October 12, 2007

A Breakdown

                              A. R. Ammons, 1926-2001

Coming from anywhere, your poems, they traveled
anywhere, rucksack on the back, hitching
up dungarees, hitching a ride, sentencing
down the road, letting their hair down, letting
themselves tumble down scroll-like and pushing
their lines through all those colons, never flinching
from all the nonsense we push through our colons,
compost being our biodegradable
identity, giving away the game,
giving off heady perfumes, signaling
hey, all the crap we spin out of ourselves:
haute cuisine for someone else, a fly, say, or
bacteria, imagination just
another enzyme, how the whole damned process
of breaking down never breaks down, whoa, never
ends, only that in the localest terms
we end, ending up brokedown into spelling
and if we’re lucky intimations of
some glory and some end that we use to
distract us from that glory and that end.

—Jay Rogoff
Reprinted from The Southern Review Vol. 40, No. 1 (2004). Copyright © 2004 by Jay Rogoff.
Forthcoming in The Long Fault (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008).

Posted by dwaber at October 12, 2007 11:26 AM