Poetry and Other Artifacts

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Burnt

lcmt

Who has lived a life interrupted
by fire? Joining that company of salt
wives, I cannot look back or step forward.
Reconcile me, please, to this interim
shelf. Soon enough, a life divided
by cataclysms will resume.

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Asemic writing (Hotel Frieze #14)

lcmt


Click for larger image

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clothesline

lcmt

twill your bony cloudeds, crenellate
your wisplikes, reharmonize your
shirtmarkers, colorized to lime
eclipsed in a laundressed
perturbation, draped
unfurled

nosedive
blithely, enplaned
into quilts cottoning
up a willow pattern

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Community Property

lcmt

Comply with her carpetbagged hemming-stitch,
then seclude him rollickingly
—as if he kicked brimful and absolute among the hominidae
—as if her secureness accumulated with her longing.

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Omen Machine Jasmine

lcmt

Of omens both good
and bad in Malabar
the following list
is given by Mr Logan:

Good are crows, pigeons, etc.,
and beasts as deer, etc.,
moving from left to right,
and dogs and jackals
moving inversely,
and other beasts found
similarly and singly;
ruddy goose, mongoose,
goat and peacock, seen
singly or in couples,
either at the right
or left.

A rainbow seen
on the right or left
or behind prognosticates
good, but the reverse
if seen in front.

Buttermilk, raw rice,
snake-gourd,
priyangu flowers,
honey, clarified butter,
red cotton juice,
antimony sulphurate,
a metal mug, bells ringing,
a lamp, a lotus, karuka grass,
raw fish, raw flesh, flour,
ripe fruits and sweetmeats,
gems and sandalwood,
elephants, pots filled
with water, a virgin,
a couple of Brahmans,
Rajas, respectable men,
a white flower,
a white yak tail,
white cloth
and a white horse.

Chank shell, a flagstaff
(but not a flag?), a turban,
a triumphal arch, a palanquin.

Fruitful soil and burning fire.

Elegant eatables or drinkables,
carts with men in them,
cows with their calves, mares,
bulls or cows with ropes
tied to their necks.

Swans and peacocks,
and cranes warbling sweetly.

Bracelets, mirrors, mustard,
any substance of white color,
the bellowing of oxen,
auspicious words,
harmonious human voices
and such same sounds
made by birds or beasts,
the uplifting of umbrellas,
hailing exclamations,
the sounds of harp and flute,
timbrel and tabor, and other
instruments of music,
the sounds of hymns
of consecration and Vedic
recitations, gentle breezes
all round at the time
of a journey.

Bad omens are men deprived
of their limbs, lame or blind,
a corpse or a wearer of cloth
put on a corpse, flowers used
for funeral ceremonies,
coconut fiber, broken
vessels, hearing words
expressive of breaking,
burning, destroying, etc.,

the alarming cry
of alas! alas!,

loud screams, loud crying
from the east, cursing,
trembling, sneezing, the sight
of a man in sorrow, the sight
of a man with a stick, the sight
of a barber, the sight of a widow.

Pepper and other pungent substances.

A snake, cat, iguana,
lizard or monkey
crossing the road,
vociferous beasts
such as jackals,
dogs and kites.
A buffalo, a donkey,
or a temple bull,
a eunuch, a ruffian,
an outcast, any
horrible figure, vomit,
excrement, stench.

Bamboo, cotton, black
grains of lead, salt,
liquor, animal hides,
grass, dirt, firewood, iron.
A cot, stool or other vehicle
carried with legs upward,
dishes, cups, etc., carried
with mouth downwards,
vessels filled with live
coals which are broken
and not burning,
ashes, a broomstick
a winnow basket,
a hatchet.


Text is from Omens and Superstitions of Southern India by Edgar Thurston
McBride, Nast & Co, 1912

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Mother

lcmt

Cold huntress.
Night descends from shadows giant between the stars,
walks invisible, deadens sound.
She comes,
ice alive in chalcedony.
Drawn by dead horses, her chariot is the moon’s wing
—flowers and suns die at her touch
—her eyes bleach all colors
into pale liars.

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Artifact

I am experimenting with printing a broadside for my poem "The Wife of History". I am using odd pieces of paper left over from other projects. I have accumulated a pile of rather nice-looking test sheets. Anybody out there want one? They are not perfect, but I will sign and number them.

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Drought

lcmt

Once we were roisterous monsters,
coarse and unchangeable, indebted
to no one, indigenous to nowhere,
incumbents to battlefields, beholders
of ghosts. All our joys were clotted
with pearls, all our griefs were denied
with stone, all our words were bald-faced
bricks, all our lanterns were fueled
with turpentine and salt.

Now this plague, this rain
of nails, this slow-moving
barrage, not as percussive
as artillery but just as sheering,
has harried our bodies into staves
and cudgels. We are needle-stemmed
and weather-marked, our backbones
burned with sloth, our skin, our bark,
gravelled with dearth. We have become

smaller,
somber,
solitary,
rooted

in dust, a few scrubby curiosities
without bounden shoals, collected
into unclosed museums.

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Cephalopods

Dark Chocolate

DiaryLand

according to a consensus
of five co-conspirators
her right eye is blue
her left eye is a match

but she knows one eye
is smaller than the other
and both are the color
of a common gray rock

flecked with oxides
thirty years have passed
since she last wore a shoe
with a broken heel

she inscribes herself
readily as owner
operator general
dogsbody of the Intaglio

Galosh Studio Press
which has neither
intaglios nor presses
nor even a lone galosh

she is a woolgatherer
a dawdler
an ignoramus
an omnivore

a deficient typist

she is nine inches long
from the inside of her elbow
to the inside of her wrist
she is legged but not

bow-legged and less
saline than most people
but that could be
a misapprehension


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