Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Long Poems & Half-Truths

Long Poems and Half-Truths

have architecture
machine or drive
the work

lyric base
in lyre
the brevity
the weight
of such
the liar

the ring
of a bell
its ante
its antici-

“lighght” -AS
a knot
of attention

hold that page for a moment
the forest in the
bed of your
head a hammock
hung from ear to ear
crouching just
behind the senses

help yourself
build your castle
be the slumlord
of your world

be the

set sail
“cheeks puffed out” -JS
graced by wind
cheekbones, masts

lightning strikes
but a few times
in a career

spices, spicer, spicier
teasing the truism
new modulations
of the sword
serial angel
community of

the beginnings of zero
where all nothingness
or somethingness comes
closer to the all than


the sea writes on the shore--
what speaks from the mouth of a cannon?
--vases survive ruins
being built to last
“absent midnight” -MT(?)

on ex nihilo:

origin and source
the out-of-nothing

point to an absence in this room--
don’t point at me
--is there even such a thing?
a black hole would tear your hand off

we struggle
to conceive
the stars
a boundary?
a vanishing
not absence or true
a seeming border
an extension

to nothingness?

the swallow
of holes


in the Church of the Holy Blood in Flanders
saw Jesus’s blood, the red
separated from the plasma
in a test tube attached
to a priest’s wrist

we just walked in the church by accident

rather human rather
than heroic
gravity, levity, humility

feeling like a rubber band
its function to stretch
or the continuance to snap

“gift” and exchange -MC
2000 pounds of paint
in a rose
what are you comfortable
sitting down with

the photograph captures too perfectly
challenges realism
opens the form to impressionism, pixilation, the blur
“willing suspension of disbelief” -STC


a husband with a giraffe head is
absurd, yet
if approached with faith

muse and drudge
seed the lists with seemingly innocent language
coat with culture

the currants
on “the castle”

insert yourself
into the cracks
of the legend:

the courage, the loyalty, a woman
the tradition
slumbering in the Odyssey
stolen from its imaginings

the sidelong cider
not quite penetrable
puzzles to solve
unsolvable puzzles
under the “magnifying
glass from the OED” -LH

all books are folded
to open is to unveil
in the meditative mode
take your time; oceans open

link up the floating debris
adapt to the jittery condition

of waves

of the earth, the stain
of experience
the stain on the tub -VS
once filled with olives
present when the lovers
go to bed

The above lines are the notes I took for the Long Poem course at SFSU. So credit goes to Paul Hoover, Aram Saroyan, Jack Spicer, Maxine Chernoff, Coleridge, Lyn Hejinian, Harryette Mullen, Vikram Seth, and Homer.

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