Betrayal

- 1945-

I keep going back to that word
the French like it trahison the French are partly me
in micro-particular disposition I sing
I'm most fascinated by metaphysical
betrayal and its off-color quarter-tones I mean
I mean it      that a bit of matter could humiliate

another like in a beginning when of angels…
No I believe they play me like a winning king but
in a future I know already while scourged
I remember when X and Y made Ted miserable
Until he died? before he died? but that's before the
time of these poems of my emplacement in the zeros

Do you know that all history's happening at the same time
and see the future if you scry, gross matter      It is 2007
someone dear having died I am on an air-
plane to San Diego and suddenly see blue and orange geo-
metrical formations around the periphery of my vision
both eyes is this part of the poem I'm the singer of

tales of bliss and structure of the universe yet unperceived
Is it built like what I'm talking is it in
fact structured when I write Voices Ross, the dear dead
speaks to me in the kitchen to say he's happy the dead are
happy I later believe some are sad sometimes, cyc-
lically until they work it out my poems help them

that my poems help everyone that I am re-
structuring whatever this is that is everything so
that nothing's lost but placed new-pieced into a collage
of the transpired remade into a transcendental richesse
opening of graves gold light burst out: Grave of Light
gravid of light Grave Alice and laughing Allegra

ocean of chaos breaks collage of tones you know
and who I was am and will be come back to me
in an enormous betrayal by who once left heaven
all those wanting to be matter my own body
born no one can understand      born no one can com-
prehend how many possibilities we once were be-

fore anyone deceived a rock by breaking it
Ross tell me what      You got it he says and what
you've kept to yourself is cool but the Fibonacci Series
being no longer how shall we say these irrelevancies
They slide into the collage I say      Yeah he says
That on the other hand anything will do any glue

Because I was upset at your death mine eyes did break
not into tears but figments colored particles castle bat-
tlements they call them swim before me collapse
I rise again for I am everything participatory in
the earth world's illusions this is an homage to Ross
all that exists communicates cry a little, cry

betrayal that there is dying though death the other breathes

More by Alice Notley

No world is intact

No world is intact
and no one cares about you.

I leaned down over
don’t care about, I care about
	you
I leaned down over the 

world in portrayal
of carefulness, answering

something you couldn’t say.
walking or fallen and you
	were supposed
to give therapy to me—

me leaning down
brushing with painted feathers
to the left chance your operatic,
	broken

book.

At Night the States

At night the states
I forget them or I wish I was there
	 in that one under the
Stars. It smells like June in this night
	 so sweet like air.
I may have decided that the
	 States are not that tired
Or I have thought so. I have
	 thought that.

At night the states
And the world not that tired
	 of everyone
Maybe. Honey, I think that to
	 say is in 
light. Or whoever. We will
	 never
replace You. We will never re-
	 place You. But
in like a dream the floor is no
	 longer discursive
To me it doesn't please me by
	 being the vistas out my
window, do you know what
	 Of course (not) I mean?
I have no dreams of wake-
	 fulness. In
wakefulness. And so to begin.
	 (my love.)


At night the states
talk. My initial continuing contra-
	 diction
my love for you & that for me
deep down in the Purple Plant the oldest
	 dust
of it is sweetest but sates no longer
	 how I
would feel. Shirt
that shirt has been in your arms
	 And I have
that shirt is how I feel


At night the states
will you continue in this as-
	 sociation of
matters, my Dearest? down
	 the street from
where the public plaque reminds
	 that of private
loving the consequential chain
	 trail is
matters


At night the states
that it doesn't matter that I don't
	 say them, remember
them at the end of this claustro-
	 phobic the
dance, I wish I could see I wish
	 I could
dance her. At this night the states
	 say them
out there. That I am, am them
	 indefinitely so and
so wishful passive historic fated
	 and matter-
simple, matter-simple, an
	 eyeful. I wish
but I don't and little melody.
	 Sorry that these
little things don't happen any
	 more. The states
have drained their magicks
	 for I have not
seen them. Best not to tell. But
	 you
you would always remain, I
	 trust, as I will
always be alone.


At night the states
whistle. Anyone can live. I
can. I am not doing any-
	 thing doing this. I
discover I love as I figure. Wed-
	 nesday
I wanted to say something in
	 particular. I have been
where. I have seen it. The God
	 can. The people
do some more.

At night the states
I let go of, have let, don't
	 let
Some, and some, in Florida, doing.
	 What takes you so
long? I am still with you in that
	 part of the
park, and vice will continue, but
	 I'll have
a cleaning Maine. Who loses
	 these names
loses. I can't bring it up yet,
	 keeping my
opinions to herself. Everybody in
	 any room is a
smuggler. I walked fiery and
	 talked in the
stars of the automatic weapons
	 and partly for you
Which you. You know.


At night the states
have told it already. Have
	 told it. I
know it. But more that they
	 don't know, I
know it too.


At night the states
whom I do stand before in
	 judgment, I
think that they will find
	 me fair, not
that they care in fact nor do
	 I, right now
though indeed I am they and
	 we say
that not that I've
	 erred nor
lost my way though perhaps
	 they did (did
they) and now he is dead
	 but you
you are not. Yet I am this
	 one, lost
again? lost & found by one-
	 self
Who are you to dare sing to me?


At night the states
accompany me while I sit here
	 or drums
there are alwavs drums what for
	 so I
won't lose my way the name of
	 a
personality, say, not California
	 I am not
sad for you though I could be
	 I remember
climbing up a hill under tall
	 trees
getting home. I guess we
	 got home. I was
going to say that the air was
	 fair (I was
always saying something like
	 that) but
that's not it now, and that
	 that's not it
isn't it either


At night the states
dare sing to me they who seem
	 tawdry
any more I've not thought I
	 loved them, only
you it's you whom I love
the states are not good to me as
	 I am to them
though perhaps I am not
when I think of your being
	 so beautiful
but is that your beauty
	 or could it be
theirs I'm having such a
	 hard time remembering
any of their names
your being beautiful belongs
	 to nothing
I don't believe they should
	 praise you
but I seem to believe they
	 should
somehow let you go


At night the states
and when you go down to
	 Washington
witness how perfectly anything
	 in particular
sheets of thoughts what a waste
	 of sheets at
night. I remember something
	 about an
up-to-date theory of time. I
	 have my
own white rose for I have
	 done
something well but I'm not
	 clear
what it is. Weathered, perhaps
	 but that's
never done. What's done is
	 perfection.


At night the states
ride the train to Baltimore
we will try to acknowledge what was
but that's not the real mirror
	 is it? nor
is it empty, or only my eyes
	 are
Ride the car home from Washington
	 no
they are not. Ride the subway
	 home from
Pennsylvania Station. The states
	 are blind eyes
stony smooth shut in moon-
	 light. My
French is the shape of this
	 book
that means I.


At night the states
the 14 pieces. I couldn't just
walk on by. Why
aren't they beautiful enough
in a way that does not
	 beg to wring
something from a dry (wet)
	 something
Call my name


At night the states
making life, not explaining anything
but all the popular songs say call
	 my name
oh call my name, and if I call
 	 it out myself to
you, call mine out instead as our
	 poets do
will you still walk on by? I
	 have
loved you for so long. You
	 died
and on the wind they sang
	 your name to me
but you said nothing. Yet you
	 said once before
and there it is, there, but it is
	 so still.
Oh being alone I call out my
	 name
and once you did and do still in
	 a way
you do call out your name
to these states whose way is to walk
on by that's why I write too much


At night the states
whoever you love that's who you
	 love
the difference between chaos and
	 star I believe and
in that difference they believed
	 in some
funny way but that wasn't
	 what I
I believed that out of this
 	 fatigue would be
born a light, what is fatigue
there is a man whose face
	 changes continually
but I will never, something
	 I will
never with regard to it or
	 never regard
I will regard yours tomorrow
I will wear purple will I
and call my name


At night the states
you who are alive, you who are dead
when I love you alone all night and
	 that is what I do
until I could never write from your
	 being enough
I don't want that trick of making
	 it be coaxed from
the words not tonight I want it
	 coaxed from
myself but being not that. But I'd
	 feel more
comfortable about it being words
	 if it
were if that's what it were for these
	 are the
States where what words are true
	 are words
Not myself. Montana. Illinois.
	 Escondido.

The Descent of Alette ["The water" "of the river"]

"The water" "of the river" "was mild-temperatured," "the current
gentle" "I soon began" "to swim—" "in a moonless," "starless darkness"
"The sky held no clouds—" "no luminous" "spheres existed here"
"Yet the sky was" "a sky;" "for the river air" "was fresh & sweet"

"Then," "as I swam," "the others I contained—" "my companions
from the subway—" "weightlessly" "emerged from me," "looking
shadow-like," "& quickly" "solid-bodied" "began to swim with me"
"I never really" "saw their faces" "We swam quietly," "concentrating,"

"our motions almost synchronized" "In the distance sat" "small yellow
lights" "where presumably" "the other shore lay" "Partway across"
"the river," "something else, a substance," "a state of being,"
"a thick noxious" "distress" "in the form of" "a gray cloud,"

"welled up within me" "& left my body" "from a point along" "my spine"
"The cloud" "hovered near us" "& so we turned onto" "our backs to
watch it" "It was full of" "ghoulish faces," "phosphorescent" "death's
heads;" "one skull grew large" "& open-mouthed" "It had long" "glowing

hair," "screamed as if" "in terror," "then spoke" "to me:"
" 'We are dying" "You are killing us" "killing us'" "The cloud exploded"
"into greenish flame" "which was soon consumed" "by darkness"
"We turned over" "& resumed" "our swimming"

Related Poems

Problem-Not-Solving

Standing in front of the Canelleto of Venice’s “ghetto vecchio”, “ghetto”  the word for “foundry,”contemplating those arms and harms. I sit down in ghetto, I sit here in ghetto vecchio.

And metal was cast in the dream of the ghetto and metal was forged for cannons 1390 in “ur” in “pre” in the nightmare of ghetto and laboratory of ghetto a metal mentality for it takes a long harm a long arm a long hatching this mentality of force of problem-not-solving your ghetto and in the name of decree and forging a metal mentality with harming arms and where you can live under a low ceiling where you can live and problem-not-solving 5,000 in a crammed room un-dream it now of your nightmare not allowed into the light of other campos and canals your arms held in not able to reach out across a map a city divided and problem-not-solving.  Un-dream, un-dream  problem-not-solving the nightmare of ghetto or problem-not-solving your nightmare of ghetto of “ur” time of this ghetto. You want to stretch your human fleshly arms outside the walls toward campos and canals. You  want to stretch your rare fleshly arms out of here reach out of here reach out of harm’s way  towards campos and canals but you can only live here in this curfew  of “ur” time this “pre” time, before the dawn until Napoleon allows you can you can live elsewhere, o please step outside please step aside you say to  Palestine, you who were in pre-“ur” pre-dreamtime ghetto astride campos and canals. You are my problem I am not your problem grazie. And under Austrian rule come back inside ghetto and this “ur” nightmare 1797.  This “pre” dawn of “state” of arsenal. Of Palestine. Old  way back “ur”-Palestine, what of its rip and tears. Its tears and weeping its ghetto. I mark this for you I say this for you (tears and more weeping), carved in stone in metal of poem-time in scripture of 21st century winds. And then the dream of a full fledged fulltime arsenal  tears and weeping toward metal what do we do what do we have to or why have we to do air-strikes problem-not-solving 13 dead again in  ghetto Palestine when then arsenal  of problem-not-solving is long range rocket revenge toward Ashkelon no one hurt in Ashkelon 10 kilometers north of Gaza. O remember Gaza and then revenge in air strikes 13 dead in Gaza, ripped apart in Gaza and the fine elliptical gallery for women only, sit here, my dear downed dead decimated sister my one next to me in this “ur” dream nightmare of ghetto and arsenal and Palestine. Describe the body parts you sifted from the trees down from the scattered trees of Zion of Palestine. Three wells of Zion, the scattered trees of Zion, the miracles and tribulations of Zion of Palestine. The three ways to un-dream the problem. The dear dead body parts. Enter here the dream the nightmare of ghetto and the end of ghetto.
And say 3 three times:

I will not do to them what has been done to me.
   I will not do to them what has been done to me.

      I will not do to them what has been done to me.

What to do what to do as the merchant stranger Shakespeare  ghetto merchant works the Banco Rosso “real and tangible” or other side hits Sderot  with Grad rockets from Iran.  Hit with metal mentality forged in metal. Hit the word “Sderot” hit  the word “Grad” hit with harm your problem-not-solving scary alliances 4 boys between 8 and 12 dear dead body parts east of Jabaliya un-dream the dead take back the word “dead”. Not a jubilee. And more in Gaza and 2,000 in ghetto Gaza. This is the old “ur” held vision of unsolved Zion and now the guards in the nightmare that is new century inventory of the state of arsenals and the unsolved now divided Palestine building of more arsenals in the arms that harm and reach out and harm human and fleshly. I will sit here I will sit here and sound here and reach out arms human and fleshly, to ghetto to Gaza.