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Schrifte an den Dritten

Escaping a rational tradition
I stepped outside to think,
to smoke, and to denounce:

There we were, me and my shadowy pre-cursor,
divided just by time into my solitude with him.

I want to smoke and the error smokes me.
In that body pressing at my back, I find it:
the smoking gun where the outline will be painted
white as a further error. I thought out of my
belly which caused me just to feel and then
was not my belly. Dance between
attraction and desire; do not fall on
those difficult Viennese steps.

Consider good and bad as things that mean
there in the body, as you dance,
between attraction and desire. All
those bad things in the stumbling blocks, while
the desire pushes on,
and we give rise, hard up and on, a smoking
spinach, painted round in white.

How are they born, giving way?
becoming the good of morality, and
failing and falling, not there against nature
but burgeoning ripe. I want to know
what you can do. And then I dart away to wonder
why that man is having so much fun, the fun
of god in man, of god with man, sending swans
to slaves and sending, always sending down
through the smoke I make as I soar away.

Don’t stop me doing what I can do, for
you would like this, really, Orson Welles
emerging from the shadow between attraction and desire
where we have left our life. Those sad Ottoman passions,
my feet trailing on the floor as the music in my mind
just races on. Let me tune that binary piano and then
I’ll waltz that drag of a body up towards
the fundamental problems. Here is the shape it takes
if you would let me be, or better do.

Adam Smith doesn’t know what a body can do,
though Henry Ford has carefully taken us through
several examples. What a body can do
in freedom does not grow the common stock, where
our concentration is rich, where we are caught
and browned by the spectator. It’s toast to
our shared soup, I think, and that, not Nietzsche’s, is
the new image of thought. Fingers are fingers is truth,
if you touch me with them, or take the question up
on my piano. Dance, fingers, but don’t go down that alley;
don’t think you’d want to pay that much for truth,
you have better things to do, go out to smoke
and ease away from her bad faith, touched in the water,
and after that immersion
just fooling us all.
I would let them.
I like that, but don’t ask me to want it.

Which one, vital, shall I can it do, what?
I just leaped
like a salmon, needing something. Not like
you need a spirit to walk out of a lived-in thing,
but like you need to learn to smoke,
as Frank O’Hara says and Orson Welles just shows us,
or like you need to learn to dance away from
being sad. Being sad is not something
the body can do. Let me come down
with you to us, to the politics where being sad is not
something the body can do. I have learned to weep
in the time it took to paint around the body with a line,
and my head is drooped over you, down with you, for
I have been surprised again by joy, and
I will have to step outside to think
and smoke over the Deleuzean century.
I will eat my fill if you can tell me what my shape is.
Don’t send down another of your swans; don’t ask me to
take on more of all that nature that you say I have. I would
love to be more me, but not just for today. All of this feeling
is calling for a box to get in, out back with the body,
thinking sad that knowing is a what I can do.

(19 Feb 2008, 18:30-19:25)



dollar at him, why bother too few oaths
of the season, fragile key.
Previous to the wallet, merchandise had made me
a nest, made from the slash, the suntext,
guardian rathead, dark poison do you know?

Buy my poison dead on a mattress,
more loss. Your name is a reduction
an abacus had; there are wings, there is a float,
I must have known. I alight through your soul,
softness, my health his hibiscus, I am only pollen,
only your wings a human event, no outroads.
Pollen without white hair comes apart,
pollen too, coming apart. Ruthless flower oil
need more, he left her pods, squirrel hawks and
these things don’t you dare. Luminous white
to pale new organs. You are the death
I see not me, the ruthless flower as possible,
dirt roads, sunflower, my childhood on my own
turns in the shadows where I breathe angels.
Carve green hills, don’t care, the hospital, because
her soul could not leave the man in the bed with mine.

You were fair. I could not hear the register. Who
no more poetry, the abacus had, this land old owl
your poet. Its needless search for the soul can
leave me alone faint. My relations would not
become one of them. Their loss would live.
Door calling outside in, far away, defective door:
‘Where did you lie, pine? high bed soul’? Where life
old function forgotten blind, he was moneyless ward,
old poet. Your wrong genes, wrapped up pollen
with Jack Davie, cold in his arms you know. You’ll make
heavens. Who serve needles barren wrapped. Gazing motion
the abacus had. I see movement, had not walked. Baby
pine shoes, shameless lie. Made the words
pretty, want it, forsake the tree.



[Geoff Gilbert teaches in the department of Comparative Literature and English at the American University of Paris.]

Copyright © 2008 by Geoff Gilbert, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.