Poetry by Karen Weiser


Continuous Installation

Your body is a metal instrument ringing
with an evil music. Your body, now metal, is being played;
a music rings out from it. It echoes
everywhere. You hear it nonstop. You
are not the composer. But the song is named
for you. It has your name. It is you.
It is all you hear. It is all you can play.
The evil fugue. That ringing.
That ringing lines your spinal cord. All
synapses play it. Once struck, you will
always sound. Once struck, you need be
only lightly tapped.          To play it.
No one hears it but you. It dreams you,
the empty sound, ringing a pressure
          that coats the air.
All sounds rhyme with your evil music.
Fugueworn, another stomach grows and
fills with bile. Fugueworn, your hair is
always raised.          Fugureworn,
shadows are doorways. Breaking
can be a controlled installation,
a continuous sound.
You wake from the dream not sure which is
the dream. You wake clenched within the frame.
You wake and then remember and you wake
and then remember, between an old world
and a broken music.
Turn the edges of the corners over
to see outside the frame. There
is nothing there, no necessary fiction,
no activated void, no thought to name
or sound to hear. The blank rings.
Then the matter is time and
time is matter, a current
surrounding, a black          movement
against the blank, waiting
at no pasture, waiting at
no swampside, waiting
no wretched geraniums
The thud of dirt is your evil
music. Cover over and cover over
and cover her. An errand short
lived a good ways, and you’re
          inside it. I’m inside it.
A good ways, alongside it.
The warm wind moves time.
Nothing’s stirring though the wind
blows. Black milk of daybreak and
a two pound music, an infant music,
that never sounds, that never rings.
You turn, an angel of history, your
back against the frame. We can
not even acknowledge it, your music
that never sounds, never rings.
Karen Weiser is a poet and scholar of early American literature. Her first book, To Light Out, was published in 2010 by Ugly Duckling Presse. In it, she explores the idea of communicating with the unknown as it relates to the experience of pregnancy, framed through the mysticism of Emmanuel Swedenborg and poetics of Jack Spicer. Her second book of poems, in conversation with Herman Melville’s books, is due out in 2015, also from Ugly Duckling Presse. She was recently awarded, for 2014, a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency as well as a Process Space LMCC residency. She was an Assistant Professor of English at New Jersey City University this past year, where she taught poetry and American literature.

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