Steven Timm


Teacher says they’re different.
There’s a & b,
then c & d.
Says describe it.
A train is coming
but I am not late
though wires to the radio
have lain a year & more
where the feet go. It is
something beyond beautiful
when go is belong
not go. Where
do I go
we ask when we want to stop. No radio
the car’s running. If I gasp
with no one in here
with me
will I hear it & if I hear
it will I know it & if
I know it will
I go. The
crossingrail lifts
at some modest remove from genius
so and or but
I can go on
stopping stop going


Coming to a language so
late in life di
fficult I
made that up. After
all--the 2
must be most
hideous unallowable
words in this
most etc.
idea in
any. I feel you want
who ever
are. Difficult
yes as frog mud. Any
waking. To get past
the zees in Zanzibar.


"Teacher says" arose out of a Buddhism course my wife had-4 somethings which seemed to fall into pairs of to-be-described-in-homework similars. The train is in this poem making a return appearance. The radio wires still lie on the floor of our car.

"Coming to a language" arose out of my work as a university ESL teacher.

These poems are from a section, "De/term/st/ination," of a longer work called _Tome S/p/lice_, which began by exploring a/some/is-there-one/not- god-the experience of that slashy compound. Though not in these two, slashes abound-choices for readers to make. As if I cannot.