Untitled [Is is]

Is is.

There is no distinction between ideology and image.


He records his name on a gold medallion.


The philosopher must say is.

The world is legion.

The self is a suffering form.

Is is.

Waves rise and fall, but the sea remains.

Burial Practice

Then the pulse.
Then a pause.
Then twilight in a box.
Dusk underfoot.
Then generations.


Then the same war by a different name.
Wine splashing in a bucket.
The erection, the era.
Then exit Reason.
Then sadness without reason.
Then the removal of the ceiling by hand.


Then pages & pages of numbers.
Then the page with the faint green stain.
Then the page on which Prince Theodore, gravely wounded, is thrown onto a wagon.
Then the page on which Masha weds somebody else.
Then the page that turns to the story of somebody else.
Then the page scribbled in dactyls.
Then the page which begins Exit Angel.
Then the page wrapped around a dead fish.
Then the page where the serfs reach the ocean.
Then a nap.
Then the peg.
Then the page with the curious helmet.
Then the page on which millet is ground.
Then the death of Ursula.
Then the stone page they raised over her head.
Then the page made of grass which goes on.


Exit Beauty.


Then the page someone folded to mark her place.
Then the page on which nothing happens.
The page after this page.

Then the transcript.
Knocking within.

Interpretation, then harvest.


Exit Want.
Then a love story.

Then a trip to the ruins.
Then & only then the violet agenda.

Then hope without reason.
Then the construction of an underground passage between us.

Winter Term XV, from Underworld Lit

Admittedly I may be blowing my <6 mm mole somewhat
out of proportion in the general scheme of things. At my
last follow-up, Dr. Song gently reminded me that we
entered the “catabasis” phase of my journey through
dermatological oncology some time ago. 

Cata-, from the ancient Greek κατά, or downward, prefixed
to the intransitive form of the verbal stem baínō, to go. It
means a trip to the coast, a military retreat, an endless
windstorm over the Antarctic plateau, or the sadness
experienced by some men at a certain point in their lives. 

In a clinical context, the term may also refer to the decline
or remission of a disease. So why do I still feel a ghostly
pinprick along the crease of my arm where the needle went
in before I went under? I suspect that I am not quite out of
the woods yet. Then again, maybe the woods have yet to
exit me.

Fall Term (V)

I promised my wife that I would call Dr. Song today. After putting Mira down for her nap and slipping outside for a smoke, I lifted the receiver. The sound it emitted, which I have heard without pause countless times before, seemed to me otherworldly now, like somebody’s finger playing on the wet rim of a crystal bowl in a derelict theater before the wars.

It’s hard to say how long I stood there listening. It may have been seconds or seasons. The rings of Saturn kept turning in their groove. For reasons beyond me—our seminar had already moved on from late medieval Europe to developing world underworlds—I dialed 1-800-INFERNO, and before the first ring, a woman’s voice answered in heavily accented English.

“Is it you?”

“I think so,” I replied. Outside, the honey locusts sprinkled their pale spinning leaves in real time. Focusing on one as it fell seemed to slow the general descent.

“Oh creature, gracious and good,” the faraway lady recited, as if reading, against her will, from a prepared text, “traversing the dusky element to visit us / who stained the world with blood.” I could hear rain trickling in a gutter spout on the other end of the line.

“Please,” I said into the receiver, “remove my name from your list.”