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Susan M.Schultz

Game Day

To snuff the magic at mid-
court, propound instead
a lullaby for the inadmissible
few who sojourn in the woods
of such knowledge as transposes
image into sound, sound into
principle on the instalment plan
aimed at reigning in interest
rates that measure our affinities
to able managers who hijack
purpose, propose organization
without the muddy ransom
process turns toward, like a gun
without its trigger finger or keys
without compression into
music, immanence waiting
in the lobby where neon supplants
thinking and the thought is more
than becoming but less than fact.

Language stalled, these months,
when presence erupted like a fuse,
on-light lit to mark entry of
instance, autobiography in the kiss
and not the tell, gratification
notched as by the glinted eye
in the photo, his against mine
until the stammer is the sound
before the sound meaning
acquires in coming to, lacking
the bends as perceptual symptom,
body’s dyslexia inverting pyramids
of sequential thought like scramblers
set on automatic, then jettisoned
for kinder anarchies of figure, act
in the shadow of a “whole mind,”
the heartbeat of God’s ad-
monishment, his musing on us,
abstract painters of his unglassed
world. Shake and ye shall be
transformed, seated to arrive
at a province newly named if not
created, plane cutting down,
mid-city, to an airport umbrella’ed
by high-rises and the steel
glint commerce circumscribes,
dictation noted then forwarded
to bureaus of appeal and sentience.
(The robots we are direct
animate projects, sales quick
on sun spots and other negatives,
as if beauty could be inflected
only through grace and that through
impediment). Or if elevators could
lift us before our decision sciences
course ended for the summer and we
entered the chaotic field of, if not
indifference, then an enabled slouch
that took with it those resonances
that had been your task before,
pronouns pointing to you, if not
to him who saw a bee hive on Guam
the size of a torpedo and fuller
with the honey that catches
the tongue before it snaps
in anger or false assessment.

Emergencies occur as needed
to propel the narrative, ship
partially crushed under a script’s
weight, actors building muscle
on its actuarial tables, those
designed to cover losses
in the aesthetic calm of a multi-
colored graph, science a comfort
on that level, if no other, aid
to counting that is memory on
an even scale, one the poet
compresses to a single line
and then collects, as toll,
before the parting of the words
returns her to the place
where immanence is its own
beginning and the end is
just a lark in the stew.

Susan Schultz with importunate fan, Buffalo, 1997

Photo : Susan Schultz with importunate fan, Buffalo, 1997, courtesy State University of New York at Buffalo Electronic Poetry Center.

Susan M.Schultz teaches at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu and is the editor of TINFISH magazine. She edited The Tribe of John, a collection of essays on John Ashbery’s influence by fourteen scholars and poet-critics. (University of Alabama Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8173-0767-2.)

Her latest book of poetry is Earthquake Dreams (1995, a limited edition of 100 copies from Standing Stones Press, 7 Circle Pines, Morris, MN 56267, USA.)

Susan M.Schultz has a piece on Poetics at Buffalo in Boxkite, a new Australian literary magazine. You can read the reprint of this article (“Poetics at Buffalo”) in this issue of Jacket.

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