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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Dylan Thomas: “[A poem] is the rhythmic, inevitably narrative, movement from an over-
     clothed blindness to a naked vision.”


The Plan is the Body               Robert Creeley

The plan is the body.
There is each moment a pattern.
There is each time something
for everyone.

The plan is the body.
The mind is in the head.
It’s a moment in time,
an instant, second.

The rhythm of one
and one, and one, and one.
The two, the three.
The plan is in the body.

Hold it an instant,
in the mind—hold it.
What was say you
said. The two, the three,

times in the body,
hands, feet, you remember—
I, I remember, I
speak it, speak it.

The plan is the body.
Times you didn’t want to,
times you can’t think
you want to, you.

Me, me, remember, me
here, me wants to, me
am thinking of you.
The plan is the body.

The plan is the body.
The sky is the sky.
The mother, the father—
The plan is the body.

Who can read it.
Plan is the body. The mind
is the plan. I
speaking. The memory

gathers like memory, plan,
I thought to remember,
thinking again, thinking.
The mind is the plan of the mind.

The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.
The plan is the body.

The plan is the body.


Two is the rhythm of the body; three is the rhythm of the mind. Leonard Bernstein


The Elementary Structures of Kinship      from The Making of the Mother: Portraits        Marcia Aldrich

The rhythm of the mother's chopping onions hurts her daughter's soul. Chop. Chop. Chop. Pause.
      The top of this mother's lip curls before the difficulty of the onion. What is the difficulty of this onion, the daughter thinks, and why are her eyes tearing up. Is it from the milky sap of the onion or the skin of the mother? Chop. Chop. Chop. Pause.
      The mother looks up from her onion to her daughter and wipes her eyes. She, too, has tears. The daughter thinks—are my mother's tears caused by the onion or has she read my mind? Does my mother know that she irritates my soul?
      The mother holds out the knife to her daughter: “Will you chop awhile? My eyes,” she says.
      The daughter takes the knife silently from her mother and begins chopping. Chop. Chop. Chop. Pause.


Desert Ant                               Sawako Nakayasu

Says “and” with every step, so that it sounds like this: “and and and and and and and and  and and and and and,” and so on. By the time I make my way to the same desert, I have been collecting and carrying an accumulation of nouns over the past, oh I don’t know how many days, and so I insert them in between the steps of the ant. Cilantro, tennis, phone, hand. Needle, rock, hair. Mingus. Monk. Mouth. I have been ignoring the dirty looks the ant keeps giving me, but finally I cave in, which means I stop to listen carefully. I am informed that I have thrown off the rhythm of “and and and and and.” I am informed that this shall not continue. I am given several options. I choose Monk, so for a while we do “monk and monk and monk and monk and monk and monk and monk.” I thought we were doing okay, but before I know it the ant is out of sight, and then before I know it, the ant has made a decision, and then before I know it, the ant is in my mouth, and mouth, and mouth, and mouth, and mouth, and mouth , and mouth.


Perhaps the first songs were lullabies. Perhaps mothers were the first singers. Perhaps they learned to soothe their squirming simian babes by imitating the sounds of moving water, the gurgles, cascades, plashes, puddlings, flows, floods, spurts, spills, gushes, laps, and sucks. Perhaps they knew their babies were born from water. And rhythm was the gentle rock of the water hammock slung between the pelvic trees. And melody was the sound the water made when the baby stirred its limbs.
There is the endless delight we taken in new beings . . . and there is the antediluvian rage they evoke by their blind, screaming, shitting, and pissing helplessness. So the songs for them are two-faced, lulling in the gentle maternal voice but viciously surrealistic in the words. Rock a bye, baby, in the treetop, when the wind blows the cradles will rock, when the bough breaks the cradle will fall, down will come baby, cradle and all . . . . Imagine falling through a tree, your legs locked and your arms tightly bound to your sides. Imagine falling down into the world with your little head bongoing against the boughs and the twigs, and the branches whipping across your ears as if you were a xylophone. Imagine being born. Lullabies urge us to go to sleep at the same time they enact for us the terror of waking. In this way we learn for our own sake the immanence in all feelings of their opposite. The Bible, too, speaks of this as the Fall.
E. L. Doctorow, in The City of God, p. 139


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