way [excerpts]

Leslie Scalapino - 1944-2010
to have
ed still—
though not
wanting to
be serene

I was in school; the bus driver seeing a girl crossing the street hadn't stopped—she'd been hit—so the other students—the boys—would hit the side of the bus everyday

when we went around that corner—our understanding the driver—and clairvoyant

red to me


be con-
vention in
the present
by myself

I was a waitress in a restaurant of a department store—and stole a dress from the store—though it was said that most of the thieves were employees

this had been said to us in the orientation meeting

to make
a person—in
a time


to have
the same
a time

which is in another man—the sense of being aware—we were in bed, asleep. Outside the house an accident occurred. A huge trailer-truck crashed into the base of the overpass—no other cars were around

It was quiet—the cops coming and flashing their lights around the crumpled cab of the truck—a few of their words carrying to us



cial world

in it


weeping in the hall once—before being composed enough to unlock the door and go into the apartment—anyone being in this state

a boy—so it's in the past, though he'd said this about himself—on his father's sailboat

wanting to consider it his; his father jeering at him for that—it being fixed would be to free the past from myself (not necessarily it freed from him)—that would be the life of desire

driving away from the projects—the man seeing them

and so endangering the other men—their being benign—who are motionless outside; saying it wasn't known what people like this are going to do


a func-
of memory


meeting up
a person
like that


I dreamed I was to use rags though a truck came along the street taking them off. I was looking at a river from sun windows where I saw apes that were giant—my knowing it wasn't usually seen and was germane to the rags—a giant ape that was male floating submerged on his back in very blue water, hi genitals seen—floating gently as well. Some in the group stood up wearing the khaki clothes; them walking off into the town—it occurring to me, who would be interested in rags

"cruelty" to
be learned
as a
period but
from some


The thought of the construction workers—seeing them—having occurred then

later—events set in terms of chronology—which may be earlier in time, but emotionally are of a later age

that would be the age—which the boy on his father's sailboat

would be part of—and my being free therefore

—I'm out
walking by
myself—to be
like some


I had insomnia, not because of this—the birds were on the roof, walking around—though it was night; I thought birds slept at night

it occurred to me they were like me—the reverse of me though—owing to their being in that situation


a time
a reason

More by Leslie Scalapino

A Sequence

She heard the sounds of a couple having intercourse and then getting up they went into the shower so that she caught a sight of them naked before hearing the water running. The parts of their bodies which had been covered by clothes were those of leopards. During puberty her own organs and skin were not like this though when she first had intercourse with a man he removed his clothes and his organ and flesh were also a leopard's. She already felt pleasure in sexual activity and her body not resembling these adults made her come easily which also occurred when she had intercourse with another man a few months later.

When sexual unions occurred between a brother and sister they weren't savages or primitive. She had that feeling about having intercourse with men whose organs were those of leopards and hers were not. Walking somewhere after one of these episodes she was excited by it though she might not have made this comparison if she'd actually had a brother. At least the woman she had seen in the shower had a leopard's parts. In these episodes when she'd had intercourse with a man he didn't remark about her not being like that. And if women had these characteristics which she didn't it made her come more easily with him.

She overheard another couple together and happened to see them as she had the couple in the shower. The nude part of the woman was like herself and the man had the leopard's parts so that she had the same reaction and came easily with someone, as she had with a sense of other women having a leopard's traits and herself isolated. The man with whom she had intercourse did not say anything that showed he had seen a difference in her and that made her react physically. Yet other women seemed to have a leopard's characteristics except for this one she'd seen.

Again it seemed that a man with whom she had intercourse was her brother and was ardent with her—but this would not have occurred to her had she really had a brother. Yet her feeling about him was also related to her seeing a woman who was pregnant and was the only one to be so. The woman not receiving attention or remarks on the pregnancy excited her; and went together with her sense of herself coming easily and yet not being pregnant until quite awhile after this time.

She also felt that she came easily feeling herself isolated when she was pregnant since she had the sense of other women having leopards' organs. They had previously had children. She was the only one who was pregnant and again she saw a couple together, the man with leopard's parts and the woman not having these characteristics.

Again she could come since her body was different from the adult who had some parts that were leopards, and having the sense of the women having had children earlier than her and their not having younger children now.

Her liking the other women to have had children when she was pregnant had to do with having them there and herself isolated—and yet people not saying much about or responding to the pregnancy. She thought of the man coming as when she caught a sight of the couple together—being able to come with someone a different time because she had a sense of a woman she'd seen having had her children earlier. There being a difference of age, even ten years, between a child she'd have and those the other women had had.

She happened to see some men who were undressed, as if they were boys—one of them had the features and organ of a leopard and the others did not. The difference in this case gave her the sense of them being boys, all of them rather than those who didn't have leopards' characteristics and this made her come easily with someone.

It was not a feeling of their being a younger age, since the men were her own age, and she found the men who lacked the leopard features to be as attractive as the one who had those features. She had the feeling of them as adults and her the same age as them, yet had the other feeling as well in order for her to come then.

She saw a couple who were entwined together and her feeling about them came from the earlier episode of seeing the men who were nude and having the sense of them being adolescent boys. Really she'd had the sense of the men she'd seen as being adults and herself the same age as them. The couple she watched were also around the same age as herself—the man being aware of someone else's presence after a time and coming. The woman pleased then though she had not come. She had intercourse with the man who had the features and organ of a leopard and whom she had first seen with the group of men who lacked these characteristics. The other men were attractive as he was. Yet having the sense of the difference between him and the others, she found it pleasant for him to come and for her not to come that time. The same thing occurred on another occasion with him.

She compared the man to plants, to the plants having a nervous aspect and being motionless. The man coming when he had the sense of being delayed in leaving—as if being slowed down had made him come and was exciting, and it was during the afternoon with people walking around. He was late and had to go somewhere, and came, with a feeling of delay and retarding—rather than out of nervousness.

that they were at the beach [excerpt]

Playing ball—so it's like paradise, not because it's in the past, we're on a field; we are creamed by the girls who get together on the other team. They're nubile, but in age they're thirteen or so—so they're strong

(No one knows each other, aligning according to race as it happens, the color of the girls, and our being creamed in the foreground—as part of it's being that—the net is behind us).

A microcosm, but it's of girls—who were far down on the field, in another situation of playing ball—so it was an instance of the main world though they're nubile but are in age thirteen or so.

My being creamed in the foreground—so it's outside of that—by a girl who runs into me, I returned to the gym.

It's in the past—yet is repressed in terms of the situation itself, poor people who're working, the division is by color. We're not allowed to leave the airport on arriving—others not permitted to stop over—we're immature in age, so it's inverted.

(Therefore receded—we get on the bus going to the city and look around, seeing people dressed shabbily).

A man—I was immature in age—was a stowaway so not having been active, taken from the ship we're on in a row boat.


(A sailor had fallen out of the row boat then, was embarrassed. So it's like paradise—the embarrassment, therefore it's depressed—seen by his waving at us as the other sailors are coming to him).

The class period endinng—it's evanescence not because it's in the past, they'd stamped their feet while seated since the teacher hadn't been able to discipline them. She's old—the red hair coloring had been mocked—they're inactive.

(So it's evanescent because they're inactive. Though I am as well. She'd asked me to pull on her hair to indicate it was her real hair, which I do—them being unaware of this—as the class is disbanding, composed of girls and boys).

It is also an instance in the past, so it's depressed—yet the people on the bus aren't nubile, rather are mature.

We're girls—have to urinate which is unrelated to immaturity—refusing to do so in front of others; we require the bus to leave us. Therefore there aren't other people, we urinate, and then look around.

(So it's inactive—is depressed).

Tall, though they are nubile—playing leap frog is out of place; we're required to do so. It's contemporary in time so it's not depressed—I was immature, thirteen in age or so; responding to the other girls kicking as they jumped over some of us.

(So it's not depressed—but not as being active. I'm creamed, until the crowd of girls is pulled off by an instructor who's in the gym).

Attending a funeral—it's contemporary in time, not being in itself depressed; taking a ridiculous aspect—birds that sing loudly in the chapel where the funeral service is being held. The birds are mechanical—so it's being creamed.

(Like in the earlier episode of playing ball. Our being creamed in the foreground of the field by the other girls).

A microcosm, but it's of sailors—though I'm given attention standing in pictures with one or two of the men. They've come into a port at one time—I'm immature in age—it doesn't occur for that reason but is inverted, the sailors flirted with girls.

(Which is contemporary in time therefore. And being mechanical since I'm interested in the sailors, then merely interest).

A boy who was actually at the funeral—so it's inverted—was later playing ball, really occurring.

(Inverted also because of being at the funeral, mechanical birds part of it; so it isn't creamed in the future—not because of that).

The boy who was actually at the funeral—corresponds to work as a chimney sweep which I had for a short time—is inverted

(I didn't take the job seriously since it was in the past—I was supposed to do it awhile, was contemporary. So it's related to the boy; I got sick from the soot—so my leaving after working only two days stemmed from that).

Someone else driving—the funeral having taken place—is getting speeding tickets, with us in the car—we're older than he

So we don't say anything because we're older. Not about the police stopping him, the drive is several hundred miles at night—which is like him later going below the border


Him not being sentient

A man whoring—it's from the standpoint of a girl, is a situation of trying to finance going below the border to whore and staying down there as long as he can before having to return to get some job.

(It's a microcosm, is also inverted—not retroactive).

Related Poems

The Descent of Alette ["I stood waiting"]

"I stood waiting" "for some minutes" "in this very" "alive darkness—"
"the air so vibrant," "the trees awake" "There were flowers," "mixed
grasses," "growing lower" "in the dark," "& I was relieved" "to be
near them" "after so much time" "where nothing grew" "Then" "I heard a

song" "faint & blurred," "a slow song" "I heard it" "as if through
walls" "As if" "there were a room" "next to where I stood" "& someone,"
"a man," "sang inside of it" "The tune was sad," "& attracting"
"I approached it—" "where its source seemed to be—" "& it moved away

from me" "just a" "short distance" "This happened twice" "Then I
understood" "I was to follow it:" "& so it led me—" "through deep
woods" "& clearings," "for" "a long while" "The voice sang" "the
same melody" "over" "& over" "mournful" "& intimate" "in a language"

"I didn't recognize—" "or didn't think I did:" "it was hard to" "hear
the words—" "Till at last we" "reached a meadow" "where the song"
"ceased to sound," "pale & empty" "with trees around it" "Then I
sank to" "the ground" "& fell asleep for" "a long time" "But when I

awoke" "of course" "it was dark"