Tod Thilleman

from A World of Nothing But Nations

Level Two:
Toward An Ontology


"The Master Architect has arranged horizons in a renewing design."
Robert Duncan




Being is a trance

once lost
it ceases
            I want to get at
the meat of these numbers
as if they were not merely
numbers, but pauses too
that open the imaginative distance
contained in the a priori fluid
of the mind’s given property
            What is there
but thru aberration
of mind!
            Strophe, each
wed to world
outside now
not having any internal
solely the primitive
has spots, insects, sounds
            “Can you find
these things
in this wild
traffic jam?”
            This slow world
zapped with
the place of places
I keep thinking
no matter its content
is the world
            A horn, or strings
in and out
            “...the cat sees it
for the games...”
            I want my own slave
past a plant
now into the room
thru the window
I see pencils standing
behind file folders bulging
            The truth
might turn out to be
            A large puddle reflects the sky
the fence and the trees
mirror into its smooth surface
the fence and the trees
            Wings of separate color
stained-glass wire mesh
veins of straight
cubes dark and big wood
one square a mouth
a mustache of leaves
with two lead points
            Why did I
go down
did the booze
have a moment
as if the world
were that moment
            The expiation of guilt
and the wanting need to be guilty
            I’m on the phone
and the room is my job
            Because of my blue vest
those girls led me
all the way underground
to the deli restaurant
where I ate and am still full
            When that thing or phrase
takes over synapse space
in the brain contemporary
coeval to spatial relations
happens in the length
of the meaning of that
thing or phrase
            “...Those ladies
could be here any second...”
            The world words evoke
is the world the writer’s been banished
            In a nothing grip
pulls me into it
all the source
to all my problems
            He throws down the coins
            That music be
to the scroll of sight
its bidden secret scent
and flight
            He is glowing red in anger
the place is a lurid dark red
a deep emanation pulsating
within the stones and within
the recesses behind him
upon the wrack that turns him
and upside down his nose breaks
and the blood is hard to breathe thru
            Now I talk about
how I saw
how I saw
kept it in my ken
all these years
            “If they want to
get a wild card”
            I’m actually quite wounded
            All the meddling
the others invoke
in the name of reason
not a wealth
but a tirade
against the hand of god
your god you gazer
into the depths of to find
            Eleven million people
on 50 square miles of land
and only 1 or 2 characterizations
emerge from it all
            The soft gelid urge
of the pliant vitamin
muscled and greased limbs
moving into light
obscured by soot and mortality
slow breathing in a bastion of sound
            “Is that ok?”
            A distant roar
banging on wood
now close the cat
becomes what writes
my hands with fingers
the grain of wood of a desk
and the sniffing nose of my wife
now breathes and clinks an ashtray
            Shade under my knee
is the world
my hairy legs
“Americans are deeply concerned”
            Concrete red ring
heaving coffee machine
illegible focusings
the mind chooses I operate
the world we fall into
the wood grain of the table
can hear a head
            We masquerade our knowledge
as something
we do not know
as if
            Don’t make a home in the brain
no one wants to go there
            UNDER DURESS
            I do not want
to deal with your damn family
week in and week out
that’s not why I married YOU
            Clearly my coevals, being back
home here is the thought
of the light coming thru
those high schoolers
the only ones worth writing for?
            Now he’s an old man
listening to her voice
coming out of his desires
and relieves himself
in the hatred she had and
gives to her old name a glow
that smacks another buddy
on the rump of his body?
clouding my vision
            After getting lost in the hospital
I’m now witting listening waiting
my number 4889 the food
and the music in my opening
christmas said the one woman
in the midwest they’re different
inside my brain glass partitions
            The big, open
empty waste of her children
will not rise into
the free air of today
and so they will be family
and never anything more
            This is the history of being
told in a nano-second
as if it never mattered
as if all else than
mattered in being
for to be fully
            Soft but firm now
the spirit of poesy descends
            It’s the kinda
person you are,
            They/we by extension
have no use for
the inner goal of mind
except to pick up
sex partners
of years of schooling?
            Why write anything
but the sound
and the air-like sound
and inside it the outside
has a human dimension
we have further to go to leave
            “Hence the elaborate construction
of a poem like THE FOUR ZOAS
gives way to the serial organization
individual segments refusing to
build toward ‘Bravura Rhetorical Climaxes’,
much less to comprehensive answers.”
            “The closest Eddie Bauer store
is at Broadway & Prince
in New York”
            Joyous cries from
the everchanging flood of forms
multiply in the dawn
and come apart in steps
yet build to be torn
            My sleeping
heavy-breathing wife
            Don’t waste my time
with small talk
all you and your five
friends that quick
curl it into letters
in columns that
make me look
greater or lesser
than I really am
            Trying to come down
from all the high
            Here come
the serendipitous
            “Kwaytio Ki Mow”
water in the fridge
a carpet
lines running down
scrofula on my jacket
water in the back of the refrigerator
spots on the kitchen floor
lines running
            Old guy
sits next to me
in the mall
“I’m glad I’m not
long for this world.
I don’t want to live
in a computerized world.”
            Sitting digesting
what’s the significance
of the turtle in the picture
of the meeting on air
which sings of a breath seen
and scissors its way to intention
an ambulatory reason no doubt
spread into darkness”
            Footsteps on wood floor
            Did it all just
pop off and say good night
            Sound-bytes, commercials
speak to my soul
            “The deductive approach
(moving from general theory to
particular examples) is frequently
overshadowed by the need
to work by induction (from
the particular to the general).”
            North side of town
line proceeding in the mind of the
next line I’m writing we say
wind cold on ear
geese and birds fly this way
            “...the thing to do now
is to get you registered...”
he says as he comes to this
and begins to speak
hearing the footfall of the large
whirring air-engine in the waiting room
            I am a primitive
hear my cut-off value
waddle in the air
(they turn the radio on
downstairs outside in spanish)
            The history of being
human being
seems to be different
from the history
of the world, if indeed
the world has
any history
            And now, thru the degradation
of pure elemental earth’s wonders
must I face the degradation
of my senses in the name of my night-nurse
lovely whose cleanliness and care
vanishes and in a magic ritual
perforce into foreswearing
again the like unto her forever
            There is a complex
inter-stellar mind
within the items
industry has produced
for human consumption
on into the eternal
matrix of the past, present
and felt equivocal strategies for being
but what
is it
Slates of old pavement?
            What burns me up
is the adamant will
to argue or consent
the individual poses
and surrounds himself with
as if nothingness
were some sort of life elixir
            Wood floors
big squares
the lines between
someone was talking
about the grid
last night
all over the world
            Dog bite
and car honk
“...that shall enmesh them all”
            What would a dash
do you think
serve toward composing
but the song
of human
her face
that jewish girl in
            How ignorant
the people are
debasing eternal moment
in favor of the anti-logos
place where is channeled
much numb vibrating nothingness
            Get it over onto yourself
by passing thru the dust
over and over again
my hand hurts
why is it always
to take time for me alone
my concerns are ridiculous
            So to the
wall of time
and more pieces
of these beats
who think or into thought
become the form of thought
then out into waves
of more of themself
more than thought
            Trying in my mind
but this mall I’m in the tiles
a voice and squeaks
are what I let myself become
in order to see into the coincidence
charging my info for what?
            It really does
pressure one to act
that’s the way, the measure
the knowledge of all
the force thru the contrivance
to adapt, move, to be again
            Oh my god I
balling my head off
I’m all tearing and
gushing, it’s
come full circle
the time of day, the end
the time of mind, the end
the end of the end: time to start over
            Wedged into
and coming at me
the fine white dust
settles on my eyes
and contracts their lids
to pucker and explode
            One nice long
easy turd
fell out of me
the whistling
gathered in the pen
the forward march
of the sneakers
on the person
I can’t believe it
            “ can see it
travelling...word games...”
            I have people
that depend on me
strange to think
they could too be a part
of this empty rising head
of which I’m called
            All my youth melts
down into my inability now
scraped off
in, deep in the bowel
to show what motion
what release and everything to echo off of
forever and ever
            Enough energy
get it behind the thing
and push till you see
any sight at all as
the place that can’t be named
            The primitive
realizes god is
not within him
but in the world
and great
            How do I remember?
            I have become the material
the MATER presence
all substance emanates
and have no earthly purpose
but the notebook I’ve carried
in my pockets of time
            Some things are fast some
slow and the slow is usually
the best like now again over
and over these strophes are becoming
outside my wish for them to be
a part of words in meaning
            “...Only if these drives are...”
wind thru the seed pods
wind-chimes tinkling
I am writing
my eyes blinking
notebook held in palm’s crease
sound of the world outside this room’s hum
            I had teeth
marginal culture
in the future (from here out)
will be annihilated
by force (bigotry
will manifest as law AND object)
            Coffee cup with brown line
around its white center
a little handle like an ear
a gleam on a saucer
creamer pointed away
from me, a small cup with
sugar leafed out its top
            You are not
going back in memory
you’re going back
to the past
what it was, specifically
what it was as
something that is
            I return to the fangs
of a wild dog
mashed behind dark glasses
of a green rim
strapped with plastic
about its black sleek head
            The dream of a thousand dancers
escaping the blood
invading the world
with sperm’s holdings
and no men
left anywhere to contain
their sovereignty and wield
            Via negativa
is called the way
called away
to duty
            You have the ability
to be prescient
but also scientific, empirical
which road will you take
and your voice the ultimate
            Is that
where I was always going to
the thing par excellence
there growing in a heaven
of hell indifferent
the people then came to mind
as the glue-buckets began to stink
            We don’t know
but we’re gonna find out
what poetry was, and
is, and, what’s the difference?
            One thing’s
for certain
trips in this day
to combine
            It is useless, pointless
to go on, even destructive
to go on, the wall
and the sky, and the things
are there, and there is no heart
only a large hole
            What young thing
silky black hair curled under collar
black tight pants made to flare
and those shoes there goes another
standing in the subway
cracks at my own shoes, count them

[Back to readme]