[Click here to return to the Table of Contents for DIAGRAM 6.1]


Hugh Steinberg



She says I write about obscure histories. How their dust, their unknown stories are like rich air. Which matters in how we breathe. But is pleasurable nonetheless. Say there is a man who is midway between what he is and what he will remember. Say he is drunk and these things reverse between two beers. It's not like physics. Though this is what it is made of. I will be calm while I am trying to understand. He speaks in a thick accent. There are things I do not understand completely. I try to explain how this diminishes us somehow. He says no. This is how I become stronger. I hope to have so many secrets, they will need a forklift to move my coffin.



She wonders if the whole thing will tie together. Not like a string around a package. Perhaps more like a silk cord and a strand of pearls. An interior connection, something subtle. I like that, she thinks, like listening to a record I bought ten years ago, to the dishwasher surge. Maybe it's many things happening at once. Maybe it was the calendar sliding off the wall. Or was it her first earthquake? Not like a braid, more like a knot grown tight with pulling. It's almost the new year, I need to do something with my hair. The mind wanders like a hound after a scent it's not allowed to find. That's why we tie them up. That's what she told him. Not what he believed.



These poems were written as part of a project whereI wrote a ten-line prose poem every day for a year. "Physics" dates from June 29, 1997 (when I had just moved to San Francisco and was still struggling to adjust to that city and my insane roommates) and "Bight" from December 30, 1997 (still struggling to adjust, this time with a different set of insane roommates). I plan to start the project up again in 2007, this time with my lovely wife instead of the crazy roommates.