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

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Rochelle Owens: Beloved the Aardvark, Part Two

[Rochelle Owens has been working over the last several decades on a corpus of poems in-series, while her later work, however refined, has maintained the unique power & pitch ascribed to her earlier poetry by Marjorie Perloff, among others; ‘Rochelle Owens’ writing ... is sui generis. She is, in many ways, a proto-language poet, her marked ellipses, syntactic oddities, and dense and clashing verbal surfaces recalling the long poems of Bruce Andrews and Ron Silliman. But Owens is angrier, more energetic, and more assertive than most of her Language counterparts, male and female, and she presents herself as curiously non-introspective.”  Part One of Beloved the Aardvark can be found here on Poems and Poetics. (J.R.)]

Next to a wall
of concrete stands a man
covered with tattoos 

orange  yellow  green
astrological signs etched into
his skin  

tendons and nerves
drink color  his hand balled
into a fist

a fringe of drool
and blood circles the mouth
his lips move 

a secret tribal language

then he counts
the months in a year  his thumb
and forefinger moving

back and forth along a wall

‘who eat up my people as they
eat bread’


Morning to evening 
evening to morning  audible 

the rhythm  the rhythm
of spontaneous changes  sunlight/

blinking in and out

piles of sand appear 
disappear  audible  inaudible
the sound of digging

digging deeper
precise  methodical  searching
always the Aardvark

moves in circles  moves in circles
in the here and now

swaying side to side 

piles of sand appear 
disappear  work is a binding

suffer the Aardvark children        


Out of an ant hill
a waft of air  lovely the ant hill
curved like an embrace 


Rays of sunlight
penetrate the roof of your skull
warming  your back

warming your hands
and fingers holding a piece
of charcoal

drawing zigzags of
black lines  tendons  nerves 

spirals of veins pulsate 
blood in  blood out


On a concrete wall
lit up by fluorescent light
vibrating particles

shape the contours of an animal

the face of the Aardvark
is its parts  the eyes  nose
and mouth 

the cylindrical tongue

the long ears
heating to the temperature
of human skin


Pale and red
the mouth of a child eating
an apple

a montage of bite marks

your hand balled into a fist 


Press button to hear
morning to evening  evening
to morning

a  s o u n d s c a p e

of everlasting duration
evening to morning  morning
to evening

out of the digital age

a course of events
the scientific explosive realm

the twenty-first century

Press button
to hear a musical interval
in the afternoon

sipping Umbrian wine 

tearing off the wing
of a roast pigeon  a musical

evoking the rhythm 
the rhythm of spontaneous changes
Louis Armstrong’s 

“Black and Blue” 
a Bach cantata  Native American flutes
Buddhist chants  singing dolphins

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” 


You turn in
the direction of a voice
spelling out a word  
A m f a t t e h r

a voice repeating
an unknown word  motionless
the Aardvark

stands listening
a voice repeating  spelling
out a word

A m f a t t e h r

made of the letters
of a noun  drawing zigzags
of black lines


a piece of charcoal
held with fingers and thumb
body of data

data of body
an animal from Africa
a member

of the mammalian order


Mounds of sand
appear  disappear  massive
the claws digging 

long ago  an hour ago 
only a minute

the universe contracts  e x p a n d s

disease  famine  torture  war

rhythmic a flow
of hormonal forces  blood in 
blood out 

disease  famine  torture  war

the Aardvark
comes out in daylight to lie
in the sun

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