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Douglas Barbour Feature

Dennis Cooley: Two poems

Hyoid / Lungs Flapping


Allowing for the production of a wide range of sounds that other animals cannot produce, it allows a wider range of tongue, pharyngeal and laryngeal movements by bracing these structures alongside each other in order to produce variation. —Wikipedia

it being neither of Ovid nor ovoid
how then seeing neither
hide nor hair of to speak of
                         or avoid

it being hy brid
             if only in rhyming
                               what comes of loving
the sound of the words in our mouths
that kind of avid that sort of pleasure
                 gravid with the drag of gravel
     buoyed in the loosening of lute

what when in lack of
we wishing to speak
are devoid of word
null & void in a word
absurd so to speak
haven’t you heard the word
is null & noid is turd
gid with closing giddy with air

what then in long-legged time
to make of the high bird
crying in the LMs

  what it is to enunciate
where the bone being disarticulate
     brings us into art
iculation to voices shoved from throats
     shooed into the hot dry air

why this shy bone at the back of the throat
                         & how is it
held by muscle & ligament
     what has it meant
to lie there silent & waiting

what slip page do we risk          
      bidden to speech
                in wet & car
tilagenous zones ear
rogenous responses

"shaped like the letter upsilon" (υ)
with up so floating many sounds round
as initial letter a rough breathing
& from which in rome four more
letters arose: V and Y and
       much later U and W

all those forked & hollow shapes
all on a small shovel in the tongue

                                    small horse
   shoe of hope & wish
that hoards its sounds
small dish of phonemes

which when we’re dead
is hied out of hiding
gaiety transfiguring all that read
falls silently out of our head
       foremost of all
sheds its once sounds

& what then of the four
obsolete letters we know
as Digamma Qoppa San
and Sampi late of
lately deceased
come at last to O
mega or to Zed which
ever comes last
so abso

you could bet
your life on
that at least that is
what i am
what we all are
counting on

Dennis Cooley

lungs flapping

(for douglas barbour)

the air up
the throat an elevator

brain an incinerator
headed for light
you feel light
-headed when it

                   drags itself up
                                       & over
epi glot tis roof tongue cheek teeth lip
clouds scrap ing rain off
the mount ains a roundness
threads into pock ets into
clicks that go off like tickers

into murmu rings and buzz es
air that cre ates dings and bur stings
exp losions of lips vib rations
in bone a gul ping off lesh

a ru shing through
bone ands oft tissue
tis of you & of us
ho ldings to pa late
a cur ling of tongue
a tigh tening of ch
eeks the pres
sing to tee th
a to ngue ins ide
we tness moving
war mandt hick

              birds e scaping
thew armth of their f light
the moistness the most
       ness of their lives

in the green or
chards of our talk
the silk clouds are burning
the ir music

         every w here ri sing
                     rin sing
   us out

Editor’s note: The original layout of these two poems made their indentations and inter-word spacing difficult to reproduce in HTML. A four-page PDF version was converted to GIF images and is appended here. Scroll down to see all four pages.
 — Editor.

Cooley, 2 poems, page 1 of 4
Cooley, 2 poems, page 2 of 4
Cooley, 2 poems, page 3 of 4
Cooley, 2 poems, page 4 of 4


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