Say it was in the morning, and you were out on the sidewalk, perhaps you
were checking the mailbox, you see a tooth, and it’s like when you see one
thing and then you see everything, you see multitudes of the same thing,
a row, a forest of teeth, you hear a rumble, it’s as loud as creation,
but it’s only a dump truck, in an infinite line of dump trucks
shifting gears, backing up roaring with their loads of teeth,
which they pour, all around you, in clouds of toothdust
spilling out into the street.
So, nearly buried, white, after being held under so long, reading your mail,
you think, if I had a big enough pillow, I’d be rich!
And you think, there are chairs to be made out of this.
I know a man somewhere who will sit in one of these chairs,
he will eat rocks in his beans, he will eat rocks in his soup,
don’t worry, it’s not out of punishment he isn’t suffering he has iron teeth
which he uses for just such actions, turning one thing into another,
“an unctuous and viscous water, which is the true matter
of all the ancient philosophers” part of which is made out of stone
and part of which is made out of teeth.
He is your friend. He sends you a letter, the white envelope of which
you are now holding, asking for some. Incisors, or molars, bicuspids
if you have any you can spare, he’s building a chair.
It comes over you in waves, you are laughing, with your teeth, your own, safe
in your face, thirty-two permanent teeth, you think each one
is sign and symbol that is just your enthusiasm for this world, its waves
of stone, of teeth, its particles, particularities, a small mouth
for each of your thoughts.
When you can stop singing and say what you mean, having faith that you can
say what you mean. Then meaning comes toward you like the ground (it never
leaves you) like running down a mountain, jumping from rock to
rock it is terrifying. It feels so good. You can get yourself
killed doing this.
Gridding, after some sentences by Agnes Martin
When I first made a grid I happened to be thinking on the innocence of trees
and then a grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence
and I was satisfied to think of migrations, of waterfowl in a v-shaped formation
of crossing through this process, but never myself having to leave.
Then the angels looked down and they make us perceive each other.
What was unknown becomes patterned.
And this is how you introduce divinity to the work,
which trembles from the act of inventing the angelic by
merging songbirds with people, then forcing them upward
until all the trees crown as do people
just as they are born, because you introduce divinity to the world.
And when I once was so stupid now I am awake
admiring your work.