the floating eye
        the pallid dove
        the bastard of bread.

                                                       ye   hic
Each taxon breathes on you     yo   haec
                                                       ya   hoc

    Inflect and there are splinters in the heart.
    One doesn't have a heart, is dead
The eye floats mean-looking ... but
I would like to point out
that no eye is smarter than me.
(Can either be your Secret I D or mine, in the grammar of this
poem.)  All yr taxons intermingle.
Je, Je vous kill, being a virus.
I'm sick of being a pallid dove; the phainopepla loves only you but
species cannot intermingle, for example
    the dead and the living
    part of two different taxonomies
Don't make me laugh.

I don't understand a word - don't get it.

Can I be some of those things I never was?

I'm living with someone again. Who
has a lot of dirty laundry
and is dead. He's gendered, because we are living in the past -
which is a tense.
Can I be different now? Your syntaxonomy
stretched to limit - It's not a thing. Not like the bastard of bread.

I have the gestures of some of the dead,
I am poking in your Secret I D to tell you,
we don't have to be any way we were.
We owe nothing to the peace effort, or a cause,
clipping our wings. Inside each one I will touch and say
we owe nothing to the others. We are not a species
we are not endebted eaters.
I'm gonna sit here breathing on your soul.
Can't think of anything else to do.

Alice Notley - a biographical note - here


Nature morte-portrait

Le nil le calendrier et la blague à tabac
Comme doit être la peinture
Et la littérature
Une tête sans chevelure
Des yeux en trait
Une virgule
Un nez plat un méplat
Au front
Mon portrait
Mon coeur bat
Et c'est la pendule
Dans la glace je suis en pied
Ma tête fume

Still Life-Portrait

Cigarette papers datebook and tobacco pouch
Ought to be like painting
And literature
A hairless head
Eyes straight
A flat nose a plane
On the forehead
My portrait
My heart beats
It's an alarm clock
In the mirror I'm full length
My head smokes

        Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

Pierre Reverdy website here.


A Magazine of Many E-Things
Issue 31
Read it here

Prague, New York, Sydney, London, Melbourne
Issue 4
Contents, ordering - click here

Canterbury - Collective Poetry Magazine
Issue 1
Contents, ordering - click here