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, March 21, 2019

Rae Armantrout: Four New Poems 2019

            LET IT GO


“Let it go,” they say, meaning whatever you were just feeling.
And the feeling before that too, if you can recall it. I don’t really distinguish
between feelings and thoughts.

When I write I am trying to recapture the shape of a thought,
though I don’t believe in ghosts.

When they say “let it go,” they may mean you should focus
on what is now before your eyes –
the growing pile of papers
on the desk, for instance, atop which
a plastic bag of colorful rubber bands
has perched.


As sleep comes,
I’m often surprised to feel
something give way

or let go,
something I didn’t know I was holding --
being held by.

When I die, will this feeling recur?
Will it seem like I’m meeting
someone I know?


Grotto of letter

grove of T’s.

Do I believe
there’s safety
in numbers,

in number?


AI spells death
to truck stops

and their gift shops
packed with lonesome



How rhythm
once defined distance –

I mean domesticated it.


Each neuron
broadcasts its call sign


until another homes in
and a synapse forms.


Woody bark
covers the shoots.   



Where is the link
between kindling
and kin?

I start with second thoughts
and work backwards

toward infantile amnesia.
In the beginning,

there was cremation. No,
in the beginning was a tandem

jiggling of fields.
I sort of liked it.

Mostly I wanted to know
what else

was in that bag –
like it was bottomless,

if I’m like you.  


It seems possible to know
that if I look out back
I will see the intense red
of the rose (lush? deep?)
not as if for the first time
but as if for the first time

and further that each
unfolding, each collapse
will bring with it,
like a booby prize
this same sense of discovery.


These streets are called arterials.

For hours
a man grimaces
at traffic

with the “merely formal

of which Kant speaks.

        THE WOUND

Wherever there is a wound,
a wound is at the center.

Should the reverse
also be true?

Is each center
a sort of wound?


The toddler points
to her bellybutton
and asks, "More?"



At the start, we discovered
the meanings
of the sounds we made

and the thunder
yelled, "No!"

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