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Authors: Ann Lauterbach

Tags: #Poetry, #American, #General

Under the Sign (2 page)

BOOK: Under the Sign
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TRIPTYCH (VAN EYCK)

1.

The woman

with a child on her lap
sitting on rugs

what is she doing

there
in the middle

the day
might always be cold

March light

what is she doing
sitting with a child

on her lap

long drapes
behind

and rugs
like wings

or feathers
feathery rugs

alive in the cold

March light
flat as the moon

at dusk

the cold
rakes

blue plumes

into
traversing

signals
aside

and because
it can never be

early enough
she is always

sitting
aside

in wait.

2.

Mal, mal,
trivial thwart.

Stop this
glare, stop

goading the ill
into consequence,

the extra
bloom

unheralded
by day or by night.

Go off
into a woody scene

and take
the painted epilogue

with you.
Burn it for heat

and burn the
currency of emeralds

mistaken
for new life.

3.

If
no time's
not want

stay and
renovate

traced gloves
sweet digits

adhesives
bound for dispatch

and so cling
to the tiered ensemble

stupendous enrichment
during the spell and

start, start.

for Stacy

UNTITLED (PORTRAIT)

Up here in the ancient gold trim      the news not yet visual

so that he or she or we are invisible to the naked eye

whereas the gold trim on her gown is etched

falling down along and over to the hem

like an evening sky.

Or like nothing yet announced

so the missing and the present are singular in their dress

as we await the address and the black

river of reading aloud over the phone

George Eliot's intervention between the walls

so that we walk through them as if turning a page

we agreed again you and I as we have agreed before

you are not going to be with me on the other side of the wall

despite George Eliot and despite Daniel

in his pink house with the book

whose cover is reiterated on the wall

the picture of the beautiful woman in black

who had to decide whether to be her portrait

or to be someone else

not like the mother or the sister

not like the man in the hotel room in his bathrobe

with his whore and his

unspeakable

so that the only thing to be said

is
you cannot do that with me in the room

the walls of the room and the long view across the river

where there are others in their rooms

and the house from the other side of the river

looks immense

as the life within is immense.

LANDSCAPE WITHOUT VIEW

These intensities   their wake   the jar

fret
the word

snow on dry leaves  
fret fret

the jar dark inside within   in the dark

body o body not that anyone is here

the thick stiff night's

curled domain

as of now   how it is spoken

the slide between

the mere passage

                      fret

and surely the blind spot

the occasion

emphatic     these intensities

not sheltered not yet drawn

by the most implicated

what it looks like

to halt           crassly halt

and the new digital figure

axiomatic grace

semblance ushered from sequence

avenue or image

sucking at the animate

these contagious exceptions

fugitive incursions

even so the turbines hum

licking at stone

the contagion of stone

peevish annunciation

melded onto a screen

as if intimate

invisible constraint

as if tempered

as if conditions prevailed.

NIGHT NEWS WITH FAKE ZEBRA

Let us move more quickly, night,
now night, star-encrusted, opulent.

The indictment of thought
is an opal's smooth version.

Guard our sensations, be copious
or at least perform adequate

vistas. I saw a pair of eagles
from the train. The train trains on.

They, their sitting.
Night: longer than their perch.

We: gathered and copious.
The eagles: a pair.

I warrant the arrest of the boy
who shot another boy in this sad.

In this sad, would you have said no?
Bickering, passing the gun, a game

of pass the gun.
There are gangs.

This is not a lesson.
A transformation of the subject

into another subject. Not to insist.
Velvet Revolution, Velvet Underground.

Lou, hello Lou? Can you hear?
I am here in the dark church

imagining an improvised history
as if channeling the news.

The eagles sit at the edge of the river.
The camera is out of earshot. Jack

Spicer is about to speak
into the nearest phenomenon

while the deer
while the dear

spelled d/e/a/r
halts naturalism

and a new equation
only you in the pews can solve.

Are we lost among our subjects?
The lone bobcat

Andrew and I saw
traverses

an ancient and incendiary
commotion. Hunting season

under the big tent.
And then there was a magician

strolling along in broad daylight
with something up his sleeve.

There is a silver zebra
on a silver tray in a gallery in New York.

to Michael Joo

AFTER NEWTOWN

Maybe there's a top at the end of
the world made by someone else.

Maybe it spins and becomes a blur
of river and sounds

windy. And the girl
who arrives and who gets to hold

the top at the end of the world
and to pull and push

so that it spins into blue rivers
seems never to die.

A train passes on the ridge.
The hemlock branches wave.

UGLY SONNET

Shame vanquishes the old school.
Truck stop rape. A or the women

falls or fall under the wheels
of chatter around truck stop rape.

Besieged by glare; the untidy
aperture of historical accounting for

truck stop rape. Flare of paper in wind.
Some sirens, some typing on small

handheld instruments. Minimal
delay but very little inclusion beyond

truck stop rape. Everywhere she saw
eyes looking back into the harbor

where there had been an accident and
no chance to escape the truck. Stop rape.

WORLD CUP

The world allows   stop me at any point

I am so sorry  
idea symbol procedure

allows for   tennis   Roger Federer

try not to consume the view   I am really sorry

after the fact       after     more than a few

flying in the face of necessity     allows

for error   invariably corrected   the world

corrected   I am very sorry stop me at any point

down below captured         Roger Federer

the world allows you ask   what is this world

clarity     a procedural game not   if then

not     consequential     openly

distributed   stop me at any point   motion

transparent       you can see a match       pass

to pass     Roger Federer       or hear

the noise of bees               oceans of bees.

to Nick Keys

MEANWHILE, STORM

All these     concrete     things
blown about

habitat of improvisation

heavily adorned

                          phenomena       do not grasp

motion
unmoored

under the catastrophe tent

limb rocked
pictures

had been
root-bound

                   or truculent   not following not how

the brown lisp
tunneling up through spawn
shorn

and disobedient
as if duplicating

not the stiff buck
not journalism

pecking at our wares
and the beautiful illusion
also spawns

sea in cloud
basking on its throne

film trashed
in the forgotten

as the already
known

deception
in the black hall

the relinquished sequence
abundant with numbers

bitterly loaded

patched on to the original
sent out as flood.

IL PLEUT

And the ghosts of Galileo
and Apollinaire

are meeting in a room
reserved for those

in mourning for
acts of insight

that link
perception

to understanding.
They inhale clouds

that promise a more
thorough oblivion

than mere death.
There's a knock at the

horizon. Someone
has come to join them.

She is clothed in
white and,

like them, is
invisible to them.

She speaks slant
lines only the birds hear.

to Ron Padgett

DOMESTIC MODERNISM

A chair

and a painting

are in love

they resemble

each other

this happens

rarely

it takes a

long time

for a chair

and a painting

to fall in love.

One of them

is geometrical

and slides

across curves

against

a black ground.

The other

is floral.

The floral

once had a

fraternal

twin rug

but it was

exiled.

to Anselm Berrigan

UTENSIL

Track the quick-footed
more
.
Slack crib, fluid in another
mystery. Repeat after me.

There was a form after all
but not recollected.
Never look back. Do not sleep.

Skinny little day. Shadow
under the streetlamp.
Girl slender also, girl advent.

Repeat after me. Turn
slowly to look back
to where the footprints were.

Seek brevity. Don't look down.
There are some evolving stones.
The sky? There is no sky

only the task ahead.
Ahead, the easily erased.
Repeat after me. Count her

astonishing steps, feet
in snow, feet in clouds.
Do not look up.

Cold ricochets a blistered void.
We're in the ghost field now
driven across the drain bed

into the bowl of a spoon.
Things collect. Drops, etc.
blown into images, pink and red.

Don't look away. Do not sleep.
Repeat after me. Never let
her hand touch your mouth.

HARBOR SONG

The long elation of our candor collapses in a small yard.

Backwoods, incessant beats. Backwoods, the very nerve of fidelity.

But say something else. Say the graphic doodles

our condition into froth in the arguing hills over there.

The days perish, wanting simplest ties.

And the flexible branch lifts and falls, a kind of wave.

Sooner or later we will enter Abraham's drum

and the wet slide of his hair

will abolish our simple roomlike conditions.

The invisible slope will drain into drops

while Abraham beats and beats his forgiving set.

Are the ancient songs contested? Are we too long

in the cave, on the island, in an insular, petty drift?

Questions are stained cups. The heart skips a beat.

Abraham wanders off in a mood of melancholy triumph.

The others, his mistresses, huddle on the floor.

His mistresses are part of the inventoried world:

they can be counted, they can be sent away

to join others, parts of others, they can be treated

like sentences in the inventoried world. See?

Their rush of silver and skin,

their elastic torsos bending,

their sonic reverb, gaping mouths.

Soon, they will become an incandescent spray

that Abraham will arrange in the harbor.

Do not shut the windows. The sounds from the sea

are important. They resemble notes, or drops.

Abraham resembles Abraham but is not Abraham.

to Abraham Gomez-Delgado

BASEMENT TAPE

Now comes

as a vanishing

so be it         a vanishing

not political the day was not political

although misery of exception although

there are those soon to be

disappeared

massive injunction

in the little dialogues with

the held

all so

inconsequential among

a   starved

among a twilight.

The sexual apricot depresses me.

Come forward little migrant

orange emblem.

Come into the iterated

without a face, but, yet, with

a pit.

Glorious pit.

Glorious structure of inner abatement.

O give it up!

Give up the image!

Give up the announcement of the image!

Give up the spectacle!

Give up the announcement of the spectacle!

Give up the thing and its image and its spectacle!

As we were saying by the unlit fire one night, as we were saying.

And the swimmer—you know the one I mean—his torso!

Like a ship!

UNDER THE SIGN

Having dreamed of my dead sister
raging with urgent

need, she
conducting us through intolerable

passages, now forgotten, I
have burned my right hand

after sunset
small dark clouds above

the river I cannot see
while listening to

a scratched CD of a Haydn
piano sonata so that

certain passages
rapidly repeat

and having spent some moments
thinking of the vision

that accommodates
all that is unforeseen

as the world now
becomes without sequence.

BOOK: Under the Sign
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