Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Douglas Messerli | "Ninety Lines for Marjorie Perloff"


ninety lines

                           for Marjorie Perloff


My parents simply could not

like a vortex purge

the cyclical fluctuations

of the japanise pavilion

where you see silk spinning.


In China the bat

is a symbol of happiness.


I mean the line between

sense and nonsense is of course

a narrow one. Rocks are emitted

by sentences to the eye.


My mean my parents went on

occasional trips into

the countryside which is what

every Austrian does on a dreary day.


And sentences pile up so high

you need at times to drill into

them to discover the existing modes

of representation.


Molly Bloom is on her bed.

To tell a story is to find a way

of knowing how to reach

the world. Philosophical analysis

does not give us any new facts.


I mean, I wore my Davy Crockett hat.

I opened my clothes to the moon.

I negotiated with Mussolini.

Anyone can deal with a set of

“disgusting old rags.”


Sentences are sometimes digested

by the rocks of civilization.


What time the next train leaves

or doesn’t doesn’t

matter. I tried to find the hourglass

but something got mixed up.

We took a photograph

of the wrong house.


To deny the normal

syntactic integrity

of arcane vocabularies

confuses reference.


To mime the coming awareness

of the mind is to face the

glut of impossible wrong turns.


Eyes are often encapsulated

into rocks like little steins.

And we grow weary of the trip

toward the necessary confusion

of the destination we know

we have started out for too late.


What time is it?

Molly Bloom is on her bed.

Yes, and the integrity

of the spinning is growing

ragged. I can give you only gossip.


Since in the view of many

of our poets the world doesn’t

truly make sense, we have to mime

the mind awakening each morning

to realize we took the wrong turn

in the middle of the night.


You can’t negotiate with a dictator.

And civilization generally rocks

its way back to sleep despite

the vortex into which it has been

thrust. I still have it in the closet.

My Wittgenstein to tell me

what I can never ever know.


There was a japanise lady to selling sings.

And the noise was overwhelming.

My mother brought us several cakes

and books to keep us calm. We were

so very quiet that we slipped

into Italy. Time stood still:

I had no thought for the next day, week,

or year. I don't recall wondering what

our new house would be like,

where I would go to school.


Molly Bloom was my first teacher.

Yes, she was. Gertrude Stein my second

grade teacher in the new American school

where I could no longer negotiate

with the handsome cowboy I would

soon discover at my side. He was so

very charming and so beautiful I said

and I said and I said, yes, and I said.


The world does not truly make sense.

Rocks are nothing more or less than stones.

Philosophical analysis does not give us any new facts.

To call the bats "disgusting" is to neutralize their force.


September 28, 2021


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