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A Tonalist Poetry Feature

Ray DiPalma

Obloquium and Committer of Tidings

Seven poems


Clothed in old sacking he mounted his horse and departed — with much reluctance — upon bidding farewell his host went in and closed the door — as the rains began the rider’s greyhounds — who had always loved him so much — followed closely of their own free will — knowing in the pious gloom that they would never exchange their present master for a stranger — and that his loyalty to them would always be without compromise —


In the remaining quadrant
where even at sea level the fields
slant away to the north and
all that is cherished is revenged

Never thought to say
never thought to ask
never thought to tell
Propinquity extinction mimesis —

The brass lark atop the harp — solemn as a shovel —
a protégé of indeterminate origin pleasing itself

Time was when it seemed
And the only certainty
The perfected proportions of the knot


Stretching the planks — and the grain — into panorama
An enthusiastic charm in the distances is suggested

Disabused by apathy and formulae
— duped by language inexorably lacking
by its very nature the incontrovertible

Properly reasonable the rarely questioned
restores consent to the bleakness

Audition and addition unreciprocated
make a fate of multiplication

The colony of the mirror
advances the lex into the elixir
unrolls and props the tower


Descriptive or orientational
— the authoritative is drawn from elements of both

convincing, confirming — equally ‘truly’
as a work of information

against an unrecognizable landscape
— I regret I have not been there

the surface of the page, a literal place like the world itself
— needing to resolve spatial relationships

beyond the mental margins
thinking has grown lies in the work


Interruption as mechanism
Captivities for punctuation
Suspicious hesitation and point of place all would explain
The reluctant understanding of the initiated

The sleepers sing

As I sit here

In the resolving distance

Books become merely the tables of increment
Assigned one desire only

A plague of mutual consent

Amid the smell of routine errand

Diminuendo al niente


Anticlassical, self-determined, ascetic

Docile, earnest — condensed and altered

What is this good sense —
its friendly even intimate rewards soon burdened
with elaborations and questions
remarks, dialogues, and ideas
— improvisatory embellishments
bagatelles and measured extended compliments
conversational games and lexical occasions
predicated on repudiation and displacement

All enabling only a step
sideways and an opportunity to find
a place in line



The tearing off
The dropping away
The falling into

The tearing away
The falling off
The dropping into

The dropping off
The tearing into
The falling away

You can read another ten poems from this series in this issue of Jacket.

Ray DiPalma

Ray DiPalma

Ray DiPalma’s recent books include The Ancient Use of Stone (Seismicity Editions, 2009), Pensieri (Echo Park Press, 2009), Further Apocrypha (Pie in the Sky Press, 2009), L’Usage ancien de la pierre (Éditions Grèges, 2007), Quatre Poèmes (Éditions Comp’Act, 2006) (both books translated into French by Vincent Dussol), and Caper, Volume I. (ML & NLF, 2006). Among his earlier collections are Numbers and Tempers, Le Tombeau de Reverdy, Provocations, Hôtel des Ruines, Gnossiennes, and Letters. He lives in New York City and teaches at the School of Visual Arts.

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