Friday, September 12, 2008


Pitcher and Cloud


Friday. To name a thing:
Oranges tumbling into a wad
Of white towels. The drubbing
Of an impolitic yearning. Saturday
Out in the yard where
The fence is a specious
Integument. A loud black laundress
In back of the baths.
Sunday. The opossum corner’d against
The shed, mouth cutting a
Big roseate L out of
The night, double-point’d like
A lozenge. The dog finally
Pins it and grabs it
Up in its mouth and
Begins to shake it side
To side, slowly and methodically,
As if burthen’d by an
Even grief. I potter out
In briefs and slippers, with
An ineffectual leash. Monday. Nowhere
Is there an audience to
Slander. Tuesday. Archivists in sour
Disarray. Anarchists. Done in by
Post-fortifying muck, the sidelong
Intractable what of whatever one
Never gets done. The filmic
Anything in a systole of
Noise: echo and cramp, angel,
And romp. Wednesday is wearing
My shirt. Thursday. The boy
On the yellow bicycle sliding
Off the Mustang’s fender in
A Gordian knot of limbs
Is back up dickering with
The cockeyed handlebars when the
Fat man extracts himself whining
Platitudes. Use whatever blank attitude—
Covet’d or malign’d—you need,
Boy, or hit him one.
Friday.One stands bound into
Oneself in a green swirl
Of unfamiliarity, furred. Recall a
Cranny, a lanthorn, one’s fingering
Of damp underthings up into
A makeshift something for bucking.
Saturday. The foul hereafter of
Brood. Sunday. Here I am
Scribbling in the sleek propinquities
A gong’d quiddity worth knowing.
(See arrow.) Monday. Whenever anybody
Approaches the thing, it begins
Its preternatural shunning, its stutter,
An elliptic stuck rallying, a
Shout against that begins with
Its formal prod and foil. Tuesday.
Sun drills the night. Wednesday.
Laundry ambiance, suds and ashtrays.
A temporary enclosure I do
So love to palpate, agreeably.
Thursday. Plot flaw. Friday. A
Square-head’d flower, a schnauzer.
Rallying with a shout. Saturday.
Unenviable, the joy-inflect’d pout
Of the post-random romp,
Wintry utterances, the whole of
It saved to a disc.
Sunday. Rhythm diagnosis suggesting rodeo.
Monday. Brought a ferocious dexterity
To bear against the ongoing
Food shortages. Tuesday. A variety
Of terminals and books of
Energy. Unfinishable like a dictionary.
Wednesday. In the midst of
An impositional impasse, a neuro-
Chemical breakthrough raised up its
Doper’s head. Thursday. Bells of
Light in the village betoken’d
Mastery, the right word wrongly
Used. Friday, my contemporary!
My kith! In ambush we
Lie all umbilicus and manoeuvre
For the one unhampered thing!
Saturday. Point to the arch
Truth of the waggish, and
Comply “none, euensonge and complyn.”
Sunday you wear my feet.

Roland Barthes (in A Lover’s Discourse): “The scene is like the Sentence: structurally, there is no obligation for it to stop; no internal constraint exhausts it, because, as in the Sentence, once the core is given, (the fact, the decision), the expansions are infinitely renewable.” That’s not it exactly. There’s “knowing when to stop.” I love the forms that supply an ending; I love the forms that hint (proceed, insist) otherwise. “You just don’t know when to stop, do you?” I seem to dabble at reading, sleep-interrupt’d, of late. Rotating Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria, the Barthes (which I keep trying to recall if I read before or not—this occurs with books I’ve heavily pick’d at for years), and George Steiner’s After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation. And approaching whatever self-appoint’d task “The Everyday” is with an alarming volatility—that is, some few hours of onerous pulling of words out of the cabinet, two words per hour, exhausting bright-eyed staring, follow’d by exhilarating pony-romps of JFK-styled “vim and vigah.” I always liked the Pound remark, spoke with a sheepish shrug: “I do do it.” I keep thinking about Clark Coolidge wanting to make a larger vocabulary available (to himself)—the argument of the painter who’s got all the colors right there on the palette. False, of course. The writer, too, with “all the colors”—A, B, C, &c.—all’s need’d is a monstrously large palette. Steiner mentions the German word Sprachfeld (I take it to mean “Speech-field,” a lovely thing), the whole range of definitions the word is capable of “fielding,” its plot’d (and unplot’d) “array.”

Clark Coolidge
(Photograph by Alan Bernheimer)