Hotel Couplets

It was a clandestine winter of television;
We were so tired of the fashion blogs.

The moist world was doing what it could
To think at pinkish dusk.

I say this from the position of having already been emptied
That summer I heard the chora in the beergarden.

Vitality, monstrosity, sociability, anarchy—these are standing in for a kind of sensing that hasn’t happened yet.
There’s a slicing rain horizontally striping the train window.

If ornamentation can be austere
It’s a form of brutality.

I started asking questions about the sculptural values that sound has
And how authority is installed.

Describe the silence there. It’s a recording of silence
A marbling or breathing through

Of sentences coarse, heavy, and blistered
About things that weakened.

By 1650, with her outdated ruffs and loyalties, her pipes, her horses and her Roman histories
I was an overheard language. I lay down in it with my own nerves and blood.

Each has the pleasure of a new proportion.
It can’t be solved, only articulated.

Your wind, your clean sky, places, food, sleep
It all agrees brilliantly with the shape of the earth.

In this attic room with the deep blue carpet and skylight
Imagining these small actions from my chair fills me with an even calmer happiness.

I was the flexible medium of the future and the impossibility of beginning.
I was longing for the visible.

I wanted it to be real kissing, softer than god.
Thirty seconds of weightlessness as one’s inner life.

Oh breast-bone and guts
My heart’s all over my body.

Charis is the graciousness 
The discretion outside effort.

Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Robertson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 2, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.