Featured Poem 5/29/03

thyself thy foe

bramble wending was i this stranger passing in a song whispering the sea the sea conflagrant for we singing in the garret again a gaggle shivering from loss of blood upon the floors of rooms neath nether rooms and farther floors was i racing through the house when hearing cairn stacking was he this child planning to scour messages to his enemies in the sand with hand over hand tween tendrils tenebrous above unfurling an evening of day and dark in opposite mixing might his mother no longer feign sanctity in her sanity and rant to me was she this trojan harlot who had fucked seaborne sailors for stale bread stiff wine and aegean passage grumbling laughly of galley rot and fisherman death whose denuded thighs waded against nautical countercurrents around the saltwater burning of vaginal wounds whose figure blurred in the depths of you my love this song of textual production was it that world construction we thought it was analogous to circumambulation in a tenement at dusk quietly chanting come on darkness in a russet durango motel room carving the hymn profane upon the table above exed profanity while eating olives with watery scotch where language would i remember language when now like before in our forward once more trying to write the hypothetical ancestor of the fall or the sequacious hierdom to these motley idiolects all something which must be overcome and come what may when not knowing with negative capability in the dark proscription to scrutinize what cannot be seen why other than to see what sort of monster emerges when burned having written been like everything else scriptoriumbound on the body of an altogether novel nomenclature a new sort of langue that lambently tracing were your fingers over my denuded abdomen limning these outlines posing murmurously that writing could never chart the plenum kissing and treating with indulgence faded latin etched nitimur in vetitum fixing my provenience as one endemic to the past affined with spinoza you liked to say when system building was still possible in the face of my exhortations suggesting polyglot texts that would asymptotically approach glossolalia and totality in a pandect to excoriate your veneer of apprehension sung in a lipstick poem over three napkins at a breakfast of water and rice with insolent pococurante references to shakespearean sonnets with raymond lull is dead standing so obdurately titular inhumed in a mausoleum of other words departing from itself aleatorically in the quiet furor of meaning and recalcitrant alterity of sign so simpered under the phosphorescence of assent holding your arm in torsion tearing bandages threadbare in red red fray with dull rapier over my venous limb saying sblood to which you replied gods blood like effulgent bedlam obliterating the paltry illusory bivouac of safety that was my only harborage but revealing so much more in narrow interstice of infinite bandwidth that was the terrible beauty of the world and we a monomaniacal manacle bound band of noctivagrants under sun asunder under sun when so much sadness in the world was i thinking and remembered adorno and whether poetry is possible after auschwitz and whether happiness is possible after knowing your sadness so much sadness i was saying about how to go on in demure looking and explaining what my meaning is and where im taking this and why i love you when you remarked that poetry is possible precisely because of auschwitz affining sadness with a quiet joy like acceptance of the inevitability of things in a world where evil is absolutely necessary for love when there is nothing left to do except to write that i have nothing left to write except that i am sorry on behalf of the universe for having to do such things to such a nice girl making a famine where abundance lies whose wordlessly proposed concordat in madison after the ephedrine ran out like a suicide pact tween treasonous rogues sealed with a kiss not to yield to language to neither talk nor think in words for hours in indirect light reverb under closet love making when thought was all skin and color and song when heart was wailing and prison break so gazed forever in blankness silent asking in green eyes of hers looking like azure flesh florid in exhaustion and smile so dressed in her navy polyester to breathe outer world like celebration and tend signal fires to illuminate grecian ships beached near troy guarding gainst words of men of words and action and twists and turns and watching from turret height in citadel nexus maintaining her symbolism in alphabet code embargo but creeping text in mind and words round self on signs and speech of passerbys til gainst tree like 19th century painting near mossed lake in shade was photoflipping and pastlooking when she was living in athens with other boys who play musical saws and are brilliant and gaunt til she spoke to me again under flaxen festoons flexion from tomb to tomb of post coitem triste like the silence after one hears a poem noticing the striations of muscularity in her back when she readjusts her left elbow roommaking and jointcracking before lowering her hand to smear semen into words that were illegible across her thigh though i neither asked nor spoke for friction sputtering was my mind stammering as a lathe dull gainst the ineffably dystopian fixed point attractor of the oldest of virtues selfrevelation that taunted obliquely like sirensinging in the quiet limit of love like running up against the limits of language in the silent wood of infinite repose near central maine where you held a scepter that was a gnarled branch tracing crescent thresholds with your bare foot in the dirt for death to pass over and enter where you would take its coat and show it in with sardonic concupiscence and prone palm imparted tenderly in gentle apodictic foreboding in so germane an exactitude like correct turns in a labyrinth undressing for it slowly since death is in no hurry and afterward you would look upon it and whereof you could not speak thereof you would be silent while your body like grammatical narrows widening and opening up onto ever tighter slenders narrowing to nodes of despair with the veracity of punctuation within poetic inhalation as a lifted lever lets plummet the fulcrums hidden hand in a juggernautical effusion prying crevices between concatenations of ciphers rupturing the smooth combinatorial countenance of the world in the presentation of raw silence like the silence after one hears a poem or like the emptiness after sex when systems break down and when realizing everything i had elided in my attempt to textualize the world like a movie and how devastating it all was when he was saying your life like a movie in the telephone while you swallowed too many pills to make his voice go away and longing touch wanting to be touched with words thinking about the gaze falling in gravitous obliquity from oneway mirrors round the panopticon all interrogation and calcinating lights blurring the world like an avantgarde movie with clever distortion and shifting scenes to bathroom blood and salty rice and empty bottles of and broken typewriters carefully arranged like in a movie but the movements were beautiful like enjambments that linger coupled from line to line with words in hand in hand breathing with quivering hesitation and yet pressing on indeterminately through the hermeneutic circle toward the strange attractor of meaning and signification wondering what does this signify but signifiers signifying other signifiers like the condensation and displacement in oceanic tides and when i told her i had not seen the ocean she gasped so i decided to go though not before we parted like clawing our way through labyrinthine thorn hedges of height and density like high thought content writing while trying to assume the affectation of a great writer when i heard the polyphonous voices of schismogenesis within me like aphotic narrative singing discordantly in the name of the father who asked me what i meant when i wrote and why i did that when i did and who i was when i was without the courage to become what one is so responded fractiously that language and that words are beautiful and beauty is difficult and other such preemptive prevarication for inscrutability precludes the possibility of evaluation and the no of the father in the theatre of the absurd below the balcony where the genius was not understood in his own time but all of this was mere barber shop gossip and lie and self delusion like sniping flowers and spilling wine for second rate gods upon the barren plains at my feet ostentatiously trying to appease something implacable that was my own self loathing but he was numb to all of this which discourages one halfway through a hedge knowing that you would perhaps understand my desire to be misunderstood as though ostensibly envious of my grandfathers prophetic madness that skips generations of fastidious fathers in anticipation of voices and visions while plenipotentiary droplets roll over the inimical earth in all possible patterns like the shape of writing to come below bloody thicket pricking wondering how far the ocean is and what she is painting today with words and whether the border patrol let number into her script so intrusion may reign in the folds and crevices of writing neither hectoring nor execrating the eternal footman but slowly withdrawing the rapier from its sheath in combinatorial melee like the anarchy in vagaries rising round the imprimatur in radical permissibility that was the whole of the law or autophagous bravado or suicide just to spite him so i decided to go though not before i packed sandwiches and a journal to write about my writing that the verisimilitude of its rhetoric is sign of forgery and a state of falling though the dynamics of descent will suffice as a surrogate surface on which to stand while i wake tomorrow and write this same rhetoric once more for the nth time for the chreode of my heart is a deep furrow that i cannot make go away for persistence persists but we do not my dearest midnight queen of fairyland but you probably know that when one dies one rots and nothing of ones ego shall remain in an oceanic grave where the secret fact beneath the impossibility of knowledge outside language is that we no longer require knowledge to sanction our acts of defiance and resistance and holding hands for when i say i know how i feel i am lying though dishonesty is a valid alternative to inaction and the apathy we felt on a deserted greyhound bus marauding through the night to the gallows of cleveland ohio where you spraypainted yellowly necropolis cross the windows of the kindergarten but more importantly the circumscribed terrain round effusion usurps the need to know anything in the hegemony of love that pray god will make me capable of stopping doing philosophy when i want to have you with me again quietly chanting come on darkness supine in the viridescence near noon outside a chicago airport unable to descry the mechanism of storm formation beyond the nimbus of name in cloud of term and phrase upon the violet firmament playing at being adam the bringer of language after the void separated itself from itself so that we may write from the nexus of difference and fiat for the primordial act of naming was the first unwritten act of writing always beginning to begin again anew my project of radical doubt where neither your scars nor your emaciated figure are real when i was advocating the devil and certainty seeking so you kissed me again doubting that doubt is the ultimate treacle though descartes did not even begin to doubt his own language but when this happens you are right to ask what happens when i ask what happens when and whether our distrust of grammar has ameliorated our lives and assuaged our propensity to hate ourselves though we loved each other when at thanksgiving dinner you cursed the avuncular harangue that one cannot love another lest one loves oneself when he did not understand what was at stake and afterwards i dont mind being turned into an adjective she was saying when i told her she was so like herself when we were lying in the moldering tawny leaves being a part of one anothers lives figuring out what that means considering daring her to ascend to the neighbors roof and scream though quickly forgot under impossible concentration while my fingers found their way to you in a trance across the skin of your skin and wondering whether it feels like it feels when she reciprocates and whether the feel of your touch is a full description of the feel of your touch when later you dared me to climb the fence at nicholasdownin naked in the dead of winter for two dollars and no i said no i wouldnt no before i did of course in the face of that face that launched a thousand ships said i when lying with no breath again in the snow warmly alongside my own indignance and hesiod remembrance that a single spartan girl could hardly have but certainly a young girl could be saying was she while looking was i at her and thinking underneath just then that she was right that love is always most intense for a writer for the futility of words she induces is a crisis of the highest order for one who believes in nothing other than words for love is the linguistic boundary condition occluding the passage into the real where come what may for i am ready already bound by the sun she watches rise the same setting sun i see like breathing torches in passing my dear what are you doing now that the bandages have been removed o looking into the sun for peace in torture like thorns of rose beyond this sea when do you remember when among the heavy serpentine boughs and caryatids where you were dancing like no one was looking surrounded in the cupola and first spoke of the ocean that you had no memory of with a quiet rage in your abject palabra and i agreed in a vespertine kiss to go saying i am become a name and now here gaze upon the churning surf but thoughts with an erstwhile death that challenged the belief of this bibliophile that the apt phrase can solve any problem so cast the vicissitudes of the world and the details of your death under a neat and tidy scrawl of black ink and wrote for achilles whose death was foretold and yet and yet and wrote for all the times you wanted to read and for all the time i refused to write i wrote for language its limits and that which cannot be written so close my eyes when missing you comforted by the darkness when not knowing like chasmgazing in my dreams of you and i clambering up the headlands again quietly chanting come on darkness til we could no longer hear the droves trilling and stood unwavering atop the precipice where the world was violence and wind yet somehow small and possible with you there in the thereness beneath the domed roof of paragon blue looking downward to see whether we would hit the water or the rising crags when i said sblood to which you replied my blood and though we saw much we should not have there was much beauty around us and perhaps even within us while turning in turning gales to get a running start across the stony jags renting and jutting like the contours of flame and letter so we jumped breathing like gods and sun in worldapproach and holding hands in gasping panic falling in asymmetry all angular and heaving when the ground was moaning and our lives we were living like when you said your death like a pollock painting trying to tell you something when my veins were pumping ichor and throbbing as we fell the fall of our second death but you couldnt see me in the inaudible roar of the world screaming your name in florid reach and want to tell you something when my voice was straining til larynx bleeding and coughing my love my love above the seahowling like upwardlooking in falling rain like we were rising then faster in groundlaughing when my mindwailing trying to tell you something and knowing everything is not going to be all right on our descent was i spinning in the worldrushing as you emerged from the penumbral shroud smiling and looking evil and i wanted to tell you how happy that made me before impact but

© 2003 o.a. campbell

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