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Ray DiPalma

Obloquium & Committer of Tidings:

Ten poems


Discerning a spectacle in the collisions of welcome
he returns a false note to the mystery—
but the crowd is so large no strangeness is noted

The haunts of inward commemoration—
a harvest of vicissitudes and necessary arrangements
—welts perfected as scars


From the unseen to the supposed
from the made seen to the determined
from the imponderable to the accrued
from the distant to the undoubted
from the unencountered to the sympathetic

Abstracting and indexing the pleroma into a final shuddering apathy
—ellipsis of environ [sequitur’s commission] with skyscape

Lines of longitude lines of latitude lines of lines

There is no trail here
Yet this is the beaten path


From melismas to miasmas

a new disposition presaged by celestial portents and
to be found in the numerological significance of 7 and 9
signaling rapprochement within the shadows of ideas
where the owl swallows the snake
bestia trionfante
—general ferment


Rhythmic variance and psycho-acoustic illusions
tied to economic volatility

Disorganized but manifold

Hammer and spring
Bangles, heavy seeds, clock parts, and felt

While the bottom end drifts
the top end is brought slowly into tune


Undone, as a man would ride an inch behind an oyster.
It is hard for an empty bag to cut down an oak for pears.
To sit upright would undo an oyster.


Not altogether invented

Say instead

Unraveled in a timely way

From a jagged refrain with a buoyant timbre

To a zealous clemency of song and chimney whistles


Confidential talk, expostulations, ambiguous moral responses

Depictions and guises

Under the temple roof

A life of the voice—
Voices—basso ostinato
A calculus of attention
Materia prima volta

Provisioned with forgotten details
—a trick of assimilation

Waiting to be chewed into cause and effect


A kingdom of pagodas

diplomacy and requiems

serendipitous oblivion

senza rigore

brooding and prone to the maladroit


Not a thousand times
another thousand times

to the urgent accompaniment
of its own devising

The meta and the –phor
Bourd to bourdon

Belief by philosophical illusion

—almost reticent a part
attached to its own absence

a stratagem of mistrust

Has the logos miscarried


as a search
for synthesis

—given formal

The ranking of resolutions
the colors of circumstance
mistaken for a path to the green sun

only the lineaments of the strategies
discerned or obscurely preferred
never their intended goal

You can read another seven 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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