G. C. Waldrep



if I could lift the cold from the dress form of this present yes
then there's a wildness we wouldn't be missing, a single revelation
spun out into series like kitchen furniture. What originates as abstraction
evolves into fluorescent pulse; in this way the transcendent
becomes useful, that is, acquires an ethical component
unlike the animals in their dull idyll.
Granted some concepts are difficult to grasp. What I can't make out
is the monogram your arrival etches in the sink's dry teething.
—But if the articulation of consent is plural?
Then we dance to supravariant tunes, self-portrait of the poet
as Deaf Man Waltzing: a terrible pun but a more elegant prospect,
not to mention less wasteful of electricity.
So let's talk blame. Last week in Ellettsville, Indiana,
I misread GUITAR LESBIANS for GUITAR LESSONS on a streetside sign.
They're out there, strumming away. My own risk in love
is that some continents will rise or fall before you say your first word.
We could all wear silk armbands to show who's chosen silence.
We could stand very near water and pretend to be bridges,
then others would spraypaint news of their own affections on our thighs
in bright colors. You think I'm joking. But in my dreams
someone is always cutting the bolts from my back.
Try imagining the theoretical as a succession of indigenous archetypes:
predestination, evolution, relativity :: ram, salamander, jackal.
This is the phylum of subjectivity, the genus of cohesion.
After the twenty-fourth dimension our own alphabet's exhausted;
beyond that—pictographs, ideograms, every horseshoe crab that scuttles
could be a proposition by Augustine or the unquiet shade
of that blender we junked last fall. Seriously,
I demand a ghost for each machine, I proclaim the acceptable year
of the small power tool. Where's Arthur Murray when I need him?
Wait, it's still a bright spring morning here in Pangaea.
We'll trip the heavy fantastic—watch out for my buttress, don't scuff the linoleum.
You say: He believed large fictions about himself and extended them onto paper.
I say: Infidelity—for now, buzz of an unseen fly.



Be not ungenerous with the mind's Zeus, its cake of salt
and net threaded against delay's languor, emplumed,
paddle-footed skirling the surface of the lake
the body makes. There's grace in this habitat, a buoyancy
bound less by media than intent, indiscriminate hunger
so pure the crusts it's thrown yet go down dry.
Even violence has a purpose here, the latch and then the hybrid,
exemplary reproach—resplendent—an entity
so near to us we clear the space between dress and thigh,
between knife and throat, French-curved path back to first connection
without reference to paternal bond. Written in blood,
in the language of recursion and mineral surprise: RSVP
this casual sacrifice, replete with text drawn down
from myth to asphalt, the feast in full swing—heedless—
paper napkins trampled underfoot, each inscribed
with its cocktail legend. Decorous. Or slipped
into pockets and purses as keepsakes, the kind of cynosure
the god himself resented and rejected, cathexis evident
and suitable for framing. We can't resist its lure—
the aesthetic concentration—three steps closer and the pattern
resolves into lace of brushwork, each lexical ridge
casting finical shadow, small and precise.
In such moments it's consequence we curse, not choice
while on the bank our wish at its most ungainly
hobbles toward a night's rest no less sweet for all its piercing hiss
and zealous hygiene. Pledged to fidelity we lower the blade,
fan out into brake and tangle for what we hope
has caught there, crepitant, rustling. No longer giving thought to flight,
pulse rather; abdicating no high office, no pedigree.
For we are honorable men. Appealing to our advocate.
Wanting only to make the real more real.



The puns are unforgivable, I know. But I have decided to start calling them either "paragrams" or "carriwitchets" instead.

As for the rest: I was for many years a member of an Amish church and was once on the verge of church discipline for suggesting that certain instruments, most notably photocopiers, were in fact capable of demonic possession. I most certainly do demand a ghost for each machine, and nightly.


The swan in question is presumably either Brigit Kelly's or Roald Dahl's, on loan. The party favors and the mene, mene, tekel's have long been scrubbed away. Abraham is still looking for his Isaac (as Brecht for his Beckett). Eugene Jolas: "We are still on the threshold to the discovery of an authentic language of the dream."