A cataract   or      blooming child swells affect


in her throat skin lesions     or      the consummate stage untells

affiliation over   or     anxiously paced

her questioning  or  scald  or  market of defense

impermeable  or         

already  as ready   or    squalid underneath the indignant cross

lacerating an equivocal condition      or        site  section

imagined to contain henceforth its drip


a meager void sure among the silly adventurers morbid in relay

or stripped of  foreseeable grass

or linked

as if by the permutations of dream


and thought

               exponents gain  or  had they trimmed it back

had they

allowed the same


                               as man walking up and down

its drop holistic

not smoke

                     not the musical invasion from behind a wall

                              oblique angle of  yellow fiber

                              girl fighting with her quilt


                                         that quiet demeanor      string


a white snail on a white placard

hung around her neck   shell frequently touched

method of appraisal     allotted daily.



                                              For Michael Joo


Let us move more quickly, night,
now night, star crusted, opulent.

The indictment of thought is
an opal's smooth version.

Guard our sensations, be copious, or
at least perform adequate

vistas. I saw a pair of eagles
from the train. The train trains on.

They, their sitting.
Night is longer than the sitting,

We, gathered and copious.
The eagles, a pair.

I warrant the arrest of the boy
Who shot another boy in this sad.

In this sad, would you have said no?
Bickering, passing the gun, a game

of pass the gun.
There are gangs.

This is not a lesson.
A transformation of the subject

into another subject.  Not to insist.
Velvet Revolution, Velvet Undergound.

Lou, hello Lou? Can you hear?
I am here in a dark church

Imagining an improvised history
as if channeling the news!

The eagles sit at the edge of the river.
The camera is out of earshot. Jack

Spicer is about to speak
into the nearest phenomenon

while the deer
while the dear

spelled d/e /a/ r
halts naturalism

and a new equation
only you in the pews can solve.

Are we lost among our subjects?
The lone bobcat

Andrew and I saw

an ancient and incendiary
commotion. Hunting season

under the big tent.
And then there was a magician

strolling along in broad daylight
with something up his sleeve.

There is a silver zebra
on a silver tray in a gallery in New York.


[Ann Lauterbach is a poet and critic from New York. Her most recent collection is Or to Begin Again (Penguin 2009). A book of prose essays, The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience
was published in 2005. She is co-directs Writing in the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, where she is Schwab Professor of Languages and Literature. She is a Visiting Core Critic in sculpture at the Yale School of Art.]

Copyright © 2010 by Ann Lauterbach, 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.