Radio Voice,                and
things suggestive
to          young            imprint Agnes
using     young men.    Don’t be
like the typist, don’t
talk for your                gestures.
Let them talk, for
that                             gesture is younger,
don’t watch me, nor
that        kid, just stop it
and capture
what can happen
to all the illicit avoidance.
Don’t do it
or the kids will do it,
look at the window
and be legendary.         Please
avoid your        sista
fuckin you        husband:
blush and kiss and
lift your arms and                 don’t
gentle                sister,           don’t try
angel, little Laura.
Dull fuck love like love:
that’s how it works
and I escape.     Disciple
you bore           me, absorb
                         me       and my shame
will leave           you alone.
You will always
become             rivals or brothers
in your ear Agnes
peeled the invisible
someone barred the way
to the model,     dancer,
feeling dark.

Did you hint in my bath?
Today with your       glasses
and my tears and my dark
                                glasses have to blush. Stop
the door and build
into erotic mist.
Kundera       is          shit like this
though, and
                    that is   a metaphor,
his lens, stage, notion.
Talk of them
and those shite sun    glasses, Agnes
at her heels. The
smoking gun is neither
idol not rival nor dull.
And this is on the art
of the novel, number six-
ty eight.

                                   Cambridge, 6 May 2011, c.15:00-15:25


It’s win win Seneca

There is plenty of truth to go round.

The economy and bees betray their origins,
though honey is not what it was. An image
is a dead thing, a mask. But take bees
who gather to make a mask, and live
with traces, vibrant in their lives.
They are an absolute itch on my surface
though no anxiety is pure. I do not teach,
I give you: ‘an image is a dead thing’.
It sees you from the dark night,
sensual in my honey it is
carried off. Which face down
in my hands will words find?
All that is me is new, now testament
to that mask.
is not form, a beard of bees,
travel is not forward, some parade
of slaves makes you respect
this mask of words. I have buzz
now, and that voice. I am forgiven,
but remain beyond your rescue,
for an image is a dead thing,
and the voice is a mask of bees.

Ethics needs a metaphor:
I am forgiven but remain
beyond your rescue, wrecked
on distant shores before we launched
us off. Smash the vessel
on the same pointed topos,
icy and mostly below.
Nobody makes all face.
Nobody is all at sea. The wreck
is where we start from,
poised above the end in change
in which we drown. Your
luggage stops you as your wish forms
to swim away, and holds you there
in the beginning, hardly yet yourself.
Thus I promise part
of the animal, obscured
by the luggage which sits
between me and naked blush,
blanked like      a laden horse
                        a donkey
                        a mule.
For this was the work that was lost,
blanked like a donkey obscured
to a mule by its baggage, by weight
that is not work.
                                    Love old horses
whose flesh is thus, weighed to the
ground like literature, strained against
the wish of metaphor to have it fly.
Against the opinion of the world I raise
down my voice. I strike
the wreck of my face
down in my ocean hands,
buzzing for words in the water.
I have
a reef
in my baggage.

                        These words fold out
make men free and silent. Taking aim
at the crowd, I witness.
Thus impelled to wisdom,
you become my pupil,
a musical experience.
Receive my project through your empire,
making decisions. I learn your vowels,
for there is no shortage of truth,
only languages to make it rare.
I cannot feel desires I must resign
if I give me to you, Master.
Risk to the runner is risk on his muscles,
pop them in tension or make them grow. Risk
is empirical, and wise the thought
that comes to me tomorrow:
this is terror’s condition,
failing as a tutor, face flat
into hands, wrecked on the ocean.
Now I learn your vowels,
buzzing for words in the waves.
An image is a dead thing.
A mask made of bees.
A horse blanked to a donkey.
Blanked to a mule.

                                    16 May 2011, 09:00-11:00



[Geoff Gilbert teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature, American University in Paris, where he also directs the MA in Cultural Translation. He is the author Before Modernism Was (Palgrave, 2004).]

Copyright © 2011 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.