U n d e r t h e S i g n
o f t h e H o u s e
Readme Online Chapbook #1
Some of these poems appeared in Black Bread and The World. This chapbook was originally published by Detour Press, Brooklyn. A limited number of copies are still available from the publisher: Detour Press, 558 - 11th Street, #1B, Brooklyn, NY 11215.
Text copyright © 1998 and 2000 by Laurie Price
Artwork copyright © 1978 by Antonio Tapies
W i n d s B l o w
these words and ornaments
also the principles from
an articulate kindness
that wait for a long time
under some trees, addressing
the parts leading what we know
into the room.
I n I t s B e c o m i n g
The room settling into its deepest sense
from the bottom up layered and fading
fast in its becoming
as though its properties were sinking
enough to say its geology being of interest
would hide its absolute thingness of concrete and glass
felt no differently then than window through
and pictured in its frame a tree paralleling
the shape of its becoming
Trees in the shapes of trees
collecting toward the greenest cone
waiting to be seen as such
stalling against time and portraiture
split hastily to cradle
how our corner of the world
might come to continue
R o o m w i t h a V i e w
Things to charm and entrance you alarm
and beg forgiveness. Water by the hour
knocks out all the figures. Body count
impressionable, not lacking in charm.
Sing to it how night falls wanting to be
a window you could see through.
R e a l L i f e
Is time without anchor in the house near floating
When the winds up the long seasons of rain blast upside-down
Harboring where you havent the middle to sustain the
But thats gravity, a grammar for the otherwise plaintive lot
Meaning speak in plain sentences, keep the pronouns
bouncing to the rhythm of sheer cooperation
Then there are my sites, taken with shifts and jump-cuts
to comment on these extraordinary events
and the itineraries of anticipation
Material reality, sometimes called real life
and its increasing dark appetite recycles here
Those little gestures of inclusion become less
and less interesting that we must meet
in its bowers, engage in whats ours
B l a c k H a w t h o r n e
Only to tremble that I am a bird
I remain my own fear
in a nest today walking more softly
Pink-white eggs concealed
traces nothing found
under the sign of the house
likely to attract
To concede the house since nesting
stretches of absolute space
Two branches as shelter
pure sound of a patient sky
of an underworld
besieged by cognizance
Trembled as poles
A n d S h i f t i n g
A little Scarlatti and the earlier blue
above, some heaven not bursting open
settling in cold light painting bricks
and shifting starts the new year about
a new lease weightlessness no content
achieves. History running in place
self-referential and continuous could be
included was a dont but understands
itself now. Not scrambling to beat
the inevitable from solidifying
threatens to muck up the works
but the sameness is more of the same.
Tree shadows lick the sidewalk
two girls walking and never breach
the open window the gravitational urge.
Air. There is nothing that sticks less.
It simply and what lights there.
T h e B o d y P o l i t i c
Wind high velocity turns the sky from darkness toward another kind of darkness. Where guarded fabrics clothe clouds form the lazy definitions. And whether or not looks immaterial from this angle this talk of angels. Wings I said as if speaking of gossamer. The miraculous things are easy to describe once you set them down at tables edge to get better acquainted. I have this history swallowed whole you could say down pat. I wasnt always used to it. Any heaven lodges complaints. Though by and by a large thing seeks to clarify or rise spellbound to pare down the options. Human nature runs its force of habit but if you call it come toward it narrowing. To speak its name. To name its speech, a kind of thread hanging loose in a light drizzle sprin-kling chipichipi in a tongue tasting describes. The radar of any-ones instinct witness to voice what might be supposed, though jumping through conclusions tastes rain or the lingering scent of its arrival for a magnet to lure. To take then. Speaking of skill wills the odds in my direction and Ill have no more availed myself of the powers than if chosen. Oh be a chosen one said the blonde acquaintance choosing to observe that something could grow there some thing could glow.
S a l s a
You do it in a thin red line
guided by fancy as if
its hard getting lost in there
where quickened or aroused
the imminent circuitbreakers
could really shut you down
on the best laid plans
R e c i p r o c a l s
The courtyard below the balcony is comforting
Or simply corresponds to whats irresistible
Sequences of windows arranged in perfect squares
Painting gridded moonlight on the tiles
The line of no hints stutters in the gleam
And the visible interior couched nearby
Some phantom as if glass
Calling light were smoke
We forget our devotions
Spare graces hushing the sky
Fingers turreted in lunar spill
Stored words idling
B o a t
A then was verse or other boat. Yes,
counterclockwise looked where a sinkhole
sunk. Pieces sting and who that smaller
said? The aisles by the something
counter stem. Some copper of my things
went black in pieces. If I liked the sake
of politeness I began another version of
the Prado. A bellowing tuba opera leading
to the larger boat. Sidetracked the hologram
closeup of putting stuff into the ideal
vacation. The obvious receive. I control
this loss she said hoist me up.
L i s t e n
Broken through the glare of hedgelights
fed out along a highway like gigantic trees
are real trees, noted, braided in among
the simian shadows. An itchy arc defining
something precise, assimilated, the way one
arrives at conclusions, often, believing them
as if they were more than.
N u m b e r s
They said I was to be this doll this girl this
house this twig the falling windows
would open on a false thing and I
too could be perplexed. Someone
about whom we wouldnt notice and
suffered ordeals at the hand of re-entry.
I suppose was all I could say
the relaxing argument rolled to a fist.
Come Spring sleeps butterflies
were slow to come. The noon of them
and their verbs crashing like nouns
and nighttime appointed delights. All
the instruments of zero surprising
all of me, evening, the tree.
N o O t h e r R e a s o n
At that point I shouldve known
the transparent distances shouldering
wanted to tempt me to betray
my path was useful and had
relation which has no wrongful end
to accommodating the work
that has flowered. To enter is not exact.
No leaving has less place
or where nothing has been joined there
scattering. To dream the path
that doesnt narrow or possess one
to the other even with reason.
Enough for all that can. What can hold
the sense of the same thing.
A way of hearing more and keeping.
No other reason.
P r e c i s e l y a t t h e e d g e o f w h a t w e w a n t
to call history is something
exhaustedly imposed as natural order.
I wanted to keep these things
secret, as anyone does.
Was I thinking of you?
In the Im not here you are here continuum
lurk danger zones. No equivocation
makes it possible to distort the link.
Because you get lost in the book of loss
is personal. Specific awareness of the spaces
left empty is not enough to rid you of
your need to believe in something formal
though others have mastered this
with disappointing results.
The day with its weary heat seems
impossible no relief or rain
even small wind to blow the burning
from this valley. The book of loss is
no help here. I found that
the pages turning was a dog barking
where Id encountered someone Dear.
You might call that coincidence
not to guide us
but that we insist on concretions
in a word.
Laurie Prices first chapbook, entitled Going on Like This, was published by Northern Lights Intl / Brooklyn Series in 1991, and her first full-length poetry collection, Except for Memory, in 1993 by Pantograph Press. As a recipient of a Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry in 1993 she moved to Oaxaca, Mexico where she began to realize a series of literary art objects. In 1995 this work was exhibited as part of a three- person show entitled Inside Out in Mexico City. She now lives in Brooklyn.
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