Thursday, April 24, 2008

He asks with that nervousness

He asks with that nervousnes
that comes with the knowledge
of the answer: Did you always know?
Or when did you know that I was?
Did it take you long? Or was it
a matter of minutes? When did you
see in the hundreds of things that I
did, the ones I should not have done
(Not at any rate in cafes and classrooms.)?

Now listen: They do not know anything;
those who say 'There is no smoke without
fire', who are comforted in the thought
that the wind always must blow from
somewhere (It has not just arisen from
the under). They always want to get
to where the wind had started. I did
not know, ever. There is no one way
to know: the point at which the fire
began or where the air got to flow.

You say: But there is the heat of
flame; something near ought to be
inflamed. I reply: Don't you know
that there always are paper-scraps
that burn without ashes. Shirts
that singe without smoke. Yet you
look for the one who stokes the fire;
when you sense something burning
you look for the button to press, with
a yearning to extinguish. Sit now; every
thing is lined with snow; it resists flame,
and if you still bother to know: No,
I never knew. I never gave you a name.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


The sun remains of just that shade we always
talk about, till you come to the window and see.

The joke just misses the mark the second time.

My photocopied Eliot is a palimpsest. I know just this much
of another reader: she also underlined 'man with wrinkled dugs'.

'that guy in the physics dept.' smiles differently this
time; I smile with just the usual bit of unfamiliarity.

'Just a little ice please!' he says, pointing to his vodka,
without looking up at me. 'Just ice?', I say, 'there is none!'