Not Verb, but Vertigo

          —after Alejandra Pizarnik
 
 
A yellow scraping across my skin when
I write the word “sky”
 
Not sky but scything :
  	to let day be scraped out
        	 by night
 
I scratched down the word “flower” & felt
   the parts draw away from the tongue.
  	Not gnomon, grown*man, but ghost :
        	to gnaw on the crisp
                    	skin once it’s been stripped
                    	down from the meat
 
the neat meat
 
hiding under the table
of the skin’s
tablatures
 
right at the juncture where day/night meet
you can see it indicated by the perforated lines
 
what parts of us that don’t cast a shadow

More by Eleni Sikelianos

Thus, Speak the Chromograph

Saying: One night in a cloud chamber
I discovered a thing: that a thing (I used to have a crown 
of light) a thing could be more 
than True, and more again

than False, a thing 
could carry its name

with a ticket of lights 
called Possible: In a cloud chamber, particles are betrayed
by movement and water vapors

leave trails. Discovered: when matter and its antithesis come
together, a disappearing
flash of light: (our share of night to 
ear) (I mean what I say): In contempt 

of the Law of All 
Excluded Thirds: laws are not
symmetrical in the forward and the back 
(of time). On which side
are they stacked? and the sky also

(is what made Hart Crane 
so crazy in the heart) continued to pile up
clouds without account, a mass of gasses with nothing

scribbled under them; a song in the middle 

of the crystal 
cavatina. We hardly had any bones then. Did 
Hart Crane have bones? If so, which kind? And

how far down? It was written
in the boned hours, the Book of Weeds, a treatise on leaving

the house at dusk, when all buildings have already had time enough
to fit themselves back into shadows. As if there were only:

dusk-to-dusk, between dusk-and-dust
where no animals asserted themselves

as separate from the day, and the night
comes again, as it always                                                              




has done. The fact was that
I could not follow the map––because the Book

of Nature was written
in math’s un-
certain language, author of black
                                                                            
rains, why the naked
eye
unclothed
can see

between math’s limits
why 
a baby’s bones are soft
as pudding when first let out
of the water & take

a long time
to harden, you can flatten 
a newborn

’s skull by placing it
on a board, the death-hole
of the cranium takes

6 months to close

and then grow brittle

 
In describing the last
arc of the last 
circumferance: I miss(ed) that halo.

(How long it took to understand rivers

run toward the sea)

In the Airport

A man called Dad walks by
then another one does. Dad, you say
and he turns, forever turning, forever
being called. Dad, he turns, and looks
at you, bewildered, his face a moving 
wreck of skin, a gravity-bound question 
mark, a fruit ripped in two, an animal 
that can't escape the field.

Survey: Phototropes

The snow falls, picks itself up, dusts itself off
a sparrow flying like a leaf back up to its tree
The future does a backbend toward you, it's
what you can almost see, scrimmed
in the clouds which crowd the sky, elbowing, laughing

After that I see space and its influence in a bucket of spinning water
and two calcium atoms shoot forth, twinned photons traveling

back to back, arms unlaced, perfect
swimmers in the lit dusk

Where are they going?

First, to Holland, then
to calcium-kiss her bones

And in Holland the streets are made of water, the dolls & dogs gather
  round lit picnic tables like happy rags

The body is in the root cellar

When snow falls our dead gather close to our bones
because the cold's ghost has come back to haunt the cold & the body,
too, is a happy rag

Tree, take a photograph of her thought, you can do it
with photosynthesis: silhouettes of seals appear, a swarmed planet and its satellites, a
   celestial atlas that breaks when tapped (it's glass)
Some giraffes, some elephants, a lion scatter
in the clearing; in the clearing

the leaves of the world turn toward the light as do the letters of the word
the words are beautiful not for their accuracy but for their dream:
words-are-arrows that loop between no-man's-land and the wetlands, soft
flints flying toward their target

—words bird the zone—

when home was adopted as mother
area was given here
[a future of] all surface, no border

Related Poems

Stanzas in Meditation

Part I

Stanza XIII

She may count three little daisies very well
By multiplying to either six nine or fourteen
Or she can be well mentioned as twelve
Which they may like which they can like soon
Or more than ever which they wish as a button
Just as much as they arrange which they wish
Or they can attire where they need as which say
Can they call a hat or a hat a day
Made merry because it is so.

Part III

Stanza II

I think very well of Susan but I do not know her name
I think very well of Ellen but which is not the same
I think very well of Paul I tell him not to do so
I think very well of Francis Charles but do I do so
I think very well of Thomas but I do not not do so
I think very well of not very well of William
I think very well of any very well of him
I think very well of him.
It is remarkable how quickly they learn
But if they learn and it is very remarkable how quickly they learn
It makes not only but by and by
And they can not only be not here
But not there
Which after all makes no difference
After all this does not make any does not make any difference
I add added it to it.
I could rather be rather be here.

Stanza V

It is not a range of a mountain
Of average of a range of a average mountain
Nor can they of which of which of arrange
To have been not which they which
Can add a mountain to this.
Upper an add it then maintain
That if they were busy so to speak
Add it to and
It not only why they could not add ask
Or when just when more each other
There is no each other as they like
They add why then emerge an add in
It is of absolutely no importance how often they add it.

Part V

Stanza XXXVIII

Which I wish to say is this
There is no beginning to an end
But there is a beginning and an end
To beginning.
Why yes of course.
Any one can learn that north of course
Is not only north but north as north
Why were they worried.
What I wish to say is this.
Yes of course

Stanza LXIII

I wish that I had spoken only of it all.