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bending into blank interiors | by B.S. Wise
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bending into blank interiors

Letter 7

 

BY MICHAEL PALMER

  

But the buried walls and our mouths of fragments,

no us but the snow staring at us . . .

 

And you Mr. Ground-of_what, Mr. Text, Mr. Is-Was,

can you calculate the ratio between wire and window,

 

between tone and row, copula and carnival

and can you reassemble light from the future-past

 

in its parabolic nest

or recite an entire winter’s words,

 

its liberties and psuedo-elegies,

the shell of a street-car in mid-turn

 

or scattered fires in the great hall

I would say not-I here I’d say The Book of Knots

 

I’d say undertows and currents and waterspouts,

streaks of phosphorus and rivervine winds

 

Dear Z, I’d say it’s time, it’s nearly time, it’s almost, it’s

just about, it’s long

past time now time now for the vex- for the vox- for the

voices of shadows,

 

time for the prism letters, trinkets and shrouds,

for a whirl in gauzy scarves around the wrecked piazza

 

Messieurs-Dames, Meine Herren und Damen, our word-ballon,

you will note, is slowly

rising over the parched city,

 

its catacombs, hospitals and experimental gardens,

its toll-gates, ghettos and ring-roads,

 

narcoleptics and therapists and stray cats

Ladies and Gentleen, our menu for this flight,

 

due to temporary shortages,

will be an alpha-omega soup, Bactrian hump, and nun’s farts

 

As we enter the seventh sphere, you will discover a thin

layer of ice just beginning

 

to form on your limbs

Do not be alarmed, this is normal

 

You will experience difficulty breathing, this is normal

The breathing you experience is difficulty, this is normal

 

Dear Z, Should I say space

constructed of echoes, rifts, mirrors, a strange

 

year for touring the interior

Should I say double dance, Horn, axis and wheel

 

Dear A, Scuttled ships are clogging the harbors

and their cargoes lie rotting on the piers

 

Prepare executions and transfusions

Put on your latest gear

  

“Letter 7” by Michael Palmer, from The Lion Bridge Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

 

Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)

  

^ ^ ^ ^ . ^ ^ ^ ^

 

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Taken on February 5, 2010