[Table of Contents]



G C Waldrep



Suggest an ordinance
outside wedding.
Let's troop there.
Marriage fasts
in tight, blind rows.
You can furnish
any wood
with thumbs, just try.
A meager spin.
Hope the agent oils.
Was the light
a difference, then.
An increase blessed.
Coldly the step
of happen happening.
The crown it wakes.
Did you labor,
did you amaze:  yes.
A silk valve
in slack bursts.
In which to study.
All languages calm
as refuge.
Oppose stutter,
the street merchants
limp in their gauds.
steers, why not let it.
Why not a bronze
house steaming.
White shining sash.
Oh where
is the red success.
Is it suffering.
Is it the planed sill.
Rest Lazarus rest.
Where the light bore.
Voices obliging.
Ash.  Silence.
All precious comings.



What do witnesses
cut, a common pledge.
A flight wavers.
Ospreys tumbling,
who needs to change.
Zinc, not in
any intentional way.
The slit quakes.
The river splays
its ecumenical muscle.
Mend lightly.
Whom you know
you know, the solstice
is mathematical
& therefore continent.
I retraced my steps.
all the stars discretely.
They lay in rows.
Fear corrects habit.
A slice remonstrates.
You know
the white birds
at evening sequester.
A nerve charges
its low rent, absolute.
Blanch the church
& then anoint.
Almost final.  Almost
a king.  A rudder sunk
deep in the holy
where migrants pass.
as in dog-rose,
A gold ruches them.
Enter the long noun
as one would
a quarrel, a passion.
What is that
on the hem of your
almost.  Is it a prow.



We sang twice there.
Regrettably feelings
arose.  Glory extends
into suffering.
Surely the flowers
needed changing.
Surely I was
a worker, surely I
was one who worked.
Questions asked,
questions answered.
You could pause
inside them
as beneath bowers.
Matter greeting
matter there, a kiss.
We neither
protected nor starved.
What was stated
in a home, my home.
You could put
your hand through it.
We were together.
The younger ones
not remembering
the elders being
present there was
no need for memory.
Now the elders
being present
we remember again.
I reassured
the firmament.
We shared a breath.
Astonish me
again, republic.
With your brutish
plums, your pears,
the dense snouts
of your orchards.
Smoke rising
from a principle,
a boastful stranger.
Would you succor.
& I said yes.
Yes I would succor.
They released me.
We held a feast.
How heavy it felt.
I memorized
as much astronomy
as I could
from those texts.
The open door
that is narrative,
that celestial light.
We herded through.
Origins spite,
it's true.
But like lions
we held our peace.
Like lions we
gathered weapons
where they often lay.



Seize the real is what
children sing.
Let wash tubs fill.
It's a tremendous eye.
A feather found
on the banks, a wand.
Readily in service.
A brink for October.
As brief as that?
Yes, as brief as that.
An armistice expires.
Would you polish
your expenditures,
please, in triplicate.
A warm report
from inside presidents.
Battle again.
Pledge & revolve.
Golden seal
the weather breaks
Light frost, a cincture.
Duly admonished.
The audible lesion
in turn.  By whom.
By some rich riser.
Condign to vesper,
among the hellebores.
Would you please
a hearty repast.
& solved for excess.
Milk, both blue
& pure, what blame
merits. Wave
as both light & hem.
Such do tailors
charge.  Ghosts
& partisans.  But like
a god watching.
In deep surround.
At compact variance.
Harmony, a word.
Driven into the nib.
An ambulance
surges.  Applaud
extravagance applaud.
Let us forgive one
another our clarities.
Tier of blades
under oath lightly.
Prepped for squander.




Wholes bleat.
What does one nation
want, two nations.
Strung from branches
drying like the silk
of nouns.  Defer
lament.  Pears
appear, they plush
& proctor.  Gratitude
manifests, it likes
the wholes, bleating
in the lame sun.
Glass has a tongue,
yes; a noun defaces it.
Might a nation
predict, & to whom.
Might a nation rest.
A silhouette
of another kind
in the parlor, dank
gilt.  Nation to nation
carefully drawn
into its dark bottle
where night suffers.
Sit sharply.
You are in fact
much obliged.
A sentence, arrested.
Further, by action
all medicines
perform arithmetic.
Neither speck
nor dowager,
a membrane
nations slip inside.
A painting maybe.
A willing fuel.
Whose new moon
monarchs falsify.
Progress introjects.
Sweet lily,
sweet lily-harvest.
There exists
no quieter condition
than nations
calming nations.
Move among
them, bright fables.




These poems are excerpts from a cycle, "Kingdom," that draws on the life, and occasional snippets of the words, of George Rapp (1757-1847), the founder of the Harmony Society, one of 19th-century America's better-known and most successful utopian communities.  Rapp and his followers emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1804-05, settling successively in Pennsylvania and Indiana before consolidating at Economy village on the Ohio River west of Pittsburgh.

Rapp's philosophy-theology was a mix of grassroots German Pietism, Jakob Böhme, and nascent German Romanticism.  Some poems take aspects of Harmonist belief and daily life as points of departure, for instance their regionally noteworthy 4th of July celebrations, their carefully-documented kitchen gardens, the community's complex well-and-water system, Rapp's abiding interest in alchemy (following Böhme), and Rapp's trials for heresy in Germany.  There are also a few nods to Gertrude Stein, who as it turns out was also familiar with Böhme.