2007 minus one

새해 복 많이 받으세요

& a poem from 40 Meditations on the Stations of Mansur al-Hallaj for end of December celebrations in this fading year 2006.

24. captivity (inqiyad)

does it come before
or after the nativity?

is it the artist or the audience?
the ox or the manger?

is that Jackson I hear
saying “Schwitters”?

that was real applause
not just captive apple sauce.

& don’t you come with
that inequity stuff,

we do what we do
peculiar, fast & witty.

“cashmere” would be great
to pace the yard in

captivity. or the streets
of an old native city.

you are on loan wherever
you are, the museums

have handed you back to
the streets, less menacées

than he would have you believe.
this is not a charade

though not a nativity story
either. capacitors are useful

even if the jar is back home in
Leyden, held captive

between two plates that
conduct themselves badly

& have to be separated by mica,
oil, paper or tantalum,

a rare yet lustrous transition
metal, not named after the man

Tantalus who was from all over
the place if you read the ancients

until set down in captivity
in the deepest layer of Tartarus

for ripping some food & wine
off his father’s table. bad

manners will always get you
into one desert or another.

sacrificing a son won’t let you
off the hook, however. leave that to

the shamans, they’re buddy buddy
with mystic death and transfiguration.

& know that you can’t steal a dog:
they just keep after you, wanted or not

& you may never know if they got the scent
off that cashmere sweater. keep to cats. or

stay in the desert: there’s no fruit tree,
no pool of water, no low branches to

tempt you. a Hölderlin poem with a
drunken swan keeps coming up

in your dream. a forewarning or
a rapt image of paradise. don’t let it go.

Pierre Joris

December 22-27 2006

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