Lyn Hejinian

 

 

 

The Late Metaphor

            Just as the events of the week absorb suspicion
into the present contents of the alphabet A
to Z, which cannot be any more autobiographical than Luther Burbank's new fruits
but must be taken literally as a fiction even
as each is taken figuratively as a fool’s face on a body of abstract notions, so
a football player's yard
gaining dash when described as flitting matches
the football player’s body to a "butterfly theme" at a point of disembodiment too sardonic and plaintive than is wise
but not placid amid the continuing insecurities of girls
who are still holding back the extravagant equestrians, strong, cheerful, and conveying S
to S, transgendered, f-to-m, a sort of Hegel
if he were only alive to hear this
and could manage not only to love us but to show it
with only a frisson of the worry staring us in the face starting at age 5 (which is nowadays considered
a little late) but who could know
if we managed the transition?
            On Friday we wept briefly and didn't answer
questions
to the satisfaction of our parents on Monday
we ran up the stairs
            We ran over to Boy and said, "Why are you sad?"
            Boy couldn't exactly say with pride
but we never set out to be stupid or lazy and we aren't lazy or stupid yet
we're looking forward to going much more slowly
to the front of the box and so am I

 

 


House One

I mind this
Still
Though nothing at all
Comes
Now at the exit through which the voices come
Over
Algae then
Sand across
Grass into
House
One
Without closets
Another without
Water
And there's one that's tightened
In tiles
And a vague one
And one
With no place
Among books to stand on
The floor and piled
Into chairs along
With catalogues
From Legoshop.com, Sur La Table, Small Press Distribution, and Woolrich
And a black clog
Harboring a frog
But not a trace of it
Can I find come dawn
With delusions that pencil
Is a barrel
Of graphite
The body
A barrel of organs
Ordering in
The mind delivery
From the eye to its cave
Of an episode
Which will not give up
Its logic
As it would take up
Time that might be
Otherwise spent
Devising
Vows to spend
The minutes more
Worthily the hours more
Consciously the days more
Historically shared
Through windows
Overlooking — aha!
The nose (vestigial
Flare bestial
Vestige mundane
Iota vain)

 

 


Facts in the Making

Thought takes position, position takes landscape, and there's no chance
Of rendering its eternity sans debris
And profligacy (some sort of soda) and rapacity (unjustly symbolized
By dogs
That cavort, then collapse
After eating their fill
Of beef-barley by-products and something resembling
Beans [precious miniatures])
In quest of heads
Of which the flowering weeds have many
Whose minds (hidden realities) we can't surmise
Nor surprise
If they experience irony
It's applied lightly
And only as light
From the sun, moon, or stars
Lapping time
Like cows from a ditch
Along the road among the weeds
Which are real
Facts in the making
We go
Out of position
To the zoo
To wonder what kind of social life is going on, how do people
Mingle if they do
Or find
Solitude, and what do they look at
Or see
Beyond the circulation of non-communicating autonomous human
Units amorous or merely friendly
Couples passing black
Panthers, a birthday party of parents and 8-year olds in conical red
And silver hats passing (without noticing) the mountain
Gorillas, penguins, elephants, and retirees
And so forth or to the sofa to wonder
What is the world view on display
That we've overlooked
At an accelerating pace
Of pirates raising hair and curdling blood
Into cheese that would never appear
Maggot-rich in a market
Here since if it did the shoppers whirling through would shriek
And tend to linger
On the sill for the thrill of it—whatever
It is

 

 


Primo

Into a carelessly careful confession details are thrown
Like short-lived exaltations we’ll never understand
By a dreamer explaining a dream
To someone whose intentions are no good now and won't be better later
Unless things change and mules become fertile
But isn't it fine, says the forester to the farmer, to be weaned
From productivity—the accomplishment
And churning out—by the heater on the floor
Lies the dog producing nothing
But shit
Says the child, it barks, it guards
Philosophy which turns
In turn
To gaze
Into the dog's gaze
As sad as stones
Or a sweater that a knitter leaves unfinished
At death for reasons that have nothing to do with the difficulty of the pattern
Which the child for whom it was intended chose
From a tattered book about a nurse who mounts a horse with enthusiasm
So strong that she overshoots the splendid saddle and falls
Into the sawdust surrounded by jugglers tossing bullets
And grapes as sweet as rock candy and as cold
As toes
So fat as to be offensive and wriggling
On their own without any sense
Of chronology—
Which can after all only be recounted
Backward from the end (its
Tips) of the story
If time is to be credited with supplying the logic required
To bind a truck hurtling through the night, weeds bending
In its wake to a dog lapping water
From a toilet or an erotic caress
To a mournful Marxist in a melodrama called Nell
Of the Navy dressed in a tight blue skirt
And a light blue sweater who’s a gentle sort but with tricks
Up her sleeve
There's knife and a notebook and a comb
And a cell phone (you can call, the number's 6
91-5
91-0
1
26)
With some syncopation and knowledge of the secret
For avoiding sea sickness and bobbing
Without embarrassment, Sophia Loren says, "All that you see I owe
To spaghetti," emphasis mine

 

 


11th Dream of July

Her waking state can be termed the true yellow cling peach of romance
In a word, anatomy
She will return as a harmless subject envied by none
Neighborhood: abandoned former battlefield
Social structure: artsy/inefficacious
Favorite leisure pastime: whining/watching rented movies
And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings
They have been put in alphabetical order
Like a piece of ice on a hot stove
If it is a wild tune
I threw away punctuation
Never reject anything. Nothing has been proved
Back into the city to find that lost serenity
I woke from it. Nothing anywhere lacked definition