Anne Gorrick

A Political Poem by Oppen, McPhee-ed

Respond to formerly
and cause a change in one’s mood
The best-known, most approved, most important, most satisfying etc
Fieldshe: an expanse of open or cleared ground

Indicate distance or direction from
separation, deprivation from
an intensely amorous event
To originate; be the originator of:
having a separative or opposing force

A trivial action, matter, circumstance, thing, or remark
used to correct or rephrase what was previously said

This great deal, esp of something very important:
that has a particularizing effect on a sinew or tendon

A generalizing force
on the indefinite
on a filament
or fiber of glass
or other ductile substance
To echo back or reecho

Use this poem to indicate motion or direction from outside to a point within
and note a part of the body or a personal belonging

You are unfrequented: bleak
Bring travel money for an ambitious project

Use this poem
to indicate identity
to deprive (a sailing vessel) of the wind necessary to move it
to take in (water) over the side, as a vessel does when waves break over it

Introduce a sentence, implying continuation
roughly or immoderately vehement or ardent
in this distortion of facts and garments

Connect grammatically
to whoever cleans house, cooks
She is used to indicate a specified time
He is the point of a compass
in an ancient Greek city-state

Follow an unforeseen step or one of a series of steps leading from the ground to a door

Mere contradistinction
or the 14th letter of the Arabic alphabet
used to connect alternatives, marked by scarcity

The fur of such an animal
through repeated vibrations or the effect of alternate expansion and contraction
of, belonging to, or associated with the speaker or writer: (me)
especially on wet pavement

Reverential awe, a cape at its mouth
of the class Aves or
any small, hard seed, as of a date; pit
the hard endocarp of a drupe, as of a peach
a disease arising from such a concretion

And again

a proper noun, natural phenomenon, ship, building, time
a self-luminous heavenly body
under the influence of liquor or narcotics

We are any of several metallic oxides that are difficult to reduce, as alumina, zirconia, and yttria
Divert them; deflect, change or convert them
Refer to the one more remote in place, time, or thought
the one enthusiastic about some specified activity

We are secluded in rhythmic repetitions and silences
with an exhaustion in possession of the compositor

An editorial we
instead of my, your, her etc, with parts of the body
an emblem, an idol, a copy, a likeness
We are thick slices of bread

We appear, we occur, we break, we are suspended from
Wait outside the house of (someone) to obtain an interview, photograph
when he or she emerges

Dazzle (not quite)

An equally common mistake
raised a chromatic half step in pitch

The poem as an interval of light

We: having no outlets, having no windows, passageways, or the like: are indirect

The Natural by Oppen, McPhee-ed

Any star (or planet, esp one) that might be inhabited
or a cloudlike mass or layer of minute water droplets or ice crystals
appreciably reducing visibility
Her darkened state, or the diffused substance that causes it
Advent: out of bed, above the horizon

Include something abstract or immaterial here

Both librettist and lyricist, open and cleared ground
Denote oneself
Memorize and gain a habit
one more remote in place, time, or thought
Make it rustic
Distinguish black·bird· from black· bird·
in catchword, shibboleth
Near or at the end of day or well into the night
a very small amount; a touch; a bit; a trifle:

A body of salt floodlit:
the literary sea
and the luminous state of being visible
on a particular globe
implies especially a furthering or seconding
in “a sentence is object rather than subject” territory
A method of impressing a signal: here

The formation of the possessive
pasture, stalks and sprays
a thin, flat part of something, as of an oar or a bone
Come into contact with and perceive (something), as the hand or the like does

Give a slight tap or pat with the hand, finger, etc; strike or hit gently or lightly
and be adjacent to or border on
Tinge this with lowercase

In being apart, as of one thing from another; remoteness
something is composed
as in paving a street, a least capacity
an active and often ingenious first act
cuts open

A Single Step in a Natural Descent
(after Till Other Voices Wake Us by George Oppen)

and then to alleviate the sorrow, misery of etc
and the distance covered by a flying object

A number of beings or things fly or pass through the air together

The origin of memory, a new urgency
The capability of the immune system
to produce a specific secondary response to an antigen it has previously encountered
Of the origin of adolescence, onset, noun of state
An exclamation of mild surprise or dismay
a precursor, prototype, or early form
presumably from baby-speak

Indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits
Indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial
Fleurs-de-lis or upon azure
in place of I in formal speech
We stand on end; bristle

As in time, on a scale, or in order
an object, as a stone shaft, set in the ground to mark boundaries
in a manner (directed, agreed, promised, etc) variant

To press, crush, or injure something
(often with mild condescension or sarcasm)
(of a male bird) to copulate
to perform by walking or dancing

A special form or variety of this liquid, as rain
full of or abounding in
stones or rock (a stony beach)
without expression, especially as dependent on tide
Indicate derivation
any enduring evidence or notable example of something
very or extremely
We bring the lower layers of (sod, soil, etc) to the surface, as in plowing
Hectic, slapdash, in this abandoned home

So we remain supported by or suspended from
are, hour, our
the track, ground, water on which a race is run, sailed
Let’s appear before an audience
See me
(used to express possibility):
(used to express advisability):
(used in polite requests for permission):
as a process of inorganic accretion

To have one's appreciation exhausted repeatedly:
to die under water or other liquid of suffocation
to kill by submerging under water or other liquid
to slake (lime) by covering with water and letting stand
To cut, write, German reissen to tear, draw, Old Norse rīta to score, write
To scratch runes into bark

An informal, simplified spelling
has a specifying or particularizing effect

We are nightlessly garmenting

I am something having the shape of an A
I am "young animals collectively, offspring" a rabbit
while they accustom (a hawk) to the human presence
which probably is distantly related
to a cardinal number, ten plus nine
Informal: a twenty-dollar bill

The muses dress smartly
their nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistols
an act of making or becoming unlike

This ninth letter
in honor or abuse
a symbol or vehicle of divinity
the indefinite or generalizing force
a thick block or crystal of mica in pages

A succession of coordinate sentence elements
used during part of a geological epoch
an end-to-end arrangement of pearls
pragmatic, secondhand
a stratigraphical unit
For example: 2 + 2 2+ 2 3+ 2 4+ 2 5+ ...

All the cake; all the way; all year

To stop abruptly, bound back, or roll off to one side after hitting an object
A communal occasion where one does what is indicated
something happens, often by surprise
Indiana, indium
We note ourselves separately
in all innumerable phases, aspects
the effect of light falling on us, as an object

The lungs, especially of sheep, pigs etc.
pale, whitish, or not deep or dark in color
Turn or switch on (an electric light)
to have in one's grasp or one's control, but not necessarily as one's own
to investigate; consider:
something having the shape of a U
an impersonal subject
(in children's games) the player whose turn it is to try to touch another
in order to describe, identify, or amplify
One typically resembles the cry of dogs

This is extremely difficult to count
governing an unexpressed
arrangement of drawers or pigeonholes for keeping valuables
any cunning contrivance, treachery
in this glacial drift

I'd like to live in some other city
The TV show follows the lives of people who are married, single, or other
A normal loss: the sound or sounds uttered through the mouth of living creatures
the resonant effect of the tongue and the mouth
to become roused from a tranquil or inactive state
We are the tracks of waves left by a ship or other object moving through the water
the tincture, or metal, gold: represented either by gold or by yellow

We are copulative verbs
drowning in (m)ink
covered with or enveloped in

Anne Gorrick is a writer and visual artist who lives in West Park, New York.

She is the author of eight books of poetry including: After Primitive (forthcoming from Salmon Poetry), An Absence So Great and Spontaneous it is Evidence of Light (The Operating System, 2018) and The Olfactions: Poems on Perfume (BlazeVOX Books, 2017). She co-edited (with poet Sam Truitt) In|Filtration: An Anthology of Innovative Writing from the Hudson River Valley (Station Hill Press, 2016).

She writes: "(The poems above are) all based on poems by George Oppen from his book Primitive. There were these essays on writing by John McPhee which appeared in the New Yorker magazine a few years ago. In one of them, he said something about noticing dead words in his narratives,and he would replace them with their dictionary definitions to resolve the problem. That sounded fun as a process, so I replaced every single word in the poems by Oppen with dictionary definitions and then edited these down to the new poems you see here."

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