Louis Armand

Naked in a Pool of Light

The journey north. The sea in all its. Could this
be the impossible situation a viewer longs for?
Implacability or the erotic spectacle
of everyday life? The dominant theme is grey.
Intimacy belongs to a colder climate –
things that go without saying, because unable.
A mouth in absolute close-up, then the eyes,
as if pulling away into the blue
of some place imaginable, but unreachable.
One moment could serve a lifetime. Economy
isn’t an austerity, a poem isn’t a language
in process of diminishing.
Imagine an island that can’t be crossed.
Something rattles the window, the bleak night
makes faces in the glass. There are other
routes to elsewhere, but how will you find them?

Lorca in Barcelona

They are fluid, resistant, unyielding –
first pressed virgin shed to grey haste.
Down the shutters, a soft lead pencil
making balconies – the blank serene of it all,
the bole of him, the sweating glass
agon that talks out the night.
These stairs are narrowed to a point
of reckoning – to change is a rusted
ball-and-socket contraption. A pigeon
crying over a dead dog, the square
at midday, tides and red gondolas and pieces
of inwash from beyond: all the solemnities
made free with wine, and the years,
the fallen blinds over hanging gardens –
twinned incests of a future which failed
to imagine itself. Each in its particularity
is the taxed community of unequals, set in a blind
balance. The sodden sketch makes a map,
the ground under the chair, umbrella, palm tree,
denuded stretches of afternoon weather
buried beneath the lawn. Not all the
crying children can right a wrong exhumation.
Faced with only sandwich-board manifestoes
we wait, we wait, we wait. Thursday.
Tomorrow something is bound to occur.

De Kooning, Fire Island (1946)

When it happens. Exiting the station / heat-shimmer
dialing off flatlands. Here where myth becomes
irksome / sloping over ghosttown parking lots –
Radio towers & seismic TV static / Oversized furniture
in the used bookstore of the mind. We pretend
“in broad daylight” on a raft of erased de Koonings –

Because the air was so empty. And there was nothing
else to do / You would’ve had… light grey eyes
I suppose, fixing the dead things in your hair. Golden-
mouthed you never laugh / But Elaine felt deeper.
You’ll go to pieces one of these days / Shined & polished
& ready for duty.

                                  And now my shoelace has gone & broken!
Elaine my dear. Eyes sprinkled in the soft warm air –
Little holes & stoppers. Getting drunk
on Fire Island – you lubricate the options, taking
the Bull under the Virginia creeper / The moment
is only just as replaceable as a lost tooth.
Where now? Yawning in the direction of the dénouement,
the fuzzy lampshade dangles.

All that Guile
   (for Jim Ruland)

It was hot, we drove to Vegas in a broke-down
Chevrolet – sky as black as a journeyed slot-machine
and the world never heard of Guantanamo Bay.

All those journalists in your life. But I haven’t painted
a picture in years, and you don’t have a face anymore,
tenderness is everything. The lost map
taken from behind the bookshelf to sell on the street –

some people dream about correctional facilities,
some correctional facilities dream about people.
A thousand-year error – everything in store’s

past its sell-by date. Of course it goes without saying,
like a pain in the arse. But tell me, what’s the socalled
morning star doing up there bright beside the moon
in the middle of the night?

Essay on Sculpture

A piece of clay evolving to man-in-woman –
the first marriage, deniable but not refutable.
Is this what you lie down for, to complete a circuit?
The elementary particle – nul predicate
to lunar postulate. You lathe edges off a syntax,
a barbiturate, making a vault out of it. Sleep
or the agitation of wellsprings. Left
among the details to rot – the meat of ideas
before their time, slackening on the bone – those
little Styrofoam mortuary slabs with plastic windows.
You try to remember but fail to. Remember. To fail.
The struggle is everything. Space travel to most
proximate black hole – a nova in the shape of a rat –
to re-evolve in isolation, the aesthetic principle,
voice box, opposable thumb. Like a piece
of incubated rock enlarging into a conscience –
or a pair of marble testicles – or trinity – or a fourth
dimension the ages speak through, beckoning.

Louis Armand is a writer, publisher, visual artist and former subtitles technician at Karlovy Vary Film Festival. He is the editor of Contemporary Poetics (Northwestern UP, 2007) and in 2010 he edited The Return of Král Majales: Prague’s International Literary Renaissance, 1990-2010. He is the author of five novels, including the neo-noir Breakfast at Midnight (2012), and Canicule (2013; both from Equus). His most recent collections of poetry are Letters from Ausland (Vagabond, 2011) and Synopticon (with John Kinsella; LPB, 2012). He is presently an editor of the magazine VLAK: Contemporary Poetics and the Arts.
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