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Andrew Joron

Andrew Joron is the author of the poetry collections The Absolute Letter (Flood Editions, 2017), Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems (City Lights Publishers, 2010), The Sound Mirror (Flood Editions, 2008), Fathom (Black Square Editions, 2003), and The Removes (Hard Press, 1999). He teaches creative writing at San Francisco State University in California.

By This Poet


Spine to Spin, Spoke to Speak

The pilot alone knows
That the plot is missing its

Why isn't this "ominous science" 
   itself afraid, a frayed

Pray, protagonist —
Prey to this series of staggered instants.

Here the optic 
Paints its hole, its self-consuming moment.
It is speech, dispelled, that 
   begs to begin to ache.

So that wind accelerates to wound, a dead sound
   enlivened by the visitation of owls.

As pallid as parallel, the cry
Of the negative is not the negative 
   of the cry — an irreparable blessing —

A green world's 
   "sibilant shadows" where
The syllables of your name are growing younger.

As involuntary as involuted, "who"   
   returns its noun 
   to each tender branch
That noon breaks into no one.

Point of view
Hovers, a circular cloud, over evacuated

That heard its herd bellow below
   the terraced cities, the milled millions

   as sold as unsouled, ghost-cargos. 

A symptom of the Maddening —
Woman undressed of her flesh. 
Man's address
   to Thou, & the flag of Thou.

How the fallen state
Meets the starry horizon, veil 
   against witness, hunger against void.

O, oldest 
   outermost Other —

Ageing mask 
Of the transparent Earth. Unspeculated
Streaked with mirror & stricken words.

You are neither the torn, nor the thorn.

You are the many-petalled
   melting point of repeating decimals. . .

Receiver, river
Has been burned into voice, a day-dark ribbon.
All signal is this 


Across the stiffening pond, your steps
        send broken branching signals
Faultless as some harp-tuning 
        dedicated to silence: each note
Carries an interior candle of dissonance
        the dark calendar
Marked by a sequence of frozen suns

There is a season deeper than winter
Passing in these 
        tree-diagrams, & mechanisms 
Of common speech

Sleeping under the solstice, you may suffer
Recurrent dreams 
        as the wreckage returns its image

The harp
        a pelvic bone, turns in your hands

But failing (you—the player
Of a misshapen instrument) 
        to complete the world's anatomy

(That story was told in deafening peals) 
        or even to mimic this

Weather's argument-in-whispers, its subtle

"Let waters once chaotic
        assume the form of a rigid plane"

        understanding things
        are furious in their motionlessness

If the laws that govern awakening
Come to resemble a city of blue spires

        you will not awaken soon

A = A

Mine to ask a mask to say, A is not A.

No one, ever the contrarian, to answer.

The moon is both divided & multiplied

        by water: as chance, as the plural of chant.

O diver, to be sea-surrounded by a thought bled white—

        a blankness as likely as blackness.

What is the word for getting words & forgetting?

Might night right sight?

I, too late to relate

        I & I, trap light in sound

& sing no thing that breath can bring.