PAUL EBENKAMP works at Saint Mary's College and co-curates/edits books of poetry and anthologies with Counterpoint Press. Before these gigs he drove around from 10pm to 4am in a boatlike Chevrolet Lumina delivering bad sushi to Berkeley residents, archived baubles and trinkets of memorabilia in windowless library archives, and mowed large fields with a tractor for cash.



Here, flailing in perfect orbit the world’s

afforded what it’s cost us: widow channels

backed up across what they cancel, first-

vintage-first-glitch where the book blurs shut;

wherein returning all to robocall exhausts

the conjurer, as amps crave wakefulness,

and in between its doubled notes may thrash

our data-fracked white-outs of eyes high

beyond aura and obstacle, redial elided…

Begins with machines will bring us closer

or a stump hulked inside the cord, oxides

learning to sing through the snarl of rooms

purse like leaves from a seed… Begins drivel—

a tic of ethic to this, one world veils the next

until another, soon, arriving in a hatch pattern

that in order to seduce you blooms and turns

its back, remote as the ritual window through

which there’s just glass. A life happens again

and that is enough to unlearn which events

come to pass, until those that don’t start to catch…

In the shape of the world whose occasions

relapse, I can meander mind in hand around

the picky darkness until, funded and culminating,

here’s a language-long crowd of voices not to

be complained to dissembling into dirt like

cursive in the permanent air, wild above waste

and scale – and takes to raving in the killed mirror

we’d used to rake our moods across their mind –

throbs, a throne to go flagrant in – sirens and thickly

lined sums – all of it to avoid one’s business, how

to shamble a way through the day’s ills folding

over and over, forgetfully itself? The world comes

with company, no problem there, since reason’s

already such a purchase: you can shiver wherever

the sun is and raise yourself and never rise. Oh rest

is complex, yes but it trusts us to be these imaginary

brackets on that cloud no single count is right about!

It takes time, I meant to invent another good way in,

but how automatic’s the way back to the actual? As

I grow fleshed out with verbiage – arable, irreparable,

name-and-number-checked by landfill services whose

peregrinations slave a kind of rainfall down my street

which with feckless alacrity never ends – my body,

having said all of the preceding, however errant,

however garrulous, only sort of reforms: half dead to, half

alive for, half coated over, half shown nothing but noise

under moneyed shade, shade that is the subject of

this work, shade that petrifies outside the flood lights,

about to found a company in its figureheaded haste

to get it fated and straight before the seams show.

It’s time to change states. Let’s get out our phones

and capture all things: body and soul, rod and cone –

until no one’s exempt from the telling of time, the nerve

it takes to sound it through so that no one isn’t thinking it’s

too loud in here for it not to be cold out, in cases traceable

to everyone. What the rush is starts somewhere almost

perfectly as unrelated as known. The world occurs,

mainly, as the wait time takes up the whole room. 

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