Poems

If I Get Louder Will You Get Louder Too?

The world has been stuttered
and the world is the name of a guest, there is an air wound here,
                      you take it in and you try to stop breathing but
the world is a body cut open, open for air to get in
and for permanent silence, too, so the world is brought home
                                        to the axis of Earth through the act of building,
even a shack, a small brick school.  Out of
                             a substantially bombed-out place,
                                                  visible damage to government buildings,
                many houses had gouged walls, it seemed as if every
                                                                              windowpane had been smashed.
Her family lives in Mansour, Rana showed Yasmine Bahrani
                         a gaping hole in her garden wall.  Shrapnel had burst into the house
                                       there was shrapnel melted into the fabric of the downstairs curtains.

                                                     It become an embarrassment, a rumor on the street.
The erasure of history and its carriers, the obliviousness of the market economy
                                         to the degradation and ongoing genocide of human beings, it must be
countered with a deeper awareness and action, it must be built
        even if it is only to be torn down
                      like a bankrupt hotel.

The base is 10.5 x 12 meters, and it’s 15 meters high, and is standing
                 on a marble base which is 25 cm high.
                                   Each of the corners are pointing in the four directions of the compass.
       It is built of grey stones.  The door is in the northeastern wall,
                           and is 2 meters above the ground.  Three wooden pillars hold the roof up.
         The roof can be accessed by a ladder.  The floor is covered by marble,
                                           and there are no furnitures, except gold and silver lamps.

Outside, the Black Stone is now in pieces,
                                        three large parts, and smaller fragments,
          which are tied together with a silver band.  There is another stone, too,
                            built into the western corner, the Stone of Good Fortune,
        which is far less sacred.  The wall between the door
                                  and the Black Stone, is very sacred.  The believer comes
 to the place that is the center of the world,
                                 and at the center of the world there is water there,
           underground cisterns, a place where the divine
revelations collected, poured forth, and continued for about 12 years.  Or there is a hole,
                or he makes a hole, and water seeps in, there is a wall around it,
                                                  a fence, there is a smell.  To recall what happened to important
       people.  In a place of worship and peace.  Daniel C. Dennett says
                we should honor those who are wrong in useful ways. 
                                                                           Marie Bruno says if I get louder,
will you get louder with me?  Maybe the skin between us will tear.
          New insects would come to us then, and wild beasts, our green
                           and fertile bodies, a freshly broken world. 
Bob Schneck, one of the visitors
                     Saturday to the Winter Garden in Battery Park City, recalled the trade center plaza.
              “I just remember all the stores in that spot. The Borders was there,
                            the shoe store was there.  We were able to sit around the fountain.  I just cannot
imagine filling all that space with trees.”  To think, of daily life in
                            a city, as possible and unguarded, again, against, and continuing...

         From these places (and all others too, why not?
of course,) I will bring you Divine
blessing, either in life or in death.
Divine blessing, which can be transferred from one person to another,
            Or from a material item (such as books, articles of clothing,
                                    dust and small stones) to a person.
Divine blessing, the strongest is in you, and then especially in your eyes.
            Pilgrims returning, they are carriers of divine blessing,
Bringing with them blessings in the shape of items from holy places.  Say
                        I am such, then I am such, though I can’t describe to you
                                all the cities where I have been.
The well was opened
                        by the angel Jibril, to save Hagar and her son Ismail from dying of thirst,
            when they were out in the desert.  Its name means “fill” or “stay” or “stop.” 
                                        It is a blessing to wash your burial clothes in its waters.
There is a bar in San Francisco named after it, the bartender
           who used to work there was almost historically rude,
                            it was considered a privilege to drink there,
it is a privilege to drink anywhere at all.

 

And So

Arkady Volsky used to tell jokes
                          about hope and progress.  There are two economists, and they are on fire.
               One is always an optimist, the other a pessimist.  The pessimist says, “Everything is
terrible.  It can’t get any worse.”  And the optimist says, “Yes, it can.”  It never rains
                                        on the economists, they go through the world evaluating
       fires but themselves stay unburnt.  Daniel Hamermesh calls it
                   the Roy Model: given two choices, some people will choose one,
                           some the other — and they will select themselves into
           different treatments, and keep on burning.
When the Iraqi police arrived at the Asmaa elementary school,
                                   they discovered an IED near the site of the blast, but a member
             of the Baghdad police bomb squad said the blast took place
                           when an old grenade buried in some trash exploded as the trash
       was being burned.  The Iraqi police said one child was killed, not two, and four wounded
instead of thirty, at about 2 p.m., when the children were in the yard for recess.

No one really knows.  And so, and so’s.
         What will stay with us, in all the talking and talking,
                         a plain table, a sheaf of notes.  “And so” is the kind of phrase Spalding Gray
         used a lot, because it allowed him to go anywhere he wanted.
                      It allowed him to weave a story around the story he couldn’t tell,
                                    the one without language that led him to take his own life.
We do what audiences so often do —
               we believed that the show was just for our benefit.
                          We liked to hope that the fears and despair were really exaggerated
to make us laugh, to let us off the hook for laughing.  Verlyn Klinkenborg writes all this
                                       and she said Spalding Gray wondered whether
          he would make it, and that this wonder was both fearful and real. 
                     As the character Jim Daniels in Swimming to Cambodia, Gray says
     “When my ship sinks, in an ocean,
                             any ocean, anywhere, I'm still chained down there
            in that waterproof chamber. I press
                           that green button, it activates that rocket, it
            goes up out of its waterproof silo, up, up, up, UP!
                                        I get a fucking erection, man, every time I think about firing a rocket… [like] We're gonna win!
                                       [like] We're gonna win!
                                                                               [like] We're gonna WIN this fucking war!”

And so, of sounds,
         equally calculated and haphazard, fragments colliding and blooming
                              with little regard for structure; it’s as if little cities of melody
                  were built by intelligent architects with their own languages.

 

                              IMMENSE CATHEDRALS OF SPACE

Then enfolds each in the world, each of them,
          each would have to be, unseen, like connecting like, teeming rawnesses, soils:
       would open another land corresponding to all other lands,
                           allowing you to see down in you, down through to
all sorts of turnings.

                                 And so to slide off, down into each, down in you,
                 your thoughts are monkish you keep them to yourself,
                                 to slide off, in ice sheets, optimistic business developments, you love to
                                                  you wedge into it then tall, then modestly, then
          not sorry, not cheap then not stuck either
                       not stuck in some cave to, then not waiting, not waiting, just being.

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