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, August 1, 2019

Rochelle Owens: Beloved the Aardvark, Part Three

[The third & concluding section of Owens’s major opus]

Evolution is smart
clean  clear and simple  gaps
in the sequence of

events laid down and eroded away

hungry or thirsty
eat or drink  body of data 
data of body

audible inaudible
the rhythm the rhythm of
spontaneous change

letters spell out

o b l i t e r a t e

a jaw opens and closes

vigilant the babe sucking


On a giant computer
screen  vibrating subatomic
particles shape

the contours of a skull

and in your
mammalian brain  tendons
and nerves pulsate

craving  licking
burning chunks  rupturing flesh
cinnamon  cumin and honey

five lambs
slaughtered for the feast
carnal/spiritual                                                                                                               2              


Under an occult sky                                                                                                 
of greens and yellows the tattoo
artist bites into an apple

chewing and swallowing
moisture and nutrients flow in
the tattoo artist’s brain

seized with jittery energy

chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  a layer of skin 
the skin

a montage of bite marks 

chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  the breath blowing
kisses along the digestive tract 

spirals of veins
pulsate from mouth to rectum 
blood in  blood out

seized with jittery energy

chewing and swallowing
inhaling exhaling  drawing zigzags
of black lines

a layer of skin the skin
the canvas absorbing sunlight 
inhaling  exhaling 

drawing zigzags
of black lines  drawing a fetal skull
sprouting tooth buds

the universe
contains everything that exists 
letters that spell out                                                                                                         3

r u i n s c a p e

After waking
and lying down trust your
instinctual senses

disturbingly informative

tears  mucus 
albumen  a goat smile
on your lips

Long ago 
an hour ago  only a minute 
in the here and now

in the zone
diverging from a course
of events

spirals of wind and fire

layers of brown dust


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

and morning
to evening and evening
to morning

audible  inaudible
an unknown word  letters
that spell out

A m f a t t e h r

                *                                                                                                                 4

The bones that form                                                                                                                                                                                            
the Aardvark Venus  rays of light
penetrate your fingers                                                                                            

drawing black lines 
spirals of muscles  blood vessels
a long cylindrical tongue 

biomorphic  geomorphic 
polymorphic  corkscrews of white

slashes  slashes of solar light 


Long ago  an hour ago
only a minute  a black line
shapes itself 

an image on a rock
subatomic particles pulsate
the universe contracts

e x p a n d s


The warmest of mothers 
moves in circles  massive her claws
digging  searching

body of data  data
of body  the Aardvark Venus
her rabbitlike ears

heating to the
temperature of human skin 
a long cylindrical tongue

work is a binding obligation 

blood in  blood out
her breast vein as thick as a finger
mounds of sand appear 

lines of ants appear  disappear                                                                                             
a hissing sound

suffer the Aardvark children 
Listening to Willie Nelson                                                                                                         
you witness a lovely desert sunset
a goat smile on your lips

mounds of sand appear
disappear and morning to evening                                                                            
evening to morning                                                                                                
9 breakfasts  5 lunches  6 dinners                                                                       

white the summer blossoms 
a girl in your arms  hungry or thirsty 
eat and drink

On the wall of a cave
in the Sahara  in a zone diverging
from a course of events

disease  famine  torture  war

in a sacred refuge or a tomb

Behold!  the Aardvark Venus

luminous the overlapping
charcoal drawings  charcoal fed
with wind and fire

charcoal fed with blood and sunlight


Earth  Air  Fire  Water

hormonal forces evoke                                                                                              
the rhythm of spontaneous change                                                                           6
inhaling  exhaling

moisture and nutrients
flow through your mammalian brain
inhaling  exhaling

the universe contracts  e x p a n d s

seized with jittery energy                                                                              

inhaling  exhaling
flexing  contracting  evoking
the rhythm 

the rhythm of spontaneous change

disease  famine  torture  war

rays of light
penetrate your vulva  scrotum

illuminate your heart 
your hand cupping the little god
mounds of sand appear 

out of an ant hill curved
like an embrace

Earth  Air  Fire  Water

[author’s comment: To look at the image of an Aardvark is to take a cosmic Rorschach test, and like a cubist mural is both a microcosm and macrocosm.  You understand
Intuitively – a Cartesian resolution of body and spirit.  The poem presented here is the third of a series of poems titled ‘Beloved the Aardvark,’ related I suppose to the poem ‘
Devour Not the Elephant’ that appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics.” (Rochelle Owens). 
      And Marjorie Perloff on the unique power & pitch of Owens’ exploratory work, from the 1960s to the present: ‘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, and Part Two can be found here.]

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