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Jacket 16 — March 2002   |   # 16  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |    

Overland magazine feature

Ron Silliman

The Satellite

From VOG

Aftertaste of too
much sugar the
morning after. In
voluntary clinch
below the right
shoulder. Glimpse
of Carrington’s breasts
portrayed by.
The inner life
rises up
like a wet basement.
Unseen furnace
behind the wall
or arras veil.
Obsessing desire
to count everything,
tiles in the floor,
along the rug’s rim.
What then?
An inner light
that you possess
that only I can see
             The quickest road
is through the body.
The great gasp
by which I
empty fluid
into your flesh,
so much punctuation.
It is the driver
of the shuttle
who is new
to the region.
In the dream I’m
at Rachel’s house
about to respond
to an inquisition
and in so doing
to make clear
finally and forever
what I reallythink
when I wake up.
Known in the business as
a mezzanine loan.
It’s a long way
to temporary
& a long why from whom.
Click-song of the poets.
A young man at Wendy’s
hunches over the orange table
to explain to the older couple
(I see no family resemblance)
that the literalness
of the Bible
is non-negotiable.
Try to I.D.
that road kill.
Black ice in the mall lot.
The too-pink salmon
under the fish counter lights.
Mild Italian sausage
as long & twisted
as human intestines.
The next morning
Melnick calls back
to reiterate that he hopes
that I shan’t
repeat what he
said about X.
A great crisp air
precedes snow.
Connotation’s bandwidth:
how else
to benchmark the poem?
Passion particular
to a relationship
20 years in the making
(operators are standing by).
The kids are asleep,
lets peek in.
Raw bone
beneath the thin web
of gum.
              I come
to the window in the dark
to within inches
of the young buck
(fine thin antlers)
grazing in the flowers.
In 1947, the first
edition of Books
in Printlists all
85,000; in 1996,
there were 1.3
million (140,000
alone printed
just that year).
What is more intimate
than the poem,
lyric declaimed
to a silent cast
of dozens (doing the . . .).
Bone spur
cutting through the jaw
at the site of
the extraction.
A stool topples
in the wilderness
and who
hears me call
your name,
raising questions
(in Hawaii
a student of Bob
Wilson’s, breathlessly
‘I too
have a spiritual
well, as, who doesn’t?).
After a week,
the fiddle takes on
that ‘old snow’ look,
mottled with deer and
rabbit tracks,
spotted with the last
few stray leaves.
Winter’s grayscale
paints the park.
In the dream I
want to throw
the pizza out
of anger but
cannot find it.
Woman at the Hertz
desk says that
‘due to extreme
blizzard conditions,
wouldn’t you rather
take a cab?’
Ennui frozen:
body language
of stranded passengers
in an airport lobby.
Gestures with one hand,
holding the phone in the other.
Wind blows the dry snow
like sand in the desert.
In the dream I
am bitten by
a street person
who explains why
‘this is necessary.’
Discovery Zone:
Noise R Us.
Distant, beyond the woods
all night, just
at the edge of
hearing, a dull hum.
Not noirville but
retro in skates
exposed — raw, red
(roll over and
face the fullness
of the swollen moon),
dripping — my fingers, lips
at the tip of,
my tongue inserted
(back arched, buttocks
clinched, thighs grip
my skull), sweet
salt taste of
(no noun needed).
The sweatshirt on backwards
feels just wrong enough.
Weird quadri-
lateral of light
stretched across
the night garden
tells me
she’s awake.
Three cops wedged in
to the back corner nook
at Burger King.
Planet of the Japes
of the sifted child).
First sun
in eight weeks
cold to the touch.
Beauty understood
as sadness and
sadness beauty
gives his art
its elegiac tone
(sad hum of
overhead fluorescents),
little boy void
of fun now
in middle years.
Red clot of
dried blood snot.
For our con-
                each pen
has been pre-chewed.
Red beef farts.
How perfectly
they’ve designed the soup
he or she has designed
the soup, corn’s
perfect yellow yin
to the black bean’s yang
(or is it    was it
the other way ‘round),
this is the dawn
ing of the
age of
blanched asparagus
(under the green
napkin a roll
that has been quartered)
white paper cover
atop the table cloth,
laundry tag still
stapled to its corner.
Ice stings the phantom tooth.
Airport news network
blares on unwatched.
A long walk
in the desert
night air (middle
of winter)
past the strip
malls of Tempe.
Excuse me, Snow White.

Ron Silliman lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two sons, and works as a market analyst in the computer industry. He edited the important anthology In the American Tree and his collection of talks and essays, The New Sentence has gone into multiple printings. Since 1979 Ron Silliman has been writing a poem entitled The Alphabet. So far the project includes eleven books including N/O, Toner, What and Xing. A new edition of his long poem Tjanting is forthcoming from Salt Publications in Cambridge, UK.

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