For Nicholas language is much more difficult than what he does in space.
Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion
if an apple falls from a tree with leaves
if a tree falls in a forest thatís been defoliated
if sputnik crashes unceremoniously to the sea
(if nothing is plumb
then nothing will be plumb
then what will being plumb be?)
hindsight & midday. to a noonery, esau, Iíll take the culpa
idiom if you do
idiom if you donít. que sera.
the senate hath debated &
concluded w/a motion & announced
the fact of us: vixerunt
(i.e., they have lived)
state of sky on the whole unchanged:
precipitation in sight
not reaching the ground or surface of the sea
but earth is always earth & air is all around
& the core of the system is stable
I saw the ghosts of lampposts light
at noon, saw rain
slick the boardwalk as it slipped from view.
what awaits beyond
for us, what what?
they say orpheus & icarus turned to salt
for not wedding their lots in life
(& not having the good sense
god gave little green apples).
what can be said of me?
if you follow me north (695 to 95
to 495 to 95) Iíll drape the rearview;
if you fall into the ocean
Iíll fish for thee
in days of yore, before gones
were bygones (before our inflorescence grew waxen
& our curiousity one-sided)
people were judged on actions & the aesthetics of those actions
had genera named for them & their utterances
banked in mid-air & handled
& their turns of phrase forked their tails & tongues.
now the utterances have become disgruntled,
small but abundant,
no signs where the seams meet,
no schism in the joints of the sentence.
sting like a bee, I say
sky is no place for tape-measure or t-square;
my wings are tapers, my stone is at the foot of the hill again
still no decision from apostolic see
(though soon theyíll proclaim it dogma).
if we cannot compel wax to do what wax cannot, cannot
heft the world or word, what will come
those ignorant of history are bound to love the factoid.
come hither idus, sans fetters & tipsy;
the fall of man is lodged in my adamís apple,
my swallow canít find capistrano
& Iím trying to seduce you
from this modest height, the planet seems camera-ready:
the cosmos are quiet : tea & other things steep.
nappy gray horizon (where headstones crest
the hillock like scrapers & trace sky
could a tale unfold
if not for the tonsular lymph
& chyle, the gumption in autumnís throat.
Iíll roll my stone against logic
& hereís my final aphonic voir dire:
it is sometimes lonely among men
the ghosts are coughing,
the city flexed
then morphed into an orphan
noon may turn out to be an isthmus,
7 stars around the moon
more poetry than I can swallow
(some left for overs)
juncos on a sad penninsula
turn out to be canaries in the melan.
(the petals turn out to be tepals.
autumn is the squaw of my discontent)
(the map on my tongue
says I could only be here)
masquerade as, define as,
only contain what the outside world needs to know:
that is why he
is said to be anonymous on his way
ere long, evening
(the difference engine)
will begin being binary
dots & bits, will braille
(as a curved arrow on a road sign)
& I will be threatening
to change planets.
my mom is a sphere.
walk set route:
dogs, things, point, jot.
is this it, in the mouth, is it life
chewed over, mulled cider