What am I the antecedent of?
When I shave I feel like a Russian.
When I drink I'm the last Jew in Kansas.
I sit in my hammock and whittle my rebus.
I feel disease spread through me like a theory.
I take a sip from Death's black daiquiri.
Darling, my favorite natural abstraction is a tree
so every time you see one from the highway
remember the ablative case in which I keep
your tilde (A scythe of moon divides
the cloud. The story regains its upward sweep.)
O slender spadix projecting from a narrow spathe,
you are thinner than spaghetti but not as thin as vermicelli.
You are the first and last indigenous Nintendo.
We must retract our offerings, burnt as they are.
We must recall our lines of verse like faulty tires.
We must lay flat the curatoriat, invest our sackcloth,
and enter the Academy single file.
Poetry has yet to emerge.
The image is no substitute. The image is an anecdote
in the mouth of a stillborn. And not reflection,
with its bad infinitude, nor religion, with its eighth of mushrooms,
can bring orgasm to orgasm like poetry. As a policy,
We are generally sorry. But sorry doesn't cut it.
We must ask you to remove your shoes, your lenses, your teeth.
We must ask you to sob openly.
If it is any consolation, we admire the early work of John Ashbery.
If it is any consolation, you won't feel a thing.
I invite you to think creatively about politics in the age of histamine.
I invite you to think creatively about politics.
given men as they are: asthmatic, out of tune and time,
out of bounds and practice. I invite you to run your mouth, to run your hands
through my thin hair like a theme. I invite you to lean your head
against my better judgment. Once uncertainty
ran through these sketches like a Lab. Now, of my early work, a critic has said:
"It was open, so I let myself in." Ladies and gentlemen,
tonight's weather has been canceled. The Academy has condemned
the blue-tit. The poor are stealing the saltlicks. Grenades luxuriate
in the garden of decommissioned adjectives. It is the Sabbath. I must invite you
to lay down your knowledge claims.
to lay them down slowly and with great sadness.
Given men as they are, women pack snow into jars for the summer ahead.
Given men as they are, the trees surrender.
-Ben Lerner, The Lichtenberg Figures