20150907

Eileen R. Tabios


FOOTNOTES TO ALGEBRA


[1]
I forgot the musk of evenings quivering into post-elegance…. I forgot the blossoming of desk lamps…. I forgot there was no need to apologize for dancing from one’s hips roundly, eyes closed, taking up as much space as one wanted on the dance floor of someone else’s wedding…. I forgot the brutality of cracked skies captured by ancient warriors with “lightning marks” as long grooves along the wooden shafts of their arrows…. I forgot Montana where I breathed deeply the scent of black earth, dampening…. I forgot whispering to a daughter borne from rape, “Regret is not your legacy”…. I forgot Alexander Pope’s proclamation in The Second Book of Horace, “The vulgar boil while the learned roast an egg”…. I forgot the storm that shamed the nasturtiums I’d watered all summer with dishwater…. I forgot whatever you did that would cause you to rear up on your death bed, agony anticipating your aftermath…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume…. I forgot turquoise on the Kachina doll hanging on your wall, color of sunlit ocean embracing Greece while you explored Mexico. I remember Philip Lamantia.


[2]
I forgot the musk of evenings quivering into post-elegance…. I forgot there was no need to apologize for dancing from one’s hips roundly, eyes closed, taking up as much space as one wanted on the dance floor of someone else’s wedding…. I forgot violets vomiting rue…. I forgot Alexander Pope’s proclamation in The Second Book of Horace, “The vulgar boil while the learned roast an egg”…. I forgot the storm that shamed the nasturtiums I’d watered all summer with dishwater…. I forgot three coyotes peeing upon the buttercups…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume…. I forgot you entering the blue frame of glass bordering the blue wooden door into Maykadeh where we met for “they do wonders with tongue.” I forgot the sprezzatura that woke my veins. I remember Philip Lamantia…. I forgot how, sweetly, you offered eggplant—its skin made palatable through much prior bruising. I remember you, Philip Lamantia.


[3]
I forgot a plea to be buried under a canopy of red roses…. I forgot Pygmalion sculpted himself into an embrace, and used stone in hopes the hold would never break…. I forgot the brutality of cracked skies captured by ancient warriors with “lightning marks” as long grooves along the wooden shafts of their arrows…. I forgot the votive candle flickering within my navel…. I forgot the wasp nesting behind the screen door…. I forgot three coyotes peeing upon the buttercups…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume…. I forgot turquoise on the Kachina doll hanging on your wall, color of sunlit ocean embracing Greece while you explored Mexico. I remember Philip Lamantia…. I forgot you entering the blue frame of glass bordering the blue wooden door into Maykadeh where we met for “they do wonders with tongue.” I forgot the sprezzatura that woke my veins. I remember Philip Lamantia.


[4]
I forgot the votive candle flickering within my navel…. I forgot the wasp nesting behind the screen door…. I forgot Alexander Pope’s proclamation in The Second Book of Horace, “The vulgar boil while the learned roast an egg”…. I forgot never privileging the chaff…. I forgot betraying the butler with mother-of-pearl cufflinks…. I forgot the storm that shamed the nasturtiums I’d watered all summer with dishwater…. I forgot whatever you did that would cause you to rear up on your death bed, agony anticipating your aftermath…. I forgot turquoise on the Kachina doll hanging on your wall, color of sunlit ocean embracing Greece while you explored Mexico. I remember Philip Lamantia…. I forgot you entering the blue frame of glass bordering the blue wooden door into Maykadeh where we met for “they do wonders with tongue.” I forgot the sprezzatura that woke my veins. I remember Philip Lamantia.


[5]
I forgot the musk of evenings quivering into post-elegance…. I forgot the blossoming of desk lamps…. I forgot a plea to be buried under a canopy of red roses…. I forgot there was no need to apologize for dancing from one’s hips roundly, eyes closed, taking up as much space as one wanted on the dance floor of someone else’s wedding…. I forgot sand shimmering with black diamonds, the world pausing to form a black diamond, and fear becoming as real as a black diamond…. I forgot the brutality of cracked skies captured by ancient warriors with “lightning marks” as long grooves along the wooden shafts of their arrows…. I forgot Montana where I breathed deeply the scent of black earth, dampening…. I forgot the practicality of water…. I forgot whispering to a daughter borne from rape, “Regret is not your legacy”…. I forgot Alexander Pope’s proclamation in The Second Book of Horace, “The vulgar boil while the learned roast an egg.”


[6]
I forgot I wanted to make memories, not simply press petals between pages of expendable books…. I forgot a plea to be buried under a canopy of red roses…. I forgot there was no need to apologize for dancing from one’s hips roundly, eyes closed, taking up as much space as one wanted on the dance floor of someone else’s wedding…. I forgot Pygmalion sculpted himself into an embrace, and used stone in hopes the hold would never break…. I forgot the votive candle flickering within my navel…. I forgot the practicality of water…. I forgot whispering to a daughter borne from rape, “Regret is not your legacy”…. I forgot violets vomiting rue…. I forgot betraying the butler with mother-of-pearl cufflinks…. I forgot the storm that shamed the nasturtiums I’d watered all summer with dishwater…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume.


[7]
I forgot the blossoming of desk lamps…. I forgot a plea to be buried under a canopy of red roses…. I forgot Pygmalion sculpted himself into an embrace, and used stone in hopes the hold would never break…. I forgot sand shimmering with black diamonds, the world pausing to form a black diamond, and fear becoming as real as a black diamond…. I forgot Montana where I breathed deeply the scent of black earth, dampening…. I forgot whispering to a daughter borne from rape, “Regret is not your legacy”…. I forgot betraying the butler with mother-of-pearl cufflinks…. I forgot three coyotes peeing upon the buttercups…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume…. I forgot the puzzle of agriculture. I remember Philip Lamantia.


[8]
I forgot the blossoming of desk lamps…. I forgot the votive candle flickering within my navel…. I forgot Montana where I breathed deeply the scent of black earth, dampening…. I forgot the practicality of water…. I forgot violets vomiting rue…. I forgot Alexander Pope’s proclamation in The Second Book of Horace, “The vulgar boil while the learned roast an egg”…. I forgot whatever you did that would cause you to rear up on your death bed, agony anticipating your aftermath…. I forgot wrestling a long poem until I had gathered all thorns into my cupped palms for birthing psalms. I saw a stranger’s blood mixed with rose petals to birth generous perfume.





THERE, WHERE THE PAGES WOULD END


[1]
I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds…. I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot the inevitability of ashes…. I forgot the sun can hum along…. I forgot pride is more adept than eye in discerning the invisible…. I forgot an island replete with chastened alleyways…. I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state…. I forgot you drowning in the Seychelles…. I forgot gardenias were crushed for perfume entrusted with cancelling midnights…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth…. I forgot your mouth became a cave stuffed with another woman’s hair.


[2]
I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds…. I forgot the inevitability of ashes…. I forgot sentences like veins…. I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state…. I forgot you drowning in the Seychelles…. I forgot tentative acacia trees waiting behind sand dunes…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth…. I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot water becoming like love: miserable and lovely.


[3]
I forgot memory contains an underbrush…. I forgot a water lily forms instantaneously…. I forgot the sun can hum along…. I forgot the plasticity of recognition, e.g. silk, moonlight, velvet, crème brulee, honey on fingertip, awkward blood…. I forgot audacity, at times, must be a private affair…. I forgot tentative acacia trees waiting behind sand dunes…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth…. I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot water becoming like love: miserable and lovely.


[4]
I forgot the plasticity of recognition, e.g. silk, moonlight, velvet, crème brulee, honey on fingertip, awkward blood…. I forgot audacity, at times, must be a private affair…. I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state…. I forgot the summer-dusted landscape of Gambia…. I forgot Burkina Faso…. I forgot you drowning in the Seychelles…. I forgot gardenias were crushed for perfume entrusted with cancelling midnights…. I forgot your mouth became a cave stuffed with another woman’s hair…. I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall.


[5]
I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds…. I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot memory contains an underbrush…. I forgot the inevitability of ashes…. I forgot laughter is not comprised of stars…. I forgot the sun can hum along…. I forgot pride is more adept than eye in discerning the invisible…. I forgot the flock with tin feathers…. I forgot an island replete with chastened alleyways…. I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state.


[6]
I forgot water becoming like love: miserable and lovely…. I forgot memory contains an underbrush…. I forgot the inevitability of ashes…. I forgot a water lily forms instantaneously…. I forgot the plasticity of recognition, e.g. silk, moonlight, velvet, crème brulee, honey on fingertip, awkward blood…. I forgot the flock with tin feathers…. I forgot an island replete with chastened alleyways…. I forgot sentences like veins…. I forgot Burkina Faso…. I forgot you drowning in the Seychelles…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth.


[7]
I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot memory contains an underbrush…. I forgot a water lily forms instantaneously…. I forgot laughter is not comprised of stars…. I forgot pride is more adept than eye in discerning the invisible…. I forgot an island replete with chastened alleyways…. I forgot Burkina Faso…. I forgot tentative acacia trees waiting behind sand dunes…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth…. I forgot, for him, she released milk to orphaned baby birds.


[8]
I forgot it was not a blood teardrop—simply, the last red pepper hanging from a string in front of a white wall…. I forgot the plasticity of recognition, e.g. silk, moonlight, velvet, crème brulee, honey on fingertip, awkward blood…. I forgot pride is more adept than eye in discerning the invisible…. I forgot the flock with tin feathers…. I forgot sentences like veins…. I forgot the Introduction as a permanent state…. I forgot gardenias were crushed for perfume entrusted with cancelling midnights…. I forgot that sense of approaching a labyrinth.




SUN STIGMATA


[1]
I forgot love stutters over a lifetime…. I forgot I admired encaustic for protecting forever the fragility of paper…. I forgot to see the thing as the thing itself.* I forgot I looked through a window and saw only glass…. I forgot how the matter-of-factness in many poems does not contradict their nature as protest poems…. I forgot that a poem can unfold unchecked in a manner where suffering becomes rationale for salvation…. I forgot I happily volunteered my tears. I forgot the sweetness of damp cheeks…. I forgot that I prayed, only to have prayer bring forth stigmata in areas of my body usually hidden from public gaze…. I forgot the poet who’d insert a typo at the last minute of proofing manuscripts—he longed to create a space for readers to inhabit, in the tradition of indigenous weavers creating imperfections as doorways for spirits to enter…. I forgot how so much depends on a punctuation mark…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : : I forgot lucidity does not always translate to freshness in language.


[2]
I forgot love stutters over a lifetime…. I forgot to see the thing as the thing itself.* I forgot I looked through a window and saw only glass…. I forgot how poems can set you ablaze until you look at the world with glowing alien eyes—lidless to see better, gold irises to erase the sun’s glare, and unblinking…. I forgot that I prayed, only to have prayer bring forth stigmata in areas of my body usually hidden from public gaze…. I forgot the poet who’d insert a typo at the last minute of proofing manuscripts—he longed to create a space for readers to inhabit, in the tradition of indigenous weavers creating imperfections as doorways for spirits to enter…. I forgot how rarely an author realizes when a punctuation mark’s significance is exaggerated…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : : I forgot the poems writ casually to be minor poems but failed to be minor…. I forgot the advantage of an ignored chandelier.


[3]
I forgot the plastic flowers, their radioactive yellows and reds inappropriate for marking grief. (But how else to see them by roadsides when they are passed by so swiftly by traffic?) I forgot that an orphan’s rant for attachment speaks to desire for desire’s own sake. I forgot that not knowing what one wants does not obviate the wanting…. I forgot how the matter-of-factness in many poems does not contradict their nature as protest poems…. I forgot you can be drawn into turmoil, into trauma, through empathy—that the distance between a page and a reader’s eyes can be as intimate as our commingling breaths…. I forgot the poem whose first word is “but.” I forgot the poem whose first word is “consequently.” And another poem whose first word is “nevertheless.” I forgot the poems that began with the least lyrical words to raise the threshold for the definition of “treasure”…. I forgot how rarely an author realizes when a punctuation mark’s significance is exaggerated…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : : I forgot lucidity does not always translate to freshness in language…. I forgot the poems writ casually to be minor poems but failed to be minor.


[4]
I forgot you can be drawn into turmoil, into trauma, through empathy—that the distance between a page and a reader’s eyes can be as intimate as our commingling breaths…. I forgot the poem whose first word is “but.” I forgot the poem whose first word is “consequently.” And another poem whose first word is “nevertheless.” I forgot the poems that began with the least lyrical words to raise the threshold for the definition of “treasure”…. I forgot that I prayed, only to have prayer bring forth stigmata in areas of my body usually hidden from public gaze…. I forgot the poem whose words entranced by galloping across the page until you felt the wind against your face and, suddenly, you were composing the opera that would come to be known as “Sonora!” I forgot how I went through a phase at poetry readings of ripping pages from my books—sometimes I’d autograph them before handing them out with a “They’re worthy of Ebay!”, sometimes I crumpled them into balls I’d toss towards the audience as if they were money or my underwear…. I forgot the poet who’d insert a typo at the last minute of proofing manuscripts—he longed to create a space for readers to inhabit, in the tradition of indigenous weavers creating imperfections as doorways for spirits to enter…. I forgot how so much depends on a punctuation mark…. I forgot lucidity does not always translate to freshness in language…. I forgot the poems writ casually to be minor poems but failed to be minor.


[5]
I forgot love stutters over a lifetime…. I forgot I admired encaustic for protecting forever the fragility of paper…. I forgot to see the thing as the thing itself.* I forgot I looked through a window and saw only glass…. I forgot the poem whose page was a glass pane etched with words—that paper would be too soft a field for your hand leaving my waist…. I forgot how the matter-of-factness in many poems does not contradict their nature as protest poems…. I forgot that a poem can unfold unchecked in a manner where suffering becomes rationale for salvation…. I forgot the wet walls of a beer bottle, against which I had laid my brow…. I forgot I happily volunteered my tears. I forgot the sweetness of damp cheeks…. I forgot that I prayed, only to have prayer bring forth stigmata in areas of my body usually hidden from public gaze.


[6]
I forgot that meditation, if conducted deeply, must harvest pain…. I forgot the plastic flowers, their radioactive yellows and reds inappropriate for marking grief. (But how else to see them by roadsides when they are passed by so swiftly by traffic?) I forgot to see the thing as the thing itself.* I forgot I looked through a window and saw only glass…. I forgot that an orphan’s rant for attachment speaks to desire for desire’s own sake. I forgot that not knowing what one wants does not obviate the wanting…. I forgot you can be drawn into turmoil, into trauma, through empathy—that the distance between a page and a reader’s eyes can be as intimate as our commingling breaths…. I forgot the wet walls of a beer bottle, against which I had laid my brow…. I forgot I happily volunteered my tears. I forgot the sweetness of damp cheeks…. I forgot how poems can set you ablaze until you look at the world with glowing alien eyes—lidless to see better, gold irises to erase the sun’s glare, and unblinking…. I forgot how I went through a phase at poetry readings of ripping pages from my books—sometimes I’d autograph them before handing them out with a “They’re worthy of Ebay!”, sometimes I crumpled them into balls I’d toss towards the audience as if they were money or my underwear…. I forgot the poet who’d insert a typo at the last minute of proofing manuscripts—he longed to create a space for readers to inhabit, in the tradition of indigenous weavers creating imperfections as doorways for spirits to enter…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : :


[7]
I forgot I admired encaustic for protecting forever the fragility of paper…. I forgot the plastic flowers, their radioactive yellows and reds inappropriate for marking grief. (But how else to see them by roadsides when they are passed by so swiftly by traffic?) I forgot that an orphan’s rant for attachment speaks to desire for desire’s own sake. I forgot that not knowing what one wants does not obviate the wanting…. I forgot the poem whose page was a glass pane etched with words—that paper would be too soft a field for your hand leaving my waist. I forgot that a poem can unfold unchecked in a manner where suffering becomes rationale for salvation…. I forgot I happily volunteered my tears. I forgot the sweetness of damp cheeks…. I forgot how I went through a phase at poetry readings of ripping pages from my books—sometimes I’d autograph them before handing them out with a “They’re worthy of Ebay!”, sometimes I crumpled them into balls I’d toss towards the audience as if they were money or my underwear. I forgot how rarely an author realizes when a punctuation mark’s significance is exaggerated…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : : I forgot space is difficult to depict without the negative grid.


[8]
I forgot I admired encaustic for protecting forever the fragility of paper…. I forgot you can be drawn into turmoil, into trauma, through empathy—that the distance between a page and a reader’s eyes can be as intimate as our commingling breaths…. I forgot that a poem can unfold unchecked in a manner where suffering becomes rationale for salvation…. I forgot the wet walls of a beer bottle, against which I had laid my brow…. I forgot how poems can set you ablaze until you look at the world with glowing alien eyes—lidless to see better, gold irises to erase the sun’s glare, and unblinking…. I forgot that I prayed, only to have prayer bring forth stigmata in areas of my body usually hidden from public gaze…. I forgot how so much depends on a punctuation mark…. I forgot the complexity of evolution from : to : :, or how few have persisted to explore : : :




Eileen R. Tabios loves books and has released about 30 collections of poetry, essays, fiction and experimental biographies from publishers in nine countries and cyberspace. Her most recent is INVENT(ST)ORY: Selected Catalog Poems & New 1996-2015 (Dos Madres Press, 2015). The poems above come from her next poetry collection, THE CONNOISSEUR OF ALLEYS (Marsh Hawk Press, Spring 2016) and reflect the application of the linear order of Nick Montfort’s brilliant poem, “THROUGH THE PARK,” against Ms. Tabios’ “Murder, Death and Resurrection” database of 1,146 lines that can be combined randomly to create poems (for more information: http://eileenrtabios.com/projects/the-mdr-poetry-generator/)

 
 
previous page     contents     next page
 

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger