Thursday, January 17, 2008

What Comes Next

Same Puddle

‘So much straw’
Is how Aquinas
Put it, writing

Provender to naught,
And the death-
Bed astink with

The harrying autochthonous
Devils of inapproachable
Night. So it

Is—stumpy meanderings,
Runt conjectures, meddle-
Some aerial ecliptics.

A yellow willow’s
Ropery adjusts its
Branches to rub

The arbitrary earth,
Unfussy mistress, tag
To a bandying

Prevaricant. A slag
Heap of misfired
Longings, torrid tootings,

Goose marasmuses, and
Bawling. (The hilarity
Of earthly needs.)

So it is.
Writing out a
Discrepant plaint, a

Measure inharmonious, a
Truckle torch’d by
The official weight

Of its burthen.
Naples and Etna,
Console and chock.

A ledge traversing
A life, ligature
And ‘swarte byndynge.’

The straw I’s
Collapsible and hardy,
Writ big into

Landscape’s own largesse,
The lavender balling
Up under sun-

Slant, black horse-
Leech stretch of
Lee-shadow where

I put down
My sack. All
Night my pen,

Shirt-pocket’d, leaks—
A pendicule of
Ink the shape

Of Corsica soaks
The cambric. I
Nod into residuum,

Simple and thin,
A theriomorph made
Of cloud-canter

Splay’d out across
The field. Nothing
Amassing at a

Regular abridgeable docket
Pace, blowing off
Into copses and

Corridors, nothing writ
In indigestible doggèd
Musickings dug out

Of the air’s
Most valiant denials,
Straw-chafery, ‘a

Kodpese like a
Pokett.’ So sewn,
So sown, doubting

Thomas Aquinas fever-
Tree-rack’d, pester’d
By the scurrilous

Droll ‘daunce’ of
What the wind
Carries off, chaff

Of mandibula, speech
Put down for
Naught, the ‘severall

Fallaxes and elenches
Of them.’ So it
Be, writ city

Word-fluvial, its
Misshapen escarpments, its
Hoist and drivel.

One pounds together
A momentary mayhem,
And goes off.

Thomas Aquinas, Fra Angelico (1395–1455)