, an adjective grinds meaning from a noun forming the perfect countenance of Elvis on black velvet.

My pockets are a jungle.

High heels grind pavement into paste (memory of color scheme popular in past war) -- the construction is not parallel (taster's choice), pruned tree's new sprouts.

My hand on your thigh in a dream (not expected): if critics had ethics...a suburb without sidewalks.

Flat country with clear conscience.

Vajra banking: the nosebleed is slight but lasts for days (lesbianism seen as a preference for clarity).

A plainness so extreme it makes her striking -- pain articulates the spine.

That's poet talk, the door ajar (donation requested).

Going back, crossing out articles (baker's ponytail kept under hat), gradually features widen into flaws, humor mistaken for humor, the mouse beneath the counter, color postcard of the airport, parchmint chicken.

Pulling staples from a pizza, untitled, I rise from the water of the bubble bath: duotone landscape.

A fat lawyer with a hippie wife (an architect).

The next step is not automatic, drawn curtain: sun's glare reflected renders window opaque.

A swamp (the MLA) is reputed to have devoured the children -- line break in the trail of crumbs.

Old men walking small dogs (I crouch against a wall to write), the sun in no hurry, jazz penis, the smell of hot pretzels from the far end of the bar -- windows of the burnt-out apartment boarded up.

Lipstick stain on wax paper cup (double canzone), tugboat in harbor honks, uh huh, long wasp neck tattooed as if an earring (slender is the nut) -- the letters are buglike.

Ceramic teapot imitates cabbage.

New work.

Poetry's not the boiler room of history (in the forest trees unfold), but the discrepancy in scale (nuclear explosion on the cover of Mushroom Cookbook) calls dawn itself to attention (this switch for fog).

"Stanza strophe, stanza strophe," taunts the young girl at her still younger brother, a cocker spaniel.

Space farts.

Morning is toxic (sun shines in green sky), red bandana round blonde hair, veins bursting in the eye.

The shape of the day a figure eight, smell of mustard (how those light stockings tint the leg): it's a wrap.

Ears as hooks for glasses (57 words for deduction): roto- reader spins on gerund.

Stop continental drift.

Generic dawn (chromatic rooster) yawns over eastern hills, wreath of flowers atop the hearse, thumbnail longer than the rest.

Here and now.

Here and now.

Here and now.

Ning mind.

A man in a blue bathrobe walks to the corner store (a model of physics, a church) -- gestures are quotable (he's wearing thongs)...

Aka zoris, the mark of: piglike snoot on small white dog (flesh-coloured hearing-aid), TL, kitchen full of poets.

Take a number, your description is coming.

And with the blade of his pen carved his initials, LZ, into the forehead of the critic.

True shed.

Red brick hospital run by nuns (bowling alley vacant, for lease), ethnographic study of go-carts.

People's heads turn to watch a funeral procession.

Birds march up the slope of the hill, pecking at the cut grass (one's relation to an audience is historical): the wind sends dead leaves skittering (rhymes with punt).

Standing around in the air of an old fart, apricots fading (politics), into changing a lightbulb in the ceiling of a dark room (weather) -- balance insinuates order (our books will not be read).

On the hottest day of the year, this small, aged woman is wearing a raincoat (the young man wears a Walkman in a holster).

The shadow of a butterfly.

The park breaks up the sky (a small triangle of cloth covering the nipple of each breast), sun blanched thought.

Busdriver's keychain dangles from his belt (form as a ridged cut seeks to fit), neo-Victorian (from the mind of Minolta).

Ancient, her dog Sadie falls over each time it attempts to scratch (a series of small thuds in the kitchen).

Terms of enjambment.

The fog returns: cop with a toupee appears strangely vulnerable (we wait for the light to change).

Does the work present its sense of space (more art history than art): under the pile of elm leaves (there are no elm leaves) he found his voice.

The sun in a stark sky (red loop, gold loop), shelf life of a mind (this morning my lip is blistered), shining beetle-god scans her universe.

Lap is shown not to exist...the blinds are drawn is drawn.

Biography of the senses drying on the blotter.

Sleep's burden is dawn's laboring list (angle of pen to page)...job limits personality, vanpool of synapse, styrofoam cup.

A week's growth, the beard seemed tentative, a hint of itself.

Chicken Dachau, Eggs McMassacre, a beautiful woman hauling bags of laundry home in the fog (associations witness structure), smell of rain in pit of summer...letting your hair dry on the busride into work.

Aging, faces cave in (super slomo), necks swell, then sag -- skull emerges through field of hair.

On the bus, children like to sit apart from their parents, feigning independence.

Fog devoured the hill.

All bleeds toward the gutter only.

Plastic sequence of holes and bumps at rear of one-size- fits-all baseball cap (rubber finger, "we're number one").

Her breasts formed a narrative.

Rounded -- rounded first and held up as the cutoff man took the throw from left field.

High heels on a hardwood floor (as they come closer, I realize those two teenagers are signing)...parked motorcycles clutter sidewalk.

Elements are gathered (punctuation forms a low wall) -- trying to decide before my name is called whether to answer "present" or "here."

Crows cluster in the park at dawn.

Predicated on no more than their clothes, their hairstyles, the expressions on their faces, I give each boarding bus passenger a narrative all their own (this one lets his hand rest knowingly against that woman's ass ).

Four-color butterfly.

She's braless beneath her Garfield "I hate Mondays" muscle shirt.

Clothes tattered, the nomadic homeless mentally ill begin to show up in the malls (seniors in wheelchairs in a paratransit minivan).

The cyst as big as her nose (the new plastic supermarket shopping bags harder to stand upright on the sidewalk while waiting for the bus) -- this is understood as persona.

Each small city has its band of nostalgic dadaists (just waiting for a show of postcard art)...after 4 years the campus leaves you stranded, philosophy listed under Home Ec.

Barefoot on her toes across the kitchen floor.

Bright sun in the long shadows of early morning (I wear dark glasses to shield my eyes from the wind): light is something to read by, a wheelbarrow red without reason.

Proceeding from market study to ground lease, a career move (single again and turning 30).

The discourse of Marxism obscures the state's monopolization of capital within the form of the state (them): the discourse of individual liberty and democratic choice obscures capital's ability to predetermine desire through mass market technology (us) -- socialism (economic democracy) nowhere exists.

Green glass shards in the gutter, ground halfway into sand (an airplane glistens reflecting the light of the sun, causing one to see it far out over the bay).

Antinuclear themes in Latino graffiti...cherrybomb in a mailbox.

Construction workers in the financial district huddle together for lunch, whistling at women in pantsuits to express fear at the larger tribe.

This causes people to identify with capital as if it were in their interest.

Cartoon advertising painted on the windows of the mattress warehouse ("when do you find the time to write?").

Men touching their girlfriends in public to display power...they go to a reading and sit separately (once on a nude beach I watched a woman fondle her lover's balls -- every man within eyesight went hard).

Three women escorting 40 seven year olds onto the bus (taste you can count on)...it's 9:00 a.m. and the "nickel whores" are already out in front of the Town Pump.

At this point in the work I still haven't settled on the title, posters decaying on the boarded-up windows of the old milk bottling plant.

In the assessor's office, make a list of all property owners on City Block 1254 (a stretch limo parked in front of the officer's club), experience a helicopter overhead as the pulse of its blades.

New park bench all metal and plastic feels wrong.

I notice beercaps and peanut shells at the foot of the gnarled cypress -- wind in the palm tree sounds more harsh than that in the eucalyptus.

Lick my balls narrative sequence, tugboats in the discontinuous bay.

A woman in blue shorts (I can describe anything), fog over the far hill.

There is no New York School, 70% of all poetry in the hands of creative writing students (I only slept with Auden out of respect).

I only slept in Arden out of respect: the Cubs at last (bone marrow transplant), what in the morning gets to be written.

Helicopters and maps to chart all the joggers at dawn (an overweight white woman is used to portray the oppressive prison warden in the video of Jermaine Jackson's Dynamite).

Poetry fever -- catch it!

The bus smells of curry...beginnings of smog smear the downtown sky (that our youth lack a sense of history is not their fault): don't Laos me up.

Becoming an old man with too many combs and pens in my pocket (fog predicts sky), the way horses in slow motion are understood to mean something else.v Morning's chatter (chattel), the city symphonic, rattles the windows on the 33rd floor, jostling across the intersection.

Hunker down: morning is everywhere, a break in the fog (a break in the dog)...I can still taste last night's wine.

From Mission Street we could see the car on the overpass consumed in flames, but later could find no mention of the event on tv or in the papers.

The plot gets sicker.

Smell of the roofers after season's first storm (trashcan my escritoire): her dress (blue vertical stripes) is but a long shirt with a matching belt.

A euphoria on the brink of despair...paper-covered wire used to seal trashbags...white sox above high heels.

To Do list: that jogger's step is but a half skip (smash pumpkin time).

But used in place of just lingers an old reading -- let's wait for the next stanza.

Sweet strained feeling in the scrotum later (I used the bacon grease for the scrambled eggs), desire for coffee is nearly erotic.

Monday mornings the guys in the back of the bus discuss yesterday's football (the child wants to be the one to put the quarter in the newspaper rack), blackbird hopping in the gutter at my feet.

The crowd danced to the "space music" as tho feigning a slow motion backstroke.

Notion of quantity defines a plot, is given a name, fingerprints (he do the poh-leese in diff'rent vices), yes m'am, just the facts...clang, Mark VII.

"How do you make friends -- by talking to people, right?" asks the boy behind me of his mother (she grunts).

New role for pockets in this fall's fashions (surfboard on sawhorse used for ironing), deep gray sky.

Form is passion.

Organic brain syndrome prefers end-rhyme...after 3 days of torrential storm, people walk in the new sunshine in raincoats and galoshes...trope or treat.

Dr. Stanza I presume (your tires low on air), bag-over-head dramatic monologue: my one vice, my other....

Unmediated, unmedicated.

Through the hole in the knee of the punk rocker's jeans I see his long johns, ribbed white cotton: pools in the parking lot after the rain.

Crime personified by a bloodhound in a trenchcoat fails to acknowledge pervasive absence of economic justice (big breasted woman dripping wet in a t-shirt which reads "Jamaica"), automobile named for endangered species.

Father was an absence a post-structuralist might have use for, music piped into the aquarium.

Vanguard wheelchair more like a golf cart, the proposition of a hat (tone of a smashed wax-paper milk carton kicked down the street).

Switch shoes to alter pressure points on feet (note rhyme), kids repainting rental unit.

Photo of mother dressed as lion for Halloween, 1935 (absence of articles making language poetic), deposit main verb here.

Car double-parked in front of the church, orange window stickers reading 'funeral'...res hotel fire escape landing is used as a natural refrigerator at window (milk carton, eggs), perfectly visible from sidewalk tho hotplates are illegal.

The word (round, shining) jets into view (style), the small professors quoting loudly for their kibbles: the lawn sprinkler's sweep forms the perfect trap (see my new gesture).

Samoan shifters join the police.

The hard, smooth surface conceals the watery, incomplete mind (shooting from the foul line): the poems were discreet, each book arriving at a three year interval.

To as in today...interliberary loan (the new watch with the leather watchband).

It has been twenty years since the Democratic Party carried a majority of the white vote in a Presidential election (the docents in white coats), my mother says of the cutbacks at Bechtel, "I'm only one-third nuclear now."

One hears only fragments of a talk (the skyline is not to be inferred), umbrella held as a club.

A poetry of the cities vs. a poetry of the campus (women's needs, not women's knees), the slow, exaggerated enunciation of the children's tv cartoon hero.

Their eyes shut, each face an index of stress and pain, evening rush hour subway commute (woman in a tweed suit reads the Wall Street Journal).

This focus group suggests a greater attention to the tone- leading of vowels in future rewrites.

The low spray of the mechanical street sweeper, the bald, bearded man all dressed up in black leather and studs (she has a ruby nose pin).

A man cynical so young is apt to grow bitter, a daughter is a dance frozen upon water later in laughter and after we slaughter the pink pet pig we smoke it: pass me the roach.

The problem of problems is the model of the problem imposed upon heaving tissue, such a glass imprisons water, champagne, hours (what is an hour?), sand's form determinate on the beach, a point spread.

The oil atop the peanut butter when one opens a new jar is my index of resistance, homeboy.

This curious half-light or life, the sky muted to admit stars, porch lights on, teenage girls trudging uphill carrying bags of groceries.

To sleep is to read and to read is to wet loom star by a davy-lamp or thread, old v-neck t-shirt through which to see your breasts.

This is a fundamentally serious art.

Giggling (on the defensive), a generation of actualists forgets to breed, we only call the binding perfect.

A decor specific to a small town beauty salon, your eyes draw gauze curtains across the sun setting in my smile: it's not the right that's ragged.

My instinct is to sprint across the street (nomad is an island).

Sushi-roshi: you are what you it, it are what you see meant...morning as a state of light elusive in winter, versus the arbitrary quantification of abstracted time (morning as a social contract).

Last night I saw my 11th grade English teacher for the first time in 18 years, I scramble the eggs with sour cream and season with dill and basil.

Are we there yet?

Bus vs. subway, who rides is a political question, the way your galoshes stretch to fit over new jogging shoes, the date feature on the watch has never worked.

An inference engine governs the new politics of stasis (22 line stanzas), money the signifier, credit the signified.

Pen and notebook direct to hardcopy...just to sit next to him, he smells of cigars.

Redhead, "thin as a rail," bent over now, glaucoma spreading blindness from the center out (in her wedding dress, 1920, she stares at the photographer, pensive, nervous).

Behind the shade, see curtains.

Man with a large head and feminine face, the microwave oven buzzes "done."

Hats on a cold day (her work at this point more hopeful than formed)...poets in the corner talking software.

Each stanza is a poem, each word...the tiny body given breadth by the wheelchair (what is found within a wall).

Prose is the distance between (two-prong plug in three-hole socket), the trouble with depiction when attached to an object is, punctuation in the manner of Cassius Clay.

Mood elevator: change notebooks.

Happy face with band aid sells health plan.

First winter run, faking it (knot in my right thigh vs. knot in my lungs).

Birds beneath these deep gray clouds are what give it that sense of distance (in the back of that old white Volvo, between the two babyseats, a ten gallon hat).

In the projects on Christmas eve, I notice how twice as many homes here have their windows decorated with strings of colored lights (attempt to tell a home from a unit).

Is it racist of me to feel sad watching three teenage Latina women walking down 22nd Street pushing strollers (kids and middle-aged men playing softball under the trees in St. Mary's Park, artless lunging after that image of grace)?

On the exercycle, reading the morning paper.

Old tin drum, cut in half, used as a trash can (closed grip reverse lat pull)...he finally achieved his perfect imitation of Olson, only to discover that no one cared: at least the cabbies have tenure.

How pink one gets, rising from a hot bath, how limp!

At this hour planes are but lights passing in a black sky...one by one, the windows in the houses on the hill go dark.

The man is in handcuffs, his car wedged in by two black-and- whites (by her outfit I see that she works in a donut shop), the glass fogged by the sheer difference between the heat indoors and out.

The sheer presence of the military apparent in any airport (the rhythm of a dulled patience, the tolerance of exhaustion, or of tedium), able to cross a vast lobby, passing hundreds of others, without one look into a nyone's eyes (hearing a question to which you know the answer, but remaining silent), 64 cents for a cup of tea.

Two tablets of Pepto-Bismol and a decongestant yield a thick black coat upon the tongue (metaphor for technique).

String X is the sound sequence of a Polaroid camera, not-X that of the color white, the feature "wide" applied here in its aspect of the liquid (the cylinder white to indicate salt, but gray to indicate rain), recurr ence violating the laws of distribution, the way 5 daughters (grown now) recast their parents features (false closure has its grand-dad's eyes, their color white).

Men don't stand before urinals but lean into them...old habit: at the end of leak, tug on foreskin.

O Bananarama

Our life is full of drama,

But you are surely keen

My little dramamine.

Anti-telos, grown men in 49er T-shirts, the low whirr of motorcycle engines up Mission Street, people in line outside the automated teller (wearing headphones around her neck like a collar), bulldog in back of pick-up.

Any guy who's been driving cab night shift for 35 years (raw goat cheese is now available), bright colors of the used car lot.

Listeners at a talk: how the hands are placed indicates what is/is not being heard (alternate codes: legs, spines)...a man pinches the bridge of his nose, eyes shut tight.

A contemporary vampire spends his afternoons in Market Street cinemas, watching horror flicks (whether the ears are revealed by the hair, hidden, half-hidden).

Two details develop a relation: gas stove settles slowly into green waves of forest, sputter of the straw in the now empty glass.

Auntie Telos: ladder as model of knowledge, tapioca prosody, mirror in the palm of my hand.

In the Tractatus numbered statements argue an economy of logic, but in the Investigations reflect fragmentations of a partial knowing (arrange noses in a room according to shape).

Blue veins map the back of your hand, the mystery in a woman's purse.

A symbol is any signified which functions as a signifier.

Small children on the bus often sit or stand on their seats backwards, ignoring the passing streets in favor of that larger puzzle, the society of the bus.

Jai ram, jai jai ram, "emotional science project," lights flicker, the reed without the horn, phone it in, small holes in the wall where once tacks stuck, grammar modifies prosody, consonants keep the vowels from lea king (chewing on one pen, writing with the other), a child struggling pull her sweater off, the blank space inaudible at the start of a text, old enough to hold his head up, sucking on mother's blouse, "duck tape," that billboards existed at all said more than one needed to of their social system, the idea of continuity between numbers, letters glued into words, the way velcro shoe straps begin to curl up after awhile, flowers etched on t he mouth of the sax, a narrative of clouds low over the sea, bend in the fern as it turns toward the ground, a "catch" in my throat, trousers will gradually dimple at the knees until in the early 60's an entirely new sequ ence of men's hairstyles began to show up which continues to this day, only now the older ones never quite go away (nehru jacket in the rear of closet), the way "b/w" means one thing in a description in a film catalog and another in one of 45 rpm records, errors here, revisions, delete word right, he always thinks of the window seat in the second row facing front on the right hand side of the LRV as "his" seat (waiting for the fog to clea r), sport coat with the collar turned up, wobbling on a rented 3-speed thru the park to the windmills, the horse' name is Foxfire, tiny Deadheads encamped in doorways on Haight Street (where have all the flowers gone -- w est Marin), so that one might survive, suit and tie, making movies (kino-eye), kemo sabe, yo no say, at the lawn's early blight, a round of poodles (playing) bark, on the first day of 22 cent stamps I stand in a long line at the dark branch office on 29th Street, a.m. radio music on low in the background, the sound of change, of adding machines, the customers (mostly seniors, mostly philippino) grunt or laugh or curse, seeing the line as they enter, already I'm far away, having stopped at a bakery to grab some rolls -- and caught the bus to work.

Tin sun, one broom.

On the freeway traffic inches forward, the low hill throwing its shadow to the west (the big trucks stick out).

How write poetry amid such chatter, but listen to it.

Doing your homework on the way to class...the wind blows his tie back over his shoulder like a short scarf.

What he liked most about the National Enquirer was its use of drop-out type in headlines and crowded layout...like architecture, poetry was a fundamentally conservative art (some men thought of auto maintenance as a hobby).

A supermarket shopping cart stood abandoned in the gutter, filled to overflowing with broken chips of cement; some women tip their head down when taking a drag on a cigaret, others tilt their head up (assign according to class).

Emotion is only an ideological commitment stated (felt) irrationally -- irrational because overdetermined (there's a conflict), I pluck these strings and the sun rises to the platin.

A dog in a muzzle might receive tenure (note please how this joke exploits caninism (note please how this line, following two iambs and the twist of the trochee turns on the single syllable might)).

On March 4, 1985, I killed my father and slept with my mother (it's February 26th).

Punk rock sunglasses frame Mrs. Reagan's face...diaphragm of the vowel expands and contracts.

The logic of morning (is no logic) is complete.

Big ol' red setter, blue leash chains you to your master, woman in a green down parka.

That was just sylabbles, this repetitive, obsessive counting, letters in an absurd chorus, strangers on a chain.

A foot is to kick with (Vegas-style), arthritis in my big toe (stereo blaster roars mediocre rap funk from the back of the bus).

White Wolf vodka brand, distributor's truck forms a sign (little wagon's plates read "Tuumba").

Stone escarpment: waterfall over granite (snowmelt), yellowgreen lichen, all these stones the size of homes shape the river.

River in snow in mist, still pool, a fine rain...moss- covered pines form verticals.

White noise, bad boys, no toys.

Old red Beetle shell left on the street (an injury to one is an injury to all), roomful of costumed Masons singing "Louie Louie," a bird in the hand will make a nest.

Willie: the pure products of America never were (what was most beautiful was neither the catch nor the throw, but the long high arc of the ball off Vic Wertz' bat).

I rush to write these wrongs (songs heard in dream clashing...).

Marx train: gnosis bunker (so fond we are of the old runes), white whale beached in Lilliput, number of fingers per hand is the puzzle, length and width of nose is the clue, circumcised at the nostrils, flaring and s norting, horse head stylized by flame, winged centaur harpooned to the old man, cetacean rising or writhing, waist-deep in the water (devoid of form and color) in the harbor at Gloucester or Tyre.

On March 21st, the last (one hopes) Christmas tree of the season, so dry and dead it's half-brown, needles shedding like cat hair, turns up, abandoned on the corner...by the next day, the trunk now cracked, it's moved into the gutter half a block down.

East Bay hills barely visible, half-silhouette in the red- brown morning air.

Random curd, that which is merely personal shall soon appear in APR, we've been practicing (reciting from memory, eyes closed), the real money's in conferences, metaphor of anyone's parents carved in accents.

My thumb instead of a dildo: serbo-martian exile pens essay in plain style.

Staples pock a phone-poll, rear of housepainter's pickup demonstrates meticulous order: sun's head fuels pen.

Jellyfish begin to appear in catchbasin of the City's sewers (the go-carts of Westciv sputter).

Off-tune, by headphones hidden in the hair, I, Minnie Mouse, squeak: old orange plastic breadwrap, the big trucks in the lot down at the dairy (like ships they are, literally docked), the young Latino boy sits on his daypack like a stone, reading a bible, waiting for the bus.

Temporary as morning, these words like shadows fall across the page, the value is the inversion, an old woman in the park recalling her childhood in Taiwan.

You're telling me something urgent, but I'm only counting the syllables as you speak.

Painters' scaffolding frames the house (yet behind that bay window stands an easel), red fruit of the peppertree.

"Meaning is use," but use without context conceals power (the perfectibility of the system is predicated first upon its continuity, and thus the permanence of internal relations and rankings): his didacticism was fel t to be "anti-art," an irritant, scratching on the blackboard of their heroic-tragic monologues of suburban family grief.

Chicken in the comfrey (fascinates orange cat), Spanish ballad from an open window, cardinals atop the plum tree -- breeze on a hot day.

The larger the crowd the narrower the assumptions one might then make attempting to speak to it (Foucault's laugh conceived as a flag): the bunting about the panel's table hides more than their legs.

Will your needs be met, simple notebook?

Jogging a different route just to see these streets again (car without wheels up on blocks in a front yard, lawn crushed into mud).

Sound of dog or hammer barely audible only because we so will it, foreground against the shush of valley traffic (jet's arc like the strain of a violin), white cat with black collar, bright pink ears and nose.

Clothespin clips playing card against bicycle spokes -- number makes a poor defense, baby's fist pulling on your lip, jar more visible for having cracked.

Breakfast nook: these forms are imposed (imagine the family that has no father), mop on the porch left to dry (subtract the r), you don't greet your peers so much as stalk them.

Old theatre carved into thirds, the letters on your marquee are so much more crowded, small billboard mounted against apartment house wall.

The point at which a wide yawn will shut sound out: don't point your saxophone at me.

Think of horn as big straw (simile when you say that), polyvocalic want a closure?

Little windows (edit valley)...now the chicken's chasing the cat.

Curb cut: capitals at the margin require setback (if they write about language, there's a reason), voicing the slash in s/he (if they write about language, there's a cause): the indigo of the Iowa delta erodes, wound ed buffalo in perfect binding.

O knife of theory in fog of tenure: that this day, converted into art, might be again transformed (computer paper scotch-taped over a bathroom window for privacy), loosened by steam...I sit, heart beating fast, on th e fourth bus I've been on in just 12 minutes, route to the job.

1985: I notice the gang of roofers (tossing old shingles from a housetop into the back of a red dumptruck, slender wrists fitting into large, grey gloves) are speaking Vietnamese.

Blond god, all muscle in loincloth, slays blue dragon with sword, image painted on the side of an RV.

Tiny orange clip-on Garfield fixed to the brake grip of the cop's chopper (or stuff towel between windows to block draft), an 8 year old's day pack: placement of For Sale signs against vacancy rate defines city.

Old barber alone in storefront shop sits in his raised chair, reading racing forms.

Writing, rhythms writhe: stylized grain forms a watermark.

Long fingers press on closed eyes, then bridge of the nose (red spots from years of glasses, nearly indentations): where, deep in the head, does voice focus?

Poets pose either as visual artists or rock stars, but novelists mime nerds, plastic pocket insert full of pens (trying to guess women's vocations by their earrings less reliable than by their shoes): watch as bracelet versus watch as cuff.

Start to study Stein: see or saw or was at sea with oars, without (shoulders and soldiers, soldiers and shoulders), never let show what you don't know.

Ah posh gush (dear Kush, dear tush), the air one hears is there in Chinese verse.

Counterclockwise, the asymmetry of baseball is the key to its narrative (funk anthem), bottle gang on a park bench, double- dipper: Enver Hoxha is dead.

We're in the caffein reaction faction: now mean this: the colon is swollen (semi) -- she's got it...he sees it (better book reviews): Dennis Wilson (Natalie Wood) steps into space (the sea), just the tip of the Iceman (rises).

Counterthoughtwise, the words are stenciled on a glass door (light above the elevator, when lit, means "in use"), this is a test (sign in please), little pickup nearly buried under a load of old mattresses, half-athletic, all day.

Insertions, against the false silence of the City, voiced comma: the cat just stares at the fearless hen, hissing.

New plums weight old branches down into shape, another generation has discovered water balloons off rooftops, junkyard dog tears at raw beef, syntax appears straight forward waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

Young man with shoulder-length hair seems now old-fashioned, green parrot loose in the back yard, cat white as the steps on which it sleeps, a world in which Chris Martinez never dies in Vietnam nor Marion Dale Cook inside the walls of San Quentin nor Fay Stender, confined to a wheelchair, swallowing pills in Hong Kong.

That names are not words is evident to any: over decades the small house becomes its modifications, its repairs -- you sit in the sun with your eyes shut, sensing the breeze against the hair on your arms, 13th of April.

Ink sinks into the paper, then spreads: thus the light around the body extends down from a gun tower, while three young women have joined hands, sitting on the train tracks, halting the shipment of troops.

People treat stairs with due caution, traffic in the valley feels endless, the day effortlessly slips into dusk.

The next page is another country, the moment a pop fly hovers before dropping back to earth.

The sun itself demands no explanation, but this cargo cult of nouns sings its own song, its own name, again and again.