Sent: November 24, 7:35 pm

Subject: Tools to repair
To take on contours we used dirty words in other languages.
Tsunami, radiator, fenestra, windows just one disaster after another. Don’t stay  in California too long. The Pacific's prevention measures, buoys that monitor 
earthquakes. If the ocean overtakes us, veil our thoughts in skirts because 
this could happen here.
When an eye mask loosens, some drapery, long rosary might need tools to
repair, escape or a battering
ram unless there is space for pressure, warping. At least one attempt to forecast despite blinds.
Is a home safer? A spector, a spill, a cabinet of foodstuffs, that creaking, a 
porch sinking, sliding, siding or brick, a Bible in the nightstand, radon; I could 
not discern the true matter from the false.



dateline: Suffolk, England, May 16, 1791 *

in veil of tears
to whose fault
do you ascribe
the drowned vault

Alessandro Volta throws the switch
that illuminates a venerable text
hand-coloured, light-flooded
interconstellationary wave
tingles on the tongue

of which we speak
through fantastical device
dependent chaotically
on quasi-divine algorithm
of a suppurating sun

the natural philosopher engages matter
in terms to give us pause
force fissure in the zeitgeist

saints are sculpted boys
below the waterline
efflorescence of recovered paint
in borrowed time
mementi mori, moisture
forcing up the floor
we count the bedes

right-lateral side-slip
compressional forces
expressed as uplift
* day of the most severe quake yet to strike Connecticut; in Pisa, Volta commences experiments with Galvanism


An Experiment in Galvanism

Whose fault is what engages matter. Exciting contradictions in the muscles of animals. One captive, the other tied, beautiful limbs interlaced: a disturbance of pairs. Skinny ropes round white robes handled. First sculpted boys then bandied girls snagged after permission. The tip of each finger four points to turn joyful, revelry beyond the joint of the knuckle. Every time a communion is offered, an affection I cannot reject. When hands are previously unoccupied. A staff to placate empty hands. Forcing fissure, the floor supporting a son every now and then singing do this, like tablature. One string pressed as board ridges gnaw. Blood from wine fretted innocence raw. Upper lip and tongue, switch tingles upon the gum corresponding with the shock. No one was injured in the collapse. Nothing bad ever. Four minutes, our pictures and home videos. Baseboard, leather, a wet cloth. Three pillars of glass or varnished wood. And a rocking chair that was my great grandfather's, bent into an arch becoming new as we count beds. Or beads. Soldered to the end of a wire. Some bells once brought against a chest in habit now, wrist in motion, blessings held, laid upon each other in interwoven patterns. A side-slip, a tree falls, a backhoe to extract a girl. There's never a shortage of disasters. The strongest light, whether eyes open or shut. You can do whatever you want--just do it slowly and don't make any noises.


re: action
in formation

a lifeforce flows in these magnetic patterns
fielding an iron planet, filling joyful
beings with premonitions of disasters;
electric impulses compel our muscles
to acts of faith or defiance; video
conferences take place behind these shut

doors; the rhythmic valves open & shut
in isometric, biographic patterns
reduced to blip & pulse in video-
graphic representation of every joyful,
wilful or unwitting move of muscles;
our best intention may lead to disasters

piled in smoky pile upon disasters
in dusty cities; rivermouths are shut
by seismic spasm of tectonic muscles
contracting in hyperperistaltic patterns;
musical forms ignite a simple joyful
neurotransmitted response on video

screens in quiet chambers; video
games erupt in choreographed disasters
from flights of finger four formation, joyful
pilots in lockdown, quiescent suspects shut
in soundproofed rooms; psychodramatic patterns
provoke involuntary moves in muscles

sensitised to allegory, muscles
attuned to catastrophic video
representation of ideas in patterns
that predicate predicted grave disasters;
we enter this with all our senses shut,
minds in denial, heartbeat oddly joyful,

the tip of each finger four points to turn joyful,
exciting contradictions in the muscles;
the strongest light, whether eyes open or shut,
four minutes, our pictures & home video –
there’s never any shortage of disasters
laid on each other in interwoven patterns

our valves tight shut, our altimeter joyful
with flexing patterns of our complex muscles
reduced to video, seconds from disasters


Flood Diary, #1

Her beauty helped her to a clever way of listening. Lips
open, interruption, an emphasis on grammar. How a city
is arrived at, its quiet like a pulse. Then it stops. Sparks, you
say. A little pointed. Or was it sharp. A stranger at a bar
converses in bursts, igniting in joy. An adequate diversion—
he seems to know, which comes as no surprise, the contents

of the drink, when what's required is an entire lime.
He was an au pair in France making crepes when the bathtub
overflowed, the living room submerged. The neighbors sued
for damages. Pretty soon you exhaust yourself looking
for something to talk about. What she could take out
of a person. My tolerance tapped, I'm forgotten like a drain.

Here are my recollections, piled on each other in nervous
patterns. We needed a place. The others moved away.
A morning’s distortion, a window cracked. A soiled garment
needing to soak. It felt like a lockdown. Where all the water
came from. Forgetting to be skeptical or seeing everything
in denial, anxiety exciting contradictions. Pretty soon

you exhaust yourself. I wait to disappear like a boat.
One somehow treads on, meagerly assuming debt, weight,
a kind of attachment. I listened for the set of paces, flights
of fingers a curtain passed through. An apartment is a nuclei
of vacancy. One person's boundary, walls or valves opened
involuntarily. The shape of this low is an ellipse, a surface

collapsed over its own fallen body. We were oblivious
to consequence, compelled in directions by drunkenness,
a chance encounter behind shut doors. A disturbance
under the stairs. How love divides us. Go on. This is someone
else's life she's playing. We used to talk until all hours.
But we've used all the words. In trying to predict disasters

or one miracle after another, depending on how you look
at it. A lifeforce on both sides like a river. Where you ask
permission to enter—but water takes the path of least
resistance, or so they say, conveying pleasure, or this.
In overabundance, seeping as it follows its own slow noise.
I've a feeling I could provoke a reaction. I read

"women in danger" as "walk in a jar" and thought
of entrapment, inequality, feminism. Which is better, before
or after. Our underlying currents reduced to patterns.


The age of insecurity 

it takes an expense of will
(or an effort of wing)
to reach this point
from where we look down on
milling humanity, a city
quietly pulsing (as if
a living city ever achieves quiet)
taking the path of least
resistance between hillocks
as it spreads to overwhelm

the rising smoke, biblically
miraculous, conventionally claims
the epithet ‘plume’ as if
a feather could ever
be this threatening, yet

we see, in our uniquely
privileged moment, how this
metaphor might also apply
to an escape of oil
in deep sea, ink on a quill
written into the terrifying world
where the innocent eye sees nothing

no pattern in the shape the rocks take
or the inbuilt obsolescence of highrise
blocks that will flex with the mantle
only so far, strain maps of bridges
with colossal catapult potential
should they lose their bearings
in the good earth

blurring the continuities
we take one element for another,
water for breathing, plutonium for fire,
catastrophism as a way of life

in the 17th century some scientists
wanted shot of Aristotle,
the Swift response ridicule
of the scientists (a category
not yet so defined)

Edison was no scientist but an entrepreneur,
the electric chair an advertising gambit;
dams at Niagara might have powered Atlantic City,
current turning one wheel to spin another
as a photovoltaic sun
lights up the Vegas night

& what of Volta now?
his name subsumed, an eddy in the currents
swirled with Ampere & Watt

the pattern’s in the pile,
affairs cunningly woven &
trodden underfoot