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Evan Willner


      ‘Three of Wittgenstein’s brothers committed suicide.
        Three of Wittgenstein’s father’s sons committed suicide.’
               — Reader’s Block, by David Markson, who doesn’t know who I am.

Three of Ludwig’s brothers killed themselves,
Wittgensteins all. We wonder at the supersaturated night at
winter’s sloppy semi-absences as their
brother makes of stars
constellations which they become.

Dug from the stiffening earth, they are
spongy and we can suck from them potential,
warming milk; they are waiting
or tunnelling subway trains or whatever overground, whipped cream or
our corporeal, real-time doubles, or
the worms that suck at Ludwig’s father’s sons,
or can be.         They are everready so
we rub them over ourselves
to make us visible, dogs
who want to smell real,
sexy, shedding thanks over and again
for letting us live for a time in their versatile skins;
and they’re not even rot anymore — they’re
all that we talk about.

The philosopher-brother blocks sunlight,
is tangible to every sense. What
we feel on our surfaces, we can be sure of
and he is actual, dead, as galactic light-giving objects
are to us. He is sure.

The author-brother is inserted between us and we
mole around, making way for tunnelling subway trains,
careening to the surface, for a moment flesh on wind, on the verge,
and we moan for the four of them —
those who could be and him who is —
because it fills our time,
echoing, hellenic and ceaseless,
and never for us.
Even we are never for us, as
three of Ludwig’s mother’s sons
committed suicide. Even here
they are dead. Even we
mouth them now and miss them;
they’re all we have, superfluous
we who have, waiting for some coming of our own,
lived out a sentence in someone else’s starting world
of the remainder of us, neither questions nor answers,
not brilliant and not dead.

August 2003  |  Jacket 23   Contents page
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