May 26, 2007




Everything makes spaces.

Gertrude Stein


She puts one foot in front of the other. One word in front of the other as she motors down State Street past the Orthodox church where tradesmen, backs buckling, plane a gothic door, thinking I am no longer young. I am no longer thin. Words have gained weight. They gather at the waist. Tangle around the ankles. How to untangle and venerate? How to tell? One word is all it takes, others being willed to follow. And she is off, arms and alms along for the ride, mind galloping before her, sniffing at the hem of one boy in an oversized Curtis Brown T-shirt iPod wired.


One word, one foot, her great coat swerving this way and that, the shadow and swing of the past, the glittering present, the Merlin of perception. This is what she means: moments sliding like oysters on the tongue, salty and filled with the dreams of whales. Moments spread thick as peanut butter. Moments silky and curved as the Queen Anne armchair she sat in Sunday on Lafayette. Could it fit in the sitting room? Could she carry that too?


There is a hum in her ear when the wind passes, her thoughts winging the air, nestle in a window box, and peer down at her in Sly leather, glory of geranium, light so nutmeg and soupy the tip of her tongue responds.


Threading and threading she is thinking that this moment corresponds to pan-fried zucchini blossoms. For no reason they collide in the air and she comes to a stop outside the chain- linked bamboo garden. Here even gardens are padlocked, double padlocked, razor-wired, triple chained: New Yorkers heavy with keys rattling through the subway. She thinks of the garter snakes napping under potato leaves, the deer nibbling on bush beans, rain collecting in the crevice of leaves (long ago, long ago), her tentative walking to the garden, her sense of impermanence.


Have you come in? Have you come?

(Yes I have but I am not in which is a pity.)

There she thinks

the end of commas. The end




Still there are people who walk on earth. Her foot taps the concrete, pulls at the chain link wondering who has the key?


To whom might she inquire about walking on earth?



She is here she is now she is no more than the memories clanging like tin cans behind her. On and on she pushes past the rent-a-buggy, and Smith Street to State and Boreum where there is a widening. A suburban flattening. Cars hungry for the Brooklyn Bridge which she considers crossing now considers (reconsiders) the long trek north cold and clear and beckoning. But no. Sad suddenly. Perhaps there is no there





Meanwhile we must wait. We must wait for time to unfold. We must stand in front of Chase Manhattan and consider umbrellas. We must be sensible in tainted leather. We must insist on the moment nothing more than the present moment. How perfect to bend down and pick up the Doritos bag the Odwalla bottle dropped at one’s feet because we can because it is our concrete as much as anyone’s. She mutters Love the concrete. Love the car that cuts across. Love the man that brushes your ass toothless and smelling of subways. Noise is a symptom of poverty but not in Manhattan. She says this to no one in particular and no one in particular responds.



Because there is a there



find ourselves now anywhere but here which is nowhere near where we think we are. Otherwise now. There is certainly a place. A place that calls out. A place that slips in between noun and verb. Several moments begin to bleed. Panicked she mistook the sky. She mistook the weather. Her intentions were good. Whether or weather there were some interruptions on the horizon that wanted her attention. She took up her palette. She hit send.



When crossing borders it is best to be firm. The otherwise of fluidity. There are several varieties of mushrooms one had best not eat. This is not true of vowels. Information so rarely corresponds. Is so rarely of use. She considers. (She was always looking back. She never did.) Consonants certainly demand one’s attention. (Consonants require cabs.) When a word has two ts they both need acknowledgment says the man from the Paris Opera. (There she was sitting in the seventeenth row nodding). Otherwise stutter. Suddenly she stumbles stares cement curb. Familiar and yet on and on it goes. Here


on and on the line will go and she after it. (Behind her landscapes unravelling.) She wants to upend herself now unravel on the boardwalk spin into lower Manhattan. Certainly one could begin again. This is a poem underway! Any moment! Neon. Any moment sense!



Still it comes out. Even if it comes out ugly it is still out. She had several things to say sitting where she was on the cold bench. Now snow. Now freezing. Now thaw. Now the East River with its dead cats and billion unheard words a bottomless thud. Say.


Say what?

that. There it comes. That thing you recognize. There it comes now. There it comes. Now. Bring the glass to your lips. There.


—Sina Queyras


from Lemon Hound, (Coach House 2006), and an earlier form of it appeared on How2

Posted by dwaber at 12:46 PM