Brian Mornar is the author of Repatterning (Punch Press) and Three American Letters (LRL). He teaches at Columbia College.
(for Andrew Lundwall’s A Saving Place)
is mine. The voice a many thing.
I’ve a round-about in the old ways of speaking. Acreage & appendage. Sweet, and in the soft vein, but the shores and the body so narrow that what laps in there, your neighbor’s engine.
Sanity has a sound here, a coda your fingers. The air is air. We can say from here. The ‘unreal’ cities older than we think, before founding. In the poem, there must be an ‘external referent,’ as to any crime. What we held onto to so. The fact of we possible, not the possible, but only a thee that make bodies in overhead lights.
At once mourning and joy. But here the pores that are opened after the end rebuilds the stage. Defamiliarization and familiarization simultaneous in the autoptic text-body
The body as it was, as were remembered it, before the loss: in Beloit, Wisconsin, men and women manned the lathe. The loss of our hands and still the scapel. Bestill the chapel and then fled. There are factories by the river. Men and women sit at tables and in aprons assemble plastics. We still play cards and night and think we can steer our lives as if driving, or piloting a lost seat boat. The old hands lore read through acres of sentences. Acreage left ashore. Did we ever flee? Is what we wondered in Wisconsin, though surely we did once.
The autopsy opens. Released into the world. We assumed it would be terrible. And, as a surface, it is. But don’t lament the desertion. Freedom is to be leaned away from.
Learn to: Yield the loss to the real. Our bodies eked. If only we could remember how they were growing, and doing so is dead. Unfettered for something else. Gesture does.
That “sympathy kneels near childhood piles like these. Lighting misconceptions that time whips on.” Debasing the gravity of the body. He takes as the object of his work. In childhood, we push past the boundaries in perpetual flight. We know our corpus as that which will be. (When ‘be’ meant ‘air’). And so this is a terrible, the body defined. And the poet, his freedom to perform an autopsy, a window between one body and another:
These autoptic bodies of text—these prose poems—do not reach for knowledge as power, knowledge as the naming of the unknown (the body, the first colonial object). They are a venting in the old sense of the word: not reducing, but transferring population from one body of text to another. One’s a lea and one’s a prison. But without flags or names, just plots. Bloodletting. The body of one’s life, how to measure a thing. Such as.
Composition as skin. Composition on skin. Writing unsheathes the body of the text, the first glimmer at the base of the spine. Why constellations.
Surrealism as having-become-mere-habit. We still want to make new, but for the sake of the body, as the poet has here refined it—remembering the word, page, screen, other’s body as we last saw it. That moment ago. Torn from. What warm mass is left human here. Spicer’s dictation but his alcohol the warmth.
As we having done this. As our tenses remain, does static the body. The voice escaped out and took with it the book. Splayed as a preposition, before the(e). Thee to me, you were, before this visible act. Once lost the farm resprings true. But it is real. We know this, having been there our eyes. Labor is a tense. We’ve been between the word here, to labor a sentence, how a row. ‘Tis more more than language.
Labor and summer indolence, a tense, or chore waiting. The agrarians in other shapes persist, this loss yearly. But the poet’s is a world in recovery. To thee. Act is amending.