Thursday, 10 August 2000

From "Hearing"

By Leslie Scalapino and Lyn Hejinian.

A dag dozes by a wayside with a rag over his eyes, veiling the yellow spot. Two girls on
bikes pass (like messages) through the leaves. One says “the brain is bristling on the
shack” and the other says “the chain is strumming into the caution.” Though they are
real too the dozing dag dreams them, as from another galaxy (given to trusting). Their
chatter stirs the nester shadows, and the dag means not to see but to listen, but the dag is
startled and hallucinates a slur. The dag extends his creviced tongue, he can’t link what
he hears to its creaky source, he drops his blind. Everywhere he looks there are signs of
change, and with them signs of aspersion, he sees blighted chrysalides in spring and the
stupefying sun in winter clinging to the water. Dazed the dag wanders off—and that’s
the last of the dag. The girls bike as if watching their ride together. —LH

Bubals bleed on the plain flashing with lightning. The bubaline holds, however far away
Bucarramanga is. Yet buboes blackening and bursting on immigrants who’re on the way
are the traces really flood-marks of the plague, a buckjumper fleeing riderless white or
pink flowers open speechless and Chaka whirls as a dervish at two hundred miles an
hour. Silent without yipping. Even stopping to sleep in flight. The rider of the
buckjumper runs far behind amid the straggling bubals, those leaving drops of crimson
blood on the roiling flashing pan. The sun clinging to water cannot open. Its action, the
sun’s of clinging to the water, reminds the rider of efforts to speak. As the rider querist is
happy but shy. The whole plain opens anyway, without the sun. Erupting in bird song,
while the million birds brush their wings beside the weakened roiling sun that’s stuck on
the flood’s edge, they close the road to all immigrants, who are penned behind floodgates
now the buboes open on the pink skin of these people, who’re the poor. The president
only kisses the green skin of corpses still live props for photos, in the sound of
decomposition. So long as they’re not the quick—where’d the quick and the dead come
from. People say it walking here. By quiet yellow spot of the bleeding sun. Their mortar
is speech. But there’s no separation. They’re not stopped at posts only fired on. Katrina
shows the other path. Neither quietism nor respelling, and quickening without
borders.—LS

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