Bardo, by Peter Gizzi

I’ve spent my life
in a lone mechanical whine,

this combustion far off.

How fathomless to be
embedded in glacial ice,

what piece of self hiding there.

I am not sure about meaning
but understand the wave.

No more Novalis out loud.

No Juan de la Cruz singing
“I do not die to die.”

No solstice, midhaven, midi, nor twilight.

No isn’t it amazing, no
none of that.

To crow, to crown, to cry, to crumble.

The trees the air warms into
a bright something

a bluish nothing into

clicks and pops
bursts and percussive runs.

I come with my asymmetries,
my untutored imagination.

Heathenish,

my homespun vision
sponsored by the winter sky.

Then someone said nether,
someone whirr.

And if I say the words
will you know them?

Is there world?
Are they still calling it that?

 

Chirality, by Rae Armantrout

If I didn’t need
to do anything,
would I?

Would I oscillate
in two
or three dimensions?

Would I summon
a beholder

and change chirality
for “him”?

A massless particle
passes through the void
with no resistance.

Ask what it means
to pass through the void.

Ask how it differs
from not passing.

 

ninth: a conversation between Annabot and the Human Machine on the subject of overpowering emotion, by Anna Moschovakis

(Note: Though Annabot is ostensibly downloadable, the attempt to open her produced an error, a string of errors.)

ANNABOT: What now?

 

HUMAN MACHINE: The Brain, the brain—that is the seat of trouble!

 

ANNABOT: My brain, whose brain? Those who feel, feel.

 

HUMAN MACHINE: On the blink?

 

ANNABOT: Or, discipline. The brain is a machine of habit. The heart is a hell.

 

HUMAN MACHINE: “The secret of smooth living is a calm cheerfulness which will leave me always in full possession of my reasoning faculty.”

 

ANNABOT: But I am not cheerful.

 

HUMAN MACHINE: I ought to reflect, again and again, and yet again, that all others deserve from me as much sympathy as I give to myself. I place my hand over your heart.

 

ANNABOT: I cannot feel your hand.

 

HUMAN MACHINE: I cannot feel your heart.

 

This is the language of simple, obvious things

The conclusion and the part before

 

Anna held her hand out to feel the cold

It was cold

 

Then, nothing

Prefix: Finding the measure, by Robert Kelly

Finding the measure is finding the mantram,
is finding the moon, as index of measure,
is finding the moon’s source;

if that source
is Sun, finding the measure is finding
the natural articulation of ideas.

The organism
of the macrocosm, the organism of language,
the organism of I combine in ceaseless naturing
to propagate a fourth,
the poem,
from their trinity.

Style is death. Finding the measure is finding
a freedom from that death, a way out, a movement
forward.

Finding the measure is finding the
specific music of the hour,
the synchronous
consequence of the motion of the whole world.

Poem Interrupted by Whitesnake, by Timothy Donnelly

That agreeable feeling we haven’t yet been able

  to convert into words to our satisfaction

 

despite several conscious attempts to do so

  might prove in the end to be nothing

 

more than satisfaction itself, an advanced

  new formula just sitting there waiting to be

 

marketed as such: Let my logo be the couch

  I can feel it pulse as the inconstant moon

 

to which I’ve come to feel attached continues to pull

  away from earth at a rate of 1.6 inches

 

every solar year: Let my logo be the couch

  where you merge into nights until you can’t

 

up from the shadows of a factory warehouse

  in historic Secaucus built on top of old swamp-

 

land I can feel it: Let my logo be the couch

  where you merge into nights until you can’t

 

even remember what you wanted to begin with.

  Let my slogan be the scrapes of an infinite

 

catalogue’s pages turning over and over until you

  find it again.

 

                    In the air above Secaucus

 

a goldfinch, state bird of New Jersey, stops dead

  midflight and falls to the asphalt of a final

 

parking lot. Where it lands is a sacred site

  and earth is covered in them. Each is like

 

the single seed from which an entire wheat field

  generates. This happens inside oneself

 

so one believes oneself to be the owner of it.

  From the perimeter of the field one watches

 

as its workers undertake their given tasks:

  some cut the wheat, some bundle it; others picnic

 

in the shade of a pear tree, itself a form of

  labor, too, when unfolding at the worksite.

 

A gentle pride engilds this last observation like

  sun in September. Because this happens

 

inside oneself one feels one must be its owner.

  But call out to the workers, even kindly,

 

and they won’t call back, they won’t even look up

  from their work.

 

                       There must be someplace

 

else where life takes place besides in front of

  merchandise, but at the moment I can’t think of it.

 

In the clean white light of the market I am where

  I appertain, where everything exists

 

for me to purchase. If there’s a place of not meaning

  what you feel but at the same time meaning

 

every word, or almost, I might have been taught

  better to avoid it, but

 

                               here I go again

 

on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever

  known, trusting Secaucus’s first peoples

 

meant something specific and true when they fused

  the words seke, meaning black, and achgook,

 

meaning snake, together to make a compound

  variously translated as “place where the snake

 

hides,” “place of black snakes,” or, more simply,

  “salt marsh.”

 

                  Going moon over the gone marsh

 

Secaucus used to be, I keep making the same

  mistake over and over, and so do you, slowly

 

speeding up your orbital velocity, and thereby

  increasing your orbital radius, just like Kepler

 

said you would, and though I keep trying not

  to take it to heart, I can’t see where else there is

 

to go with it. In German, a Kepler makes caps

  like those the workers wear who now bundle

 

twigs for kindling under the irregular gloom. One looks

  to be making repairs to a skeletal umbrella

 

or to the thoughts a windmill entertains by means

  of a silver fish. Off in the distance, ships tilt

 

and hazard up the choppy inlet. Often when I look

  at an object, I feel it looking back, evaluating

 

my capacity to afford it.

 

                              Maybe not wanting

  anything in particular means mildly wanting

 

whatever, constantly, spreading like a wheat

  field inside you as far as the edge of the pine

 

forest where the real owners hunt fox. They keep you

  believing what you see and feel are actually

 

yours or yours to choose. And maybe it’s this

  belief that keeps you from burning it all down.

 

In this economy, I am like the fox, my paws no good

  for fire-starting yet, and so I scamper back

 

to my deep den to fatten on whatever I can find.

  Sated, safe, disremembering what it’s like

 

up there, meaning everywhere, I tuck nose under tail

  after I exhaust the catalogues, the cheap stuff

 

and sad talk to the moon, including some yelping but

  never howling at it, which is what a wolf does.

Poem Entering the Apple Valley Target, by Lynn Melnick

Into the fluorescent rough country

headlong into bulks of flesh

 

impatient to outspend me

 

and who wouldn’t fold real quick

under the weight of America’s sales and specials.

 

I believed then I didn’t

 

that I was different than I am

in my own skin in this infinity

 

mirror, instructed such

to seduce myself, to go on.

 

I am sorry

 

about the space I take up

about the panic

 

running around my aspect and my hunger

 

although it’s nothing

 

these racks of acrylic winter apparatus

won’t dazzle out of my head.

 

I’ll take several. I’ll take fistfuls.

I’ll tuck it into my mouth at night to keep me quiet.