Allen Edwin Butt

Then again: it is sometimes
hard to imagine
that the limbs, the chest,

the mind age
evenly. Some things are by
nature, some by art, this

differentia     the first
are messy. For example, we
can take the definitions of
a river & of pipes. In one, it all

goes smoothly to the tap, whereas
a river has those eddies
swirling backward on themselves

like epicycles in a former
artful but unhelpful kosmos.
Perhaps not "stable" water, but

a slower change: time sticks
a little: then...again. While
beneath it we discern

the nervous creep of spiderlegs
toward what is identifiably
the future. While I walk
through Spain, you

wait six hours behind me, swirling.
Then, again, the telephone. A pipe.
And it says, I erase the differences.
But we know all you have to do

to make the look of things dissolve
is look. Another example: the alcázar                
in Sevilla that I thought I saw
does not exist: the one I saw

was solid. The one that exists
is full of birds that nest
between the stones. One must

consider them a part of it,
so even the alcázar ages awkwardly,
in spurts. There is a rhythm, you

can listen for it. Until it's almost
like the days & evenings slam
coherently together, join like train-cars

& become dependable for transit.
You can get on, tickets
are affordable. You can note, on the map,
the destinations. Then. Again.






"Regarding" is part of a sequence entitled 20 Prepositions, which tries to feel out some of the possibilities and limitations of the lyric mode—letting the "I" attempt to signify a "me," not giving it absolute trust but not disrespecting it either. Throughout the sequence, the relationships between things overwhelm the things themselves, and "voices" are challenged but not dis-integrated. Other poems from 20 Prepositions have appeared in Peaches & Bats, 2River View, and ditch, and are forthcoming in Faultline.