Aaron Plasek


not saying you split the parents
but you were present. not the axe
in the tree but the air filling
                                        the cleft.
can't even go to a bar
without you touching my thigh
through my front pocket
persistent as a boy's hand on the small
of a girl's back.



eating? i say
with a c h you say

oh i say
did you get the picture i sent you say

it was taken after new years you say
i can tell because of my earrings

i noticed them too i say
a strand of pearls on each ear

they are diamonds you say
oh i say

you hang up
i thump thump thump the bed down stairs & into street

i unparallel park
drive over bed repeatedly

open trunk take out red can
pour its contents onto torn mattress matter

do you have any cigs i say
yeah man-walking-dog says

he takes a cig lights it
hands it to me says nice night

yes i say flinging the cig onto mattress
but new york is terrible for stargazing

i walk inside then the cat
meets me at the door i kick it

the photograph image is

the earrings have spheres too small to be pearl
too smooth to be diamond

are stars
leaking from your head


To You Who Appear in DIAGRAM:

When growing despondent at what my ambition plans and my skills obliterate, I turn to the letters, the book reviews, prefaces, postscripts, and other such minutae of writers I admire. I do this frequently. I reread Jack Spicer's Admonitions several times in preparation to write this note. My efforts are insignificant beside the enormity of the tasks I have assigned myself. As I mature, I become increasingly aware of the vanishingly small possibility of success in grand endeavors, and more cognizant that my current sacrifices may not make any difference.

I open my window. The air is warm and humid, and although I cannot see the lake from here, I imagine that there is a small crowd gathered on the white shore, splashing water, wearing sandals and brightly colored bathing suits; Frisbees and kites dot the landscape. Trite, yes, and why not be there? Get out of this stuffy room. I begin to look for what is easy, what will cut my losses to a minimum and allow me to save face, avoid genuine failure, avoid even the simple failure of the clichéd description of the beach. Then I read the correspondences, the notes, the peripheral words of those whose writing I love and I am shocked by the courage and endurance they display by remaining attentive; these people do not flinch or seek escape when faced with difficulty that threatens to envelope them. The above poems may be failures, but they are failures worth having.

Commenting on poetry, like the exercise of torture, is hazardous to the individual engaged in the practice and to victims of such. From both torture and criticism the object of inspection usually ends up worse off. The poet risks believing his (forgive the pronoun) explanations and after-the-fact logics that appear more purposeful and definite than they are, and the readers risk being duped to follow the author's example.