Glenn Bach

from: Atlas Perpipatetic



           perched on the ground
                                                    in a tree
           not in flight

                               muscles of flying and tail feathers
                               in balance and direction
                               inhibit elimination

                     save birds that glide
                     with little effort
                                                             (wing span)


Here, this gated community
of massive two-story homes
on modest lots over a recently
decommissioned oil field
once dotted with nodding
pumps, Alamitos Heights
riddled with plumes of oil.

It is unlawful hereafter to drill any new well
or to erect any derrick within that portion of the city
of the centerline and the southerly,
thence east along the southerly
to the boundary line of the city as established,
thence southerly and easterly along the boundary
and following its various courses to the most southerly
as per map of maps, record of records,
thence northwesterly along the southerly
to the intersection of a line 800 feet northeasterly,
thence northwesterly along said parallel line,
to the line of property, of deed, of official records
having a bearing of south, thence south to an angle,
thence south to the most westerly, thence north
to a point in the easterly, thence south
to a point in the southwesterly, thence north
along said southwesterly to a point in a curve concave
to the south, a radial line passing through said point
of curve, thence southeasterly along said curve an arc
distance to the end of said curve, a radial line passing
through the end to the point of beginning.

The gentle motor-whir
and shaft-plunge
cycling endlessly
(replaced by the chain-driven
metal gate separating
this territory
from that).

((Coast) of Coast)
(Depths were reported in the channel to the station to the slips in the bay)
(Fog Signals)
(Non Anchorage)
( ( ( ) ) )

These new residents
may not know or remember,
but I do.

two jetties each marked by a light
a fog signal at the light
a dangerous wreck, a sunken wreck
the jetty, the mouth of the channel
a fixed bridge has a fixed span
a fixed bridge crosses the waterway
a fixed bridge leads to a basin
a power cable has a clearance
berths limited to boats
the end of the point
the bend in the channel
the largest repair yard
a pleasure pier extends from the beach
a fog signal on the end of the pier
a fish haven seaward
the reported wreck
oil derricks once visible from the bay


my understanding of the black diamond
the end hook appears to be loose
                       designed to slide a distance

thickness so both inside and outside
accurate the upper scale in increments
truss layouts for 8-foot sheets
is this true?
                         how are they used today?

a tape measure blade is marked
the bottom scale reads as well
studs read out on center marked in red
marked in black trusses or floor joists
that last bit of accuracy in the readings,
remember the width
                                            when that spot

is far away
                      one thumb with serious

               crease sooner than narrow

twisting and the very fast rewind
count the black diamonds and notice
the fifth
                a sheet spans half the distance

a second starts half-way (third
                     a better span with today’s

                  for objects of irregular shape

a blade extension that won’t break
or crease
                     hold and control the heavy

               recoil and longer life

in dust or when your hands
when working alone
                                         hot in the sunshine

lighter still for someone
with small hands
                                    due to the curvature

of the tale of the tape
                                          and just

what are the thin circumferences
                                                                   of mystery?

These poems by Glenn Bach are excerpted from a longer work-in-progress, Atlas Peripatetic, they are inspired by an extensive mapping of sounds on his morning walk. Excerpts have appeared in such journals as Aught, The Argotist Online, foam:e, hutt, and Jubilat, and in future issues of Indefinite Space and mprsnd.

In addition to his work as a poet, he am active as a visual/sound artist and curator.

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