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J A C K E T  # 4
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C h a r l e s   A l e x a n d e r
&   S h e i l a   M u r p h y

from Prayer, Rupture, Dwelling
          . . . a collaboration
Oh, that bitterness. Taste of wheat in the field, cakes at breakfast. No middle, middling, or mildness, only inside. The attraction of the distant, sun hats in a pool, unframed. All sizes fit something. These are not things unless tuned, unless less than turned. Shifting light on water.


wearing a head
two sizes too
small instead
of socks to
lightly tread
the foreign
well fed
early risen
back to bed
can't get clear
of blue or red
today so far

Measures brand distant colors and geometries. Homeopathic remedies challenge substance: stronger when more faint, when shaken. A string a thing to crawl on. How we come near reasons for questions. In vast dark you could take a piece of and touch nothing.

venture toward away
points hand drawn
upon maps sans
urge to claim
even caress
trust motion
simply relaxation

You (yes, directly here, you with whom) never touch nothing, though you may try (or not, there, hand on, flesh). One has reasons. Home remains shaken, coast to line. Caress may claim pieces of clay, syllables are maps.

hand upon
the urge to
foreign, mapping
sun hats and
water glare
fanfare for
washing and
domestic color
not collapsing
to move one
hundred miles
in one day
with no steps
asking me (who)
wants arc
to reach point
never or twice
but remain
not remain

Samplification buys this (remains) -- There is a reach to follow. Are patterns twice. Prediction is the final laziness. Objective as edible flowers, begonias, say. These miles full of I- can- prove- this- piece- of- clay- has- tried- (existing). But to approach (

a little silence first
the arms around
an observation of
a process not
my own
piece of the article
on pillars, missing
due to a highlighter
pen that ruined
in the fax
the text

Even if your first desire is to make the line without break, think about its elements as pillars. Nothing is built on nothing. Text can be in Texas. A poem maps its own language, susceptible to inquiry. I can not prove this. I can drive for miles. I can approach. How will you step?

class matters
as desks
metal rules
afterthought of
economics not
your own process
form and
contest repeats
flux until
water stops
for air

Hesitation props itself up. Measures in-flow. Infrared sheds light on quicksand-slanted dampness. More emerging lines. With sidebar's single element. A parent. Outcome. Dearth of matter.

air repeats thought
matters after form
dry creekbed rules
until free poured
african daisies plentiful
redeem the median

From wings and words to this, by the side of the road. The number of a's equals the number of i's in "african daisies. " This may be where mathematics enters, counting letters, syllables. "Redeem" is more monochromatic, and changes entirely as it becomes "redemption." Dry is as air in June, here.

No free draft
as in locution
rules of grammar
pour foreclosed
plenty of room
for breathing
flowers in bed
with no hesitation

Counting asks for differences, two-color, more. Rules, sensed or known, guide flow along the breathing with/in hesitation. Scenery becomes the probability of being held. For gravity the paradox relaxes mind to free locution. Parabola, lui-meme. Fractions of salt where fragrances . . .

if touch
not radish
but a rash
of median
(already known)
temperate darlings
perhaps lately foregone
in favor of

Invention is the right to know. Senses divide into two colors, which is the road taken? Something descrying the nation, finding middles of roads, neglecting to position self in the scenery. Louis blew his horn like no one. Sound along a curve.

if not
but of
in of
points on a
tangents in a
late and
with various

All center all not center. Margins are the pretty ones. Where in a grateful peace, a celibate prolonged intention. Riding rich stalled beam of tangent to. And whim so doppler as to be a thirst complete in this vibration. Stirred from geometry that someone sculpted. I would give anything to touch (various), not to have touched.

amend talk
map each
point ripened
through invention

Fetching memories as fish jumping. I would not whim to beam, tangents to not touching. One center holding, the other thousands filling with fish. We repeat the jumping things.
Sheila Murphy
Charles Alexander
Charles Alexander's books of poetry are Hopeful Buildings and arc of light/dark matter. Among several chapbooks are the recent Pushing Water, parts 1-6 and Pushing Water, part 7 (published in the same volume as Tom Raworth's 3 Poems). A new book, Four Ninety Eight to Seven, is forthcoming from Meow Press. Alexander is the founder and director of Chax Press. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with visual artist Cynthia Miller and their two children.
Sheila E. Murphy's LETTERS TO UNFINISHED J. was selected in for publication in the New Poetry Series Competition by Sun & Moon Press (Judge: Dennis Phillips) and will appear from Sun & Moon. Her FALLING IN LOVE FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU SYNTAX: SELECTED AND NEW POEMS appeared from Potes & Poets Press in 1997. A SOUND THE MOBILE MAKES IN WIND: 50 AMERICAN HAIBUN appears on the Mudlark Website located at Her home is in Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
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