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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Rae Armantrout: Four New Poems

Reindeer pull a sleigh
(through early spring thaw)
on the roof
of the True North
nail salon

 Signed turn-out
where tourists take snapshots
of the pipeline, elevated
on small plinths,
amid scattered birch
 Aurora's green sky
gives the mind
what it thinks
it wants: a different
nature, a new world
 And notes
of a wind chime --

dissonant, rounded --

Nabokov's "nymphets"
fleeting in place


So the problem we pose
is how to create an intelligent
and then prevent it
from destroying this world?

 "Content monitoring
that required the AI's
intentional states
to be transparent
might not be feasible
for all architectures."
 A long green straw
stuck in the ground

with two ears (leaves)

on either side
at intervals

 What we meant
by "listening stations"

and when we began
to mean this.
 Perhaps its goal would be
to have "thoughts"
pass through its "head"
so it could record them.
"Preparedness is critical."
"Kiss all hope goodbye."
"A friend wants you to like it."

Small white lights
twined around white

dead sticks
under a glass dome

flash -
like getting an idea

was the idea.
 Like thinking
I want to fall asleep,

each night coming so soon
after the last,

and hosting a string
of tedious dreams

like trying to get back
to my office

 I head
back in
to clear it

my head



What are your interests?

I'm interested in the way
creates finitude.
 Differently translated,

"in choosing itself,
existing being
closes a circuit."
 Now every sixteen seconds,
the engine will pass the brakeman
with his arm always raised
beside the empty station.


What do you want to do?

All impulses come
from the gods,
as we know,

and lead god knows where,

though each hero
has her own set
of god-given epithets,



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