Doug Bolling

Variation 36

These stones.
Mystery of sleeping matter.

How was it before the
invention of

I am walking carefully.
Each step an edge.

Time owns my
inner self.
Its gravitational field
that keeps its songs
in silence.

I speak into the
where nouns
go to die.

Motion. Stillness.
The unheard whir
of atoms.

Yesterday has slid
into the cosmological

Something has shadowed
Through me and moves
Slowly away

Schist with Cello

Distances. Loomings as from
a ghostly metric.

The songs. The heard contractions
of a past.

You ask: what is it to be an
absence adrift in desert.

Your voice a whisper
As of a flame uncertain.

Where we met. The pond. The
savanna. The high slopes.
How you gathered the schist
as in a prayer.

A pausing where shadow and
a single ray of light met.

0r our vanishing through a
membrane of words.

Didn’t we begin the composing
of poems as though a healing.

An escape as with a cello
smoothing out a pastness.

0ur camping beside the parched
river. The remains of what had
been. The water brackish,
barely there.

The voices saying: the spaces
between the silences,
between the words in their

The touchings of what
eludes the commands.


            Watt strove in vain to correct this asymmetry

                                      __________Samuel Beckett, WATT

A spillage
       A downward
                        Against                                                                      the gravel
                                   A plea                                                        irregular                      
                               All such                                                     uncalmed
                                      Because of                                     unmeasured                                   
                                          A universal                             as in a pas de deux
                                                       Breaching              of a disparity
                                                             As though                    a darkened
                                                                of sudden                              stage
                                                                  clashing in                              a cry
                                                                          the gears                            from
                                                                 for then                                        behind
    {A departure}                                   the                                                           the
                                                               disunion                                                     arras                 
                                                         among                                                                 now
                                                    such voices                                                         bloodied
                                              as appeared                                                        or then
                                       from within                                                         a broken
                                  a distant door                                                          calculus
                              of shadows                                                              unsheathed
                          no longer                                                                naked
                    in a geometry                                                           a blurring
                  of recognition                                                          in the
                                   such that                                             preachments
                                      no reaching                                 no longer
                                                    could                          solid
                                                   utterly                        in a frozen
                                                 negotiate                  carapace
                                            such distance                         as slowly
                                                             in . . . the                       slowly
{The faces                                                          enormous                       a mirage          
     Warped as                                                       room                                            resumes.
            Now                                                                       a there beyond
                 of                                                                                             it

Doug Bolling’s poems have appeared in Streetcake, Isthmus, Aji, Poetry Heist, The Missing Slate (with interview), Otoliths, Swamp Ape, and Indefinite Space among others. He has received Best of the Net and Pushcart nominations and several awards and lives in the Outlands of Chicago after teaching in academic institutions in the Midwest.
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