from Ghost Snow 2 (Unwinding)
Where is Owen (Como)? where’s Baloncé?
where’s the pumpernickel
where is “adults move magnetized to the earth”
where is t’otherest guvnor
where’s “all other insects forage at random”
where is David G?
where’s the fucking pumpernickel?
where’s David S who wrote this?
where are the snows of David Antin
where are the ten kalpas?
we’re sitting in them.
Mexican honeysuckle hops green and orange blurred over the bricks
of modern languages a little bit that jay is angry and squawks
time moves through itself like a hand grazed slowly along a thigh
next time let’s look for the nipples truck
roars and grinds getting under way chugs out of the origin cement
churns inside the rotating bee bell with the giant invisible spatula
what’s the sound of one hand
it’s been said it’s not meaningful to speak of time’s nipples
well, a thousand bees along the inside of the laundry room windowsill another thousand pressing the outside wall
momentarily slomo mosh pit of words time agglomerated bees thick-packed into a spraybottled mix of water and soap greed hatred and ignorance defensible? and Leslie is dead (literature is news that stays news, 2010)
yes the comic book is calm go! said Norman at Green Gulch said Charles (A not B)
when I sit down I sit right down plunk in all ten kalpas with the other non-attained Buddhas
or so it says “he didn’t attain Buddhahood” Shibayama says simply
Maggie didn’t, getting into her third book still carrying on (dead), Muttzy didn’t WOW WOW (dead)
the peeling eucalyptus bark in the gravel yard didn’t attain it (dead?)
I’m not saying
that craggy bark flaked off in spots tree didn’t either
the rippling water still water and prototypically gorgeous fall leaves in the picture Rachel posted but didn’t take didn’t attain it
now she’s an attorney (& roshi)
nor did Ocean Blossom BLAM attain it
poor Taxi (dead) is probably dying today rag doll kitty with his arms around X whom he adores
will not attain it as death “descends” it’s a technical breed designation
that banana smoothie is no Buddha
is it the green van then Zhaozhou answered oh no
of course not cotton lovely clouds drifting to no lazy music around the very soft blue of the sky as who should say an Oldenburg typewriter floating slowly as if it were October not August nope not you either clouds
this isn’t a Buddha blue polo shirt ergo this polo shirt isn’t it either QED
here we go again grammatical remarks masquerading as synthetic judgments in the ten kalpas
like in Manhattan (1979)
which slows them way the hell down, like Moose Xing
ok you can be the moose
come on let’s see it
nope Wittgenstein said not that either or private language which doesn’t exist
and is therefore especially prized
does the no exist
no no there the dreamwork
same tree out the office window shimmies its leaves in a little wind again time folds like origami uji
time for a word from our sponsor
Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you!
Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you!
folded into the other book
I said origami sushi she thought and liked it ( Manhattan 2011)
a non-attained Buddha in the Chinese take-out line vows not to kill
any more orange chicken
the elephants with their frog-colored skin
that other one twirls a flower that other other one smiles
and the sound spun slowly through the dark a dandled flower
circumnavigating Tenney amazing that dandled is really a word O spellchecker it shall be you!
and the world can rotate as darkness spindled in the hand
the tree is the flower, the wall, that coffee, and Hakuin’s bicuspid-baring cow
outside the scriptures
guv’nor t’other guv’nor
I play musical chairs hot potato or potlatch with Mahakasyapa I throw this flower into the sea
where everything floats in the ten kalpas like bath toys, little ducks and boats, it’s very tender
if there’s surgery in the ten kalpas what will that be like I wonder and what if there’s dying (2013)
I’m not saying
I mean when will it happen? in the ten kalpas, duh, and in water
floating next to the ducks and boats
the ten kalpas swash me a track through them though then wash me up on shore now time to dust myself off straggle up the beach and get back in the game (see Paterson, Bk IV)
what is the game? today
the blur of asphalt, some hot trees, and as usual doves in the driveway
in boisterous droves
Tenney what do you say
I vow not to disparage awakening, the way, or my companions
over & out.
Tenney Nathanson is the author of Ghost Snow Falls through the Void (Globalization) (Chax), Home on the Range (The Night Sky with Stars in My Mouth) (O Books), Erased Art (Chax), and Whitman’s Presence: Body, Voice, and Writing in Leaves of Grass (NYU). His most recent article is “‘The birds swim through the air at top speed’: Kinetic Identification in Keats, Whitman, Stevens, and Dickinson (Notes toward a Poetics),” in the Winter 2016 issue of Critical Inquiry. Chax will publish a collection of Tenney’s essays on American poetry in 2018. He’s a founding director of the Tucson poetry collective POG and the resident teacher for Desert Rain Zen. Tenney teaches in the English Department at the University of Arizona, where he currently directs the PhD program. He’s currently at work on Ghost Snow 2 (Unwinding). Tenney’s email is email@example.com
(note about layout: we’ve left a blank line between “lines” of poetry, so all the words that appear together without a blank line after them are a single long “line” of poetry)
from Ghost Snow 2 (Unwinding)