To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sam Truitt: Two Poems (Improvisations) from Vertical Elegies 6: Street Mete

tuesday, august 10, 1998

the wells at the mouth of itza

the sun is an orange chasm we are plunging     the jungle a flow a single unifying key     continual earth crying storm     transcription of lightening on water spout     a column of stone     we are ever alone     the jungle's drooling thicket the edge of the clearing left toilet paper purple flowers blue flowers crimson flowers and so i have come to nothing banging a drum     beyond a road divides underground between power failures jerking what the land goes up from    there is a stone angle platforms the earth pushing upward the land grizzled     attitude disappears     the sky disappears     only the door into it remains     a phallus     someone is singing hacking at earth with scythe     scale does not matter     we do not matter     time doesn't matter though all is drawn in it     though everything is yellow flowers     faces shine inwardly building against them     silence is nothing     underground river     do not believe anything     you will die     it is these splinters 10 levels to the sky     where the clouds lie     the stones are teeth       there are no people     no place without a face     strangled in geometry     always the sheath     there is a god at the top of the stairs     there is one level     the stones are not teeth     this is not a mouth     this is not a world it has swallowed     dispersion of trees     a man sits alone under one     a thousand butterflies fling themselves     one stone     one world     one block of ice under the sun 4 interjects     like a knife     already nothing is left to go inside and die inside     feather     ochre sky     truth     ready now where few describe what is incised flame in debris     the shattered abacus     here we felt     place your hand in your mouth     terraces of mass and moss nobody is home to tell us how are you and not to know but be and not to answer the question we are not enough to figure here fiercer than water     space that has no face to say what we feel blood drying some     not to climb but to be climbed     take all the figures out     is this how it is really kind of crooked?      to leave the road in the ruin     you are here     fresh oaks grass roots roofs     pillars     the pillars      years     the years     what is above and what is below     pillars trees time laid on its side     shadows     we have left nothing     hide discus in diamond shape     a god sat here     if we had one thought they have left it     always the face in the sun the disc of     human whistling in the jungle     terror is nothing     the moment observes walls that fill the space between the columns    sky god emerging from the mouth of a serpent higher than they are wide here that dug to live among columns the knotting of the ears alongside the planet venus morning star an offering consisting of the skull of a decapitated man found in the eastern stairwell     this is what we found     we found we could do nothing     a hawk swings above     square pyramid hiding circle of construction     there is a circle outside     guts her whole     roots with no tree     body with no heart     an iguana     rooms    square holes     breathe     jungle     peaked stone     chambers     passages     ways through     to bring it the darkness through you in a chain of syllables      no place without a face     nothing to go through     there is no way out     we must remember who we are     there is no place to stand     jaguar behind steel cage     cannot stay     we cannot leave

march 1999

disorder at the border

—for CH


amid the rain and sunshine the ghoul     bands of light and shadow gather on the wall     considerably the man     come in out of a box     on window sill     but then to come on the hexagonal fort     wet     through the woman in steps taking many times to wipe our feet on the ledge     we are only taking up what was left off     laboring up the hill we have come to     note transitions, patterns of life between neighborhoods     little overlaps start as a point      scroll of smoke     take your foot back and place it     forever pigeons wheel     short breath long breath short     breath short breath short breath     bet against the sunrise and you will lose      colder today shorter     like crushed rock     and the palaces of eternal space     a shout heard in the forest     can there be others or only one     position     periods of ice periods of calm     the earth basks as we hasten through the shower     worst of it over and above us     to take a small problem and dissect it     coming to terms with polyp     red dye along an in-seam     galaxies are being born     something in us     halting in the stairwell to pick up a curious object     in the mirror     forward skimming over the pool     holly began to climb out of her     his cock rested at the lips of her cunt, touched     lifting the heavy metal once     it took 10 seconds to climb the steps of the courthouse     if you remain here i will leave     cool dead woman on a subway train


11 times the wall     periods of funk periods of calm     wrapped in a seal skin down by the river     never look back or ahead     anywhere you can make a connection     return     something to be halting before     like a yo-yo     an afternoon of sunshine     elastic     stacks of cordwood against corrugated fence     dearest cheeky i lighted this whole matchbook for you slumped over the bar looking up the bartender's nose     periods of ice periods of calm     the dream as i just dreamt     lept on a rock set out dancing     i just put what wasn't there there     and nothing is there again     etc.      but how to be really     like a golf pro     cool     in winter to remember puddles     a series of mirrors     the man with his arms vs. his eyes     crossed     in the garden waiting     letter knife inserted in rock     jesus christ! like some animal at the door     broken arm hanging down coughs     the image that he'd seen was still in his mind     a series of mirrors     a man walking the line     i can say anything now     appraise the value of things     of a sky     negate the image     let the kite go     the sky writing     remain     what     “veritable"     to see the writing before the fall     triangular message in the 8-ball floating     up like van gogh

[note.  The work above is part of Truitt’s ongoing project, an exploration of voice & mind in process, walking through different landscapes with voice recorder & camera, to create something akin to what David Antin defined for us as “talk poems.”  The effect & the source for the effect, however, are quite different here, emerging not from memory of time past but as an immediate response to the here-&-now of what surrounds the walking/talking poet/subject.  That work, more complex than what can be shown here, appears in its latest manifestation in the publication by Station Hill of Barrytown, of which Craig Dworkin writes: “Truitt has produced a site-specific poetry triangulated between the transcript of improvised language, snapshots, and the tenuous, tremulous breath of the embodied speaker …”  And Truitt himself: “Explore what the author made of Thoreau’s saying we must be born again to speak what we can write: what it means to fly into that storm a kite.” (J.R.)]

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