The Luxury of Hesitation [excerpt from The Proof from Motion]

Keith Waldrop
things 
forgotten
I could


burn in hell forever


set the glass
down, our
emotion's moment


eyes vs sunlight


how removed
here, from
here


towards the unfamiliar and


frankincense forests
against the discerning light


everybody
sudden


frightful indeed, the sound of
traffic and
no appetite


the crowd


I would like to be
beautiful when
written



"Horse and Rider" by Keith Waldrop   |   Click to enlarge

More by Keith Waldrop

Light Travels

        1


        common time I follow you un-          
        kept secret on 
        a basic undersound
 






        2


        common time I follow you un-
        kept secret on 
        a basic undersound


        this is the first part of the rhyme
        allow for sequences of overheard
 






        3


        this is the first part of the rhyme
        allow for sequences of overheard


        close the curtains but
        playful elaborations of other-
        wise arrogant variations keeping
        the window open
 






        4


        close the curtains but
        playful elaborations of otherwise
        arrogant variation keeping
        the window open


        as it's wrong to shut
        one's eyes to dream
        it's raining while it is in fact raining
 






        5


        as it's wrong to shut
        one's eyes to dream it's 
        raining while it is in fact raining


        ears busied with hearing more than
        one voice the stream our tears unmirror
 






        6


        ears busied with hearing more than
        one voice the stream our tears unmirror


        or mere error as if
        naturally hard of
        divided
        noise rings in our fears
 






        7


        or mere error as if
        naturally hard of
        divided
        noise rings in our fears


        expands danger within our
        long thin hands contract 
        across quiet gravel
 






        8


        expands danger within our
        long thin hands contract 
        across quiet gravel


        narrow fruit tin cans
        loss of the white of other eyes
 






        9


        narrow fruit tin cans
        loss of the white of other eyes


        song out of mind
 






        10


        song out of mind


        or am I
        tethered
        so blind a coloring of thought
 






        11


        or am I
        tethered so
        blind a coloring of thought


        intrinsically fuzzy the sound as
        pavement
 






        12


        intrinsically fuzzy the sound as
        pavement


        whereas tenses
        are
        a later
        development
 






        13


        whereas tenses
        are
        a later
        development


        limits of a body open 
        sea the great sea 
        journey
 






        14


        limits of a body open 
        sea the great sea 
        journey


        how different the grammars of
        to think or swim







        15


        how different the grammars of
        to think or swim


        reminiscence and extinction

The Real Subject [Whir]

Do not alarm yourself, I
could not rest content with 
moral lectures and continual 
repetition

like the solar system, I
could not hold my head up, made 
endlessly to 
glow

destined for grand ceremonies, I
was much affected by finding myself so
thin and so worn
down

(we use theory
to mean it is possible to 
choose, e.g., why I am just the
size I am)

a million million, a
cool and mortifying manner — what 
governs
motions

Below the Earth

My first glance takes in 
an army, tens of thousands ready 
armed. As a mirror reflects 
indistinctly and with a feeble 
light, so it cracks and 
soon fades. From its surface a clear 
image of the beholder. 
In these paintings: harbors, promontories, 
shores, rivers, fountains, 
fanes, groves, mountains, flocks, and of 
course shepherds. Sometimes mythological 
episodes, figures of the gods, the 
battles at Troy, wanderings of Ulysses. 
Scorned in these days of bad taste. 
Now we have frescos of mon- 
strosities, candelabra supporting 
shrines, stalks with human heads. 
Malachite green, Armenian 
blue, red earths in 
abundance, vermilion like a drug.