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Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Draft 66: Scroll

down and remember
little museums of the commonplace
incorporating clutter evidence —
forêt foreign dreams,
like a hut, structured
out of streaky layers of clouds.
“If this ain’t yours, it’s no one’s”
trans-genic bacteria, plus us
need 4 more planet Earths
to all consume like U.S. citizens
So yell “Trigger Treat”
without fraying, or unraveling
Folded inside these intricacies
it’s collateral wreckage
Is this the Tentieth Century?
Dream boy, glass tubes of water
hung on strings, all over limbs
where scrolls, where ropes unwound
in their own lithic labyrinths

Scrawled inchoate specs
want a different outcome
want no extinct orioles
want to replace
Snide Rhetorics of “scare quotes”
from well-oiled power centers
After the first performance
people began to weep
twisted with pity
they had lived through it
while it happened to them
Again to recognize
they were the subject, subjected
they made few noises, all internal
in vigil, vigilant
in doubt, double doubt
en route, rolling out
even perhaps to be forgotten,
deep in their own distance

That smudge on the wall
there at the abutment
part of the machine yet
when it wasn’t, was
a dream of playing the harp!
a hasp? nothing could tune
the red and blue strings
colored tonalities of neon, framing
Mall & Interstate —
proceedings just 4.17% Homeric
shadows telling stories in
tanglophone poetry
Not a text and gloss but
structured as gloss next to gloss
no center, no side, just
swerving and looping
querying what aspect is marginal
how to travel it, how to rethink —
And the Best-Loved Poems of America?

Patchy roads and fast foods
educational outlets in strip malls
pinguid gluts, unknowable nauseas
Shopping binge
Read the signs as you walk
read them, trying to figure how
branches suggest
the menace of marks
for “bored” viewers
Field guide to
the urgency
Photo opp, then retouched
branded with the mark of this ... — —
Need Ur-freeze defrost
Need evocation of reality
the paper made of
considerable Post-Consumer Waste
and saying danger here and now.
The time emits a million tones

Not at ease here
can barely bear
to state the rage and grief but
can essay a letter, forwarding
parchment traditional for this act
in brightness, failure and vigil
versus a world-system
to stand and chant, roar and mutter —
with deepened meaning
how it splits the light into
colors under black letter,
phrases calling
maneuvering the underneath
a vast opening behind small letters
Barely. Anyone literate?
There are no sentences
performed without residue
Were some, were many,
half-hazardly used, destroyed.

Cry your heard out
But something else is needed.
Those dashing dots stare at
The Now: sublime recognition
the pain of thinking beyond
our air rights
inside a hundred and eight anguishes
Pocked and precious
incomplete bits and scraps
each word, declarative, going
perfectly en route, like spectra
extending to exilic plenitude
down along the gleaming tracks
that can transpose a suppurating time to
“dimensions that are tightly curled”
in “the folded fabric of” this history —
Question “what now?”
may not assuage our damage; the
Here, the administered Interdiction

to Resist Monoculture with
heritage temporalities
in which someone awaits
the uncanny
raffish as a basket
This is one more clot of rope
the lumpish, the odd, the lumpen
dumped together in a field
o sodden struggling Scribes
cannot keep up with this
You’d think tight knots would stay put
but this was not so, for
every letter made a slip knot,
and many serifs got used as Law.
Who is expendable?
“Every poem has an alter ego”
where throws of the die
do not abolish or resolve
fear, judgment, rage, and shame.

Shame on every level
from cataclysmic dreams
whose color bled all over
this irremediable failure
coupage of mottled views
edge the guttered site
In mendicant contact zones
envoys, aureoles, reflectors set
by scratchy tain-holed mirrors
as if prescient—
it’s their own abandonment, They had
epiphanies of mourning
with imprints of this time
evoking dots, blanks, lags, gaps
whose intensity of conviction
signaled unfinished business
folded in a thick danger
Revenants smoldered
holding brands of sporadic memory.

A nubbin-stub of charcoal
engineers an allusion to signs
no longer simple and
no longer complicit
but had no spot to locate
this desire for rough limpidity
that crystallized, criticizing
the gigantism of conventional beauty
“taken for granite,” as against
a nekuia based on digression
pentatonic debacle,
at this fond du siècle.
So much wells up at once, thus
a lava-ribbon of text emerged
instabilities of liquid rock
with factures, overleafs and turns
to what; how ask why this is so:
one lives here, now in riddled exposure--
Stay with your luggage.

Failed development paradigm
arousal to justice deferred
given box stores filled with stuff
Cheap as blood,
vigil memory error theater
plastics choking
both ruthless failure
and unspeakable, forgotten hopes
that alphabets nonetheless pleat and gather.
Political autism and rage
in tempore belli
with burning and dodging techniques
so where is our N to stand? No where?
need clarity of Letter, exfoliated
need possibility of analyzing
foregone recent history
palimpsested realism,
One sybil-syllable, then another folds
tympanic membrane overloads.

Even with normal phonemes
forming dark words, they hardly suffice
for a smallest local hope; still,
arousal rolled back on itself,
making a scroll, another scroll,
constructing vectored shadow verses
tracing and sounding—letters
A coral yad, a mini-hand points
at Text. This insistence is fractal in
dazed & folded readings, for it finds
normal life a little odd but
out in full force,
unpredictably; and because of that,
hope started again and then again.
Calibrate the costs of this arousal
There are so many sentences
yet all completely haunted
such squandered squadrons
These “materials have memory.”

Forlorn shoppers
Cross-eyed interface of Not and Yet
whatever else we wanted from
quotidian detail and
plethoras; we need—
dizzy from a dream concussion
where 9/10 of the text lies buried in dust—
to find these strips of scrip (tore)
that list so many tasks. To start
Again. Not again! in the imperfect moment
again to unroll the scroll
like this. In Yet and Yes. Id est:
all the letters, N and Y, J and A,
X, and explore intricacy along the way
e.g. inside necessity, where something
sought transformative connection; yet the
half-bleak, and half-pending
Tainted Spot still dominates
with its official, absolutist sign—

“Warning: No Person To Go Beyond This Point.”         

Yet need to seize a space to claim an exodus.         

March-December 2004, January-June 2005

Notes to Draft 66: Scroll.

— “For each person in the world to reach present U.S. levels of consumption with existing technology would require four more planet Earths.” E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life.

— Dumping in the field is a reminiscence of the 2001 Agnes Varda film called (in English) The Gleaners and I.

— “Trigger Treat” is something kids may say on Hallowe’en, a fact noticed by Lorine Niedecker.

— “Every poem has an alter ego,” Jed Rasula, This Compost, 79.

— The incident in stanza two is based (I seem to remember) on work by Shostakovich. The end of stanza two is a modified version of the end of Un Coup de Dés:
“veillant/ doutant/ roulant/ brillant et méditant”;

in the Daisy Aldan translation:
    “Watching/ doubting/ revolving/ blazing and meditating”;

in the J.P. Houston translation:
    “keeping vigil/ in doubt/ turning/ luminous and meditative”;

in the Henry Weinfield:
    “keeping vigil/ doubting/ rolling/ shining and meditating.

— “ In tempore belli (in time of war) used by George Crumb to date his string quartet
“Black Angels” (1970).

— “Materials have memory” stated by Alison Saar about her collages:
“I love the idea that materials have memory, the idea of working with materials that have experienced more than I have.” Saar in an interview with bell hooks, in Art on My Mind, 22.

— “There are no sentences performed without residue,” was said in a class by Melody Holmes.

— “Dimensions that are tightly curled into the folded fabric of [the cosmos]” from Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, 6.

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