ROME,
A MOBILE HOME

Jerry Estrin


Contents

Rome, A Mobile Home

Citizen's Dash

Brace

Counter Song

Nudes


ROME,
A MOBILE HOME

Between each gesture of the arm and the ball castoff to some distant alley, the eye 
moves still, foreigner to the other talkative physical things, the imagination of each 
geographic sequel and great instrumental fusion with our own piece of mirrored 
breathing suggesting syntactical essences:

Caesar's army Caesar's earphones Brutus's valise Caesar's saw Brutus's arrow Brutus's 
clothespin Caesar's pin Brutus's apple.

Planets and chairs, wheels, Caesar's syntax links up the spaces separating Roman cities, 
his signs hold up the stars: Sid Caesar, Jack Nicholson, Broderick Crawford, Benito 
Mussolini.

----------


He is a smart ass. Instantly, like the illusion, his illustration vanishes. An artful mass 
makes him snicker, a flicker tugs at the mug of Caesar. Disrobe the images.-

----------


Planets and flying fish, Benito Mussolini, King Kong, the Empire State and wheels.

Think of each thing as a world being reinvented and sincerely, with that distant 
sincerity having no recognition of us 

Its prehistoric attentiveness to us.

----------


When you rush toward the flickering screen
The theater is missing.
Caesar expanded congruent with this space.

Of sovereignty there can be no grasp. To illustrate, one has only to become 
enfranchised and utterly new, constantly there are 
climate control systems in the middle of the forehead.

There are fairy tales flying into the familiar body of the empire.

Nothingness and silence, nothing but Caesar and banks,
and banks of stars.  
Were there only blank stares over Rome?

They well straight up and enter the eradicated judges.  Uneradicated judges enter 
scene by scene.

----------


Increasing excitement stimulated by wounds

The gladiator becomes a pantomime

The graffiti reveals his conquests

Pulleys, racks

"pullulation of symbols devoid of significance"

Colossal bricolage (rhyme with the author?)

----------


These hiding places put your children in front of you
and put my hand on their back.  
You twitch for what your government might do. 

I've stopped thinking, at least voluntarily.
We walk to our rooms with our measure.
I just invite you to your own pretenses.

I am using this surface repetition
but I am thinking
of what does not wear repetition away.

Control yourself.

Think of the sky and then of some sand in your hand.
We have to kill this willful technical side of ourselves to 	
    become dominant.
Bits of us will lament the unprotected.

----------


The emperor performs by watching


The universe the night sky atop the Coliseum
This blue planet is our bath
To influence the machine 

he came upon an abstraction, a system producing emperors
flat profiles, earth
undulating sentiment breezing into our little pieces of meantime.


These emperors
they think they know the end of the plot (I am you) 


An ideal reconstruction of this theater.

----------


Revenge
horsemanship
and epilepsy

Revenge
horsemanship
and eclipse

And the continual nervous massing of his army

----------


Gaps open up in the arena.

He becomes aware he is looking at a cleverly reassembled 
    puzzle.

The Coliseum become a maintenance center

Scene by scene, raging over the unpurchased clusters.

----------


In a precise sense, the grammar of the present is equally generic.

One thinks of points in space, a man with a tree growing out of his head 

At the point where the roots meet the brain

the present.

----------


Under the portraits of the emperor which are stupid and heavy, seeing is dangerous 
because speech belongs to it. Men, philosophy, and troop strength are falling.

----------


A scribe once meant a closer, as those who enclose. Hence relief, as a kind of unarmed 
relief pitcher, fleeing the very field of the game. Caesar say was a closer within 
enclosures. 

He was the first fireball, always unfugitive.

History made him feel all here.

----------


Printing presses and propaganda offices grace the cylinder interior. Its highest room is 
for bureaucrats and revolves once each month. Another is for artists, is horizontal, and 
revolves every day. It is an erector set. Baroque frame, glitzy, unguilty and balanced 
atop two lovers' heads. The red flag is our salvation. Great Lenin is dead. Repose, the 
exaltation of scale, the geometric purification. Lenin continues to live on thin metal in 
a commissar's tomb. Lenin, who used history to mean against resignation. History is 
what it is. Forget history. The International is our rocket ship.

----------


Ideal, the emperor poses in his bridal veil
He would personify us as we resist 

ourselves the phantoms of his spectacle

Lips parted, resemblance blind, unmade 
according to practical terror 

Recognize us, existing after 
this citizen's gesture

----------


Fluorescent, incandescent, and sunlight
These are sources of exhibition light
Assume responsibility as a hostage

Every image is a lone musical
Sandstone humanizes into faces
The sea fills with an artifice of light, strength and 		       indifference
of sound still bordering its very traces

Proximity, following the ordinal, the measured nearness after 	     daylight
Avoid those with a taste for prescription
Proximity, in the neighborhood of

Always, it is the conqueror's history which is mine
Augustus, Prince of youth
The eight divisions of the Rhine

Hebrew is the language spoken in paradise
The emperor's chariot is riderless

----------


In dreams, no bystanders have faces
except we two, who still talk in rooms 

of vivid rooms

The regime is overturned
The glass of the palace exploded

though now that explosion is irremediably soundless
Song by analogy

There are no masses
only ways of serving people

as masses

When our time enters history
the need for parody will become remote

----------


Each no is a progress rendered by capital

A history of Kuwait, Bullion City

A history of pleasantness can be arranged

Stacks of stolen loot still steady our metaphysical Mercedes as we zoom to the border 
still being carried away

Bullet holes in the glass of Iraq

A politics for the present

With its repertoire 

This picture is on strike

----------


A line drawn in the sand, a line
To arrive, promising an endless beginning

A synchronistic citizen, a cynical
Line drawn as a calculus of transitions

A continent of time
To separate the citizens from their senses

Splendors of democracy
Plaintiffs of autonomous community

Left to gather where ever they can and will
A progression of lines forming the regular Pleiades

Fearful distances of spectacular contempt
A line of citizens, absorbed in the ubiquity

of the present trauma

----------


Humanity and clemency to those he overpowered
Kindness to soldiers
And hearty service

Caesar killed one million Gauls
And took another one million hostage
Glory, courage, love of honor

Taut stomach
Grace and gravity
Rest in the pursuit of action

One hundred and ninety thousand nasty fighting men
These barbarians will reoccupy the very cities 
     they have burnt

Weak unmanly feelings
Glory, spoils, and bodies of the slain
Where the marshes run deep and all rivers are Rubicons

Gratify Caesar
The willful universe
Relentlessly burning into the ground beneath its very
     likeness

Gratify Caesar

----------


Who appointed you 
To inspect the archives of the empire

"Shadow hidden in depths"
Sad mask of unrelenting ingenuousness

Holidays are days of resemblance

----------


A garland of civic duty
Unguilty Catullus
And types of silence

From ambiguity to complicity

Before each ricochet you
Undo my passport, I yours,
And down we slide, stark

Naked, 
Cool
Twinless

Oh, 

If I believed that

----------


The socratic colonnade at Alexandria
grove of the hero's lyrics

Predators or presence of verbs

Silhouettes of the Venetian sailor, the byzantine surface of the 
sea ballooning up 

----------


			Softness will come to me as my chance.

There is an interval, a caress when I say this, its delicate 
fathomless distance

My heroes had no strength for this

They were the translators who made history.  An inheritance

----------


Alexander the Macedonian gangster

Alexander, Aristotle's scholar


History supernaturally signified

But the tyrant has lost his speech

		and falls into a swoon


An ancient whiteout, randomized and grave

Ahabs, with uncolonized, unindexed eyes

If there were reverse history
Many might still cite war
A still war

		this Alexandrian war

----------


Predators or presence of verbs
A consummate whispering

Tempestuous agitation
Caesar is coming upon Rome

Logic masses battalions
The exiles have been called home

When the planets rise in accordance with our rest
Brutus, give this name to men

As ridicule
A sudden death is best

When you are asleep, Brutus
Sordid apocalypse

In the iconic sound of the distance
You are no longer Brutus

----------


Who dreams into the dark night beyond memory
To come from nowhere as one's own ultimatum

If not for the emperor our images would knit together
Light of the day

(Truth of the world)

Troubles the infinite border that burns away
Picaresque appeal

Prey of history
Alexandria

Spoils to friends
And Homer's Iliad which he kept in a booty casket

False perfection
Duplicitous story

Lebenswelt (living world)
Silence only where it is

Face with roots in facade
Defenseless face

Sovereign instant
Silence so windy in its cells

----------


Lights of the far-off town
Light an indescribable index

Figures of smoke trouble the infinite
Border that burns away

Picturesque appeal
Prey of history

Instinct for sovereignty
Preying on history

Stoic irregular sangfroid
Theater of lives

Apocalyptic anonymous flight
On frightened Puritanic sands

Instinctual separation near burden of asylum


Citizen's Dash What words are not pure There was a robbery Hollow, but tainted by conversation An enclosure soaring in mist No courage from the scattering If to surrender to it Benediction verbatim Fictional predestination Flesh and wheel ------ Light outsideless and yet pervading Ghosts of Vermeer's light Collected by princes Faces lit from the left Passivity and withdrawal The full provenance Prized by connoisseurs Censored, revelatory A metropolis for disconnected citizens Cons This human dimension Who keeps up a processional tension Imperial decay Uncontrollable at the edge Framed sanctuary or the fame of it ------ Writing covers the citizen's body A terrible mockery Tuned to transport zones Distant blaze, untemporalized Jingle To hold off estrangement With the frozen infatuation Of zero Army of armies ------ The boys from Warsaw, a kind of collective madness Wouldn't interfere, were already sacred Death to private booty, collective spoils An impossible poetry, an irreducible existence Removed Arabs from land to found a Kibbutz for Jews Choleric null point propped against onslaught A silent call, a theater Irreducible to gesture Couldn't speak, were already elsewhere ------ The law, which convulses the body As in birth Precarious and final Vertigo forms the ground of the pursuer Figure and ground Medusa headed Marble columned walking courts receding to infinity The exhilarated realist Lights the courtyard Candelabra from illusionary rooms Penetrator or penetratee The court a conjurer's marble sea The familiarity of repose ------ And it's late summer, light Grey to pearl, a vibration Dissolved in light, Our lips parted in a private Tango - Unforseen Vibration of control Palette for random Others who colors This horizon- Less me You and this edge- Less indifference. ------ The girl, moving, one knee up, circling, on the hill in the wind - in the wind by the bulldozed schoolyard, aware and yet not caring that I have seen her - while below the turmoil of the city, ships at anchor, rush-hour . . . Circle the hill in the wind By the bulldozer by the schoolyard Autonomous within your reverie White hills cancelled by color Inward cakes of creamy nothing Ramshackle rush-hour and yourself a souvenir Inviolable (and only here?) adrift in the glare ------ Magnificent pink roses, chrysanthemums in a Greek vase, the color spectrum's rhetoric in an untranslated book, apocalyptic wallpaper for the chessroom. Patience. There is a comet tail, a yellowish drip of unconscious brush stroke to the right. Have a drink. Blackness is before you and black is your favorite color. Honk. A customer will haul the installation away. Even now this gravedigger cruises on an ocean liner. He teeters on the edge of your work. Objects unrecognize you. The East is empty, there is nothing left to the West except the past, which is a groundless night, a mass solution (like panic) to solitude, an imperishable escape. Let's go to Paris. Let's live, therefore we'll think. We'll be admitted to the best seats at the Opera, indicted for treason, encouraged to seduce our new enemies, become diplomats, say grace with the trackless courtesans. There are dull beatitudes and reanimated brains. Houdini. The art of dissemination is the sign of the prodigy. ------

Citizen's Dash
He needs the job, but wants the woman. That is ambiguous, since he can't be here, in L. A., and here, outside of Reno, now and then. He needs a drink, but dust covers the dash. The desert fills up the window, the town goes on, hot and circular, then there is more dust, sheer drifts of colors, and a band, which is hot too, playing a fast kind of banged-up shiny margin, less serene than a world, tangible, as an immediate scar. The end of this serenity has no name, no grade, but plenty of occasional ambiguity. He finishes the job, the unfinished world, but the pose isn't free. Too set, too four, the hieroglyphic is the equivalent of the movie house. Each flicker holds up its tomorrow, its lived, its resplendent inertia. A slow roar kicks up dust around the ferris wheel. The black alabaster tablecloth covers no table but a cube. An eerie resemblance winks at this picture, then puts him and it, the table, back together. A restoration of contact. The contract crowds the moment. A head, his, turns, follows an hour, falling place. It is unbeguiled, this falling place, a gravity cluster. He finds some found footage, swims in it, splashes with brilliant red, refuses to merge with the blueness of shore. The shore is the eye of talk, endlessly it fuses with someone's soliloquy. Its skin is repose. He walks, up and into poses, multiplying into cities of domes, pyramids, complex miraged shelters that disappear into water. The landscape is uncolorized, advisorless, as the last, the last picture book. He marches across this horizonless map. There is a river, or what is left of it, a treacherous bridge. He puts that together with what he sees fit. Monopoly, self-mastery, a sometimes funny incongruity. Flares go off in the daze, questions light up the solo armor. He is unrehearsed stark merchandise, never mind make believe. He carves up this everyday belief into witnesses with temporary parallels. Its traces are testaments falling away from order. Unweighted, unravelling, inevitable, he turns around, he looks out a window. Vanishing points mutiny, absorb his constant glance. The citizens dash, rumoring an absence charged with a touch of babel. The air is criminal, without consonance, impossible to imitate. He says hello, offers this word for the world, free of rent, even when surrounded by it.


Brace During the 1961 season, Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's homerun record. At the conclusion of his final home run, Maris cried: I've taken my last swing, I am finished. I will now be visible forever. Diary: the grass on the field, the stands, heavy with fans, the press corps, high in the stands, and Maris, connecting with the pitch, the ball, soaring over the center-field wall . . . Maris, striking the ball, gives the home run its form. People running, the ball, invisible, in the single movement of the swing . . . Perfection of the swing, white-out of the ball, a surfeit never extinguished, asymmetrical to the distant epiphany of its form. Crowds intensely draw all stories to themselves, are capable of any form. Violence of the swing, then a roar. Without inside, Maris, after his final hit, would not speak, or rather, there was the sight of his swing, caught on camera, repeating itself, forever. Maris' swing, its constancy. Night, Maris, under Yankee Stadium light, the crowd. The crash of the ball, and Maris, caught in that instant, without inside, opening, to the evening. Goodbye, he says through the night of the stadium air. Ah, I am finished. Duration of the game, a player's ration. ------ Image of Maris, flap of pinstripes, under shadowless stadium light. Image before, Maris at the plate, bat about to explode into ball. The roar, the sound of bat on ball. The swing never post-game but prior to definition, to description to our agitation. Repose, words of prose, existing once and for all, removed from bat and ball. ------ Lights of the far-off town L.A. burning away. On the far edge of the park they shout U.S.A.! U.S.A! Now and before the game returning to itself. Wrong game. ------ Unflappable, unfathomed Maris multiplies daily. I go to the park, to watch the A's make contact (the Oakland A's). A line drive cannot help or hurt. But a line from Zukofsky's "A" 23? He is where. Death to the commissioner when Maris kills the pitch. ------ Lebenswelt The ball lost in the sun. ------ Maris A spectral mosaic Suffused by our thought of him Whose swing divorced from anything Roger, plaintiff of our autonomous community ------ In the major leagues The ballpark lights go on and off An impossible catch A seventh-inning stretch Déjà vu. I mean what the stars have to sell is their autonomy Maris, his oxygenated simplicity. ------ Think of a film, an unmoving Roger Maris, whose doll eyes never flicker. Shot of the street, of rhythmical crowds, of Roger there. Maris the modernist, sufficient to himself, has become the paradoxical hero of an instant that endures without a future.


Counter Song

The Park
The studio, its war films, its triangular affairs, quits thought with lecherous kaleidoscopes. The park, northeast beyond the irrigation ditches and the orange trees. Or the frontier then, along with some angels falling from the limbo of concrete. We take for granted, finally, this subjective wandering in the mathematics of total force, the generative steel. Unapproachable, cordoned off zones, unpenetrated flash of indeterminate milieus, paradoxically living. That's that. Is that in the park? * Anonymity (history), common sense, scattering a landscape of numbers: five hundred fifty . . . eight hundred . . . ten million . . . seventy-five thousand. The sheet music is original, not the music but its alteration. He was reading the fluctuations of the stock market (allegory: a whole which shelters us). Or: The moon above the meadow unpersuaded by this luscious illustration: so utterly feigned, commensurate with a trustworthiness which costumes the citizens; uncalculated, a moon, approaching pines on a mountain, below which, close to a window, he suddenly turns in the night to see, missing from those features - that there should properly be huge exhumed tunnels, holes in the conduit, we two climbing out, even the costumes of these citizens reflecting, contributing to the construction of a world utterly unfeigned, incommensurate. Thus the evidence obliges an existence between, an identity, an ongoing effigy. * But when I crossed the frontier, I walked across the street and ------ into the park. More than my house I need the truth of this park, I thought. But my house without a park I need too. * Orphan territory. The park, dreaming of fountains, useless play The park, where I find myself mirrored * What you see before you is the Seagram Building, New York City. Withdrawn from the kaleidoscopic image tank of the city, aloof, present in the particularity of its steel columns (its steel skeleton) and glass cover wall (its multi-directional reflecting skin), autonomous and yet proposing, through its reflecting and yet nearly transparent facades, its combination of tremendous verticality and near emptiness, its permutating mullions, its cleared space around its own staged structural foregrounding and perfection, the Seagram Building exists to be performed, dematerializing into a process of design supplied and completed by the man on the street. The citizen confronts the Seagram Building. The Seagram Building confronts the citizen. Utterly rational structural organization proposes its dialogue. A critical space, a subversive theater, an art abandoning its aura, vanishes into the politics of everyday life. * . . . A photograph of Huntington Park, the drinking fountain, with its consistency of emphasis, its metamorphic if polyphonic battlescapes imported from Rome, reportedly saved from Mussolini's bulldozers - what bulldozed memories, as some indestructible finger-painted colony, as the earthquake pinkness of the jukebox sense of this light in the park. Lead banners which resemble no presentiment, no each time. What rhyme isn't so feigned? Homage to the view? Or to perdition, only precision surviving. Sing my astronaut suit. ------ Rhyming tunnels of molten metal, 1943: German glider troops crash land on the roof of Eben Amael, Belgium. They crack its impregnable carapace with beehive munitions. Whoosh of schizoid passion Wholly equivalent capitol of unambushed pavilions escaping nuclei : He writes the form of an 'X' in the park, so as to favor the splendid and regular paradox. An analogous charge reproduces its shape. Neighborhood stores nibble brooks, hoods hide out in hedges, dock workers die on docks that redeem, garbage chutes fly our imaginations into orbit, and the grammar of ornamental slum- lords sighs under the science of the total plan. * Burial of my mother by air: shots of deserts, rivers, triangulated chartings of one's blood stream through amnesiac time zones: there were giants unsequestered as gamma rays, a dissonance of plastic thrown over bug eyes, claws, saber-toothed tiger fangs - attempts at translation. * I figured that the park could be safe if a sort of infraction. Not quite a dissected example of class, but a spurned caricature, which is already getting it back. The analysis, in all this immediate detail, but with leases, being barely an address of certainty, if a merchandise legacy, a rundown sort of original park, back at the base of the pyramid, where the weather is perfect and where every kind of tree grows. The park runs parallel to a street called banditry which presses ------ forward and unspoons the close semblance to any coupon park. And thinking as space surrounds a building, the sudden tension tightens the gaze to the park. Or say, there's fire in the park, or there's memory. Final story: lascivious fathom of waterless world, and a name so rare for it. It's winter under searchlight, feelings hardening into voyeurs and ventriloquists. You get time this way? Got a serial with your spectacle. Demolition puts people back to work. Work. * Psychic devastation: (fire ruins on Mission Street) vague shimmer of a hand pointing out the window over the park, as uncomplex as one who plays, who pays to wave in greeting: Permanent, you're permanent. The lyricism of the park peoples a purposeful corrosive theater. * In the park, the podium speaker, the ghetto blaster, the communal pleasures of the intermezzo: to rhyme with the empty hotels surrounding the park, as though the park were only what one could say of it, controlling everything, swiping authority from the gardener's shed, the drinking fountain, from geometry and winter speed, but beginning to be spring, pastel flickers of postcard seascapes, as if time could stop with one final image of beauty. Reactionary. Sensual choreography is unnaturally unnostalgic. Double parked on the street bounding the park: Cherokee Chief, Samurai, Urban Guerrilla. Everybody who says this is pretty literal in the park. ------
Counter Song
Damaged Frames (holes in the museum roof), the whispering of the background whoosh. A performance, the fortress of the person on stage. There is science fiction. There is an outlawed transmission. Our bodies outwallop any transmission. There is movement on Tuesday, budget codes and responsibility of your thighs, unprincipled, uncompleted surplus, the sources our principles are our red revenue sources, accumulating. Laws are feigned, oedipal. Each law of contempt implies its opposite, nightingale. I can lie in your sense or between your teeth. The idea of nature is transformed. There is foliage and the wind and fucking, shades of landlords, charity concerns us. This is in real time, and no long range. There is Tuesday, budget codes and responsibility. Incongruent crisis management - A system of blues lies under you. Arrangements of contractual gestures. The park is uninhabitable. The soul is unfathomable, a deep peach of dream speech ensnares depth. Each curling flower is between spaces. ------ Amphetamine has smoked marijuana. Flares are the early Renaissance, the eye. Bush Street is near Montgomery Street Chinatown. The junta is in Chile. People have often said the city when they meant capitalism. Consider the park as an order of language, a green. Israel knows what God is from what He is doing in history. A man is dancing to static or he is being shot. Our static is rich a point of view Your point of view doesn't belong to you. Humans are traitors to their species. Random violets in the park. Park a premeditated park. * One makes a portrait, perhaps empty, of fated being, in resistance to a crushing symbolic order. Writing takes its primary measure of this constricted, if artifacted space and time. A phantom order empowers its own existence. It is a hope, or a false utopia, a neutral territory, a blank milieu. * There are a hundred sonic booms in the valley a day, the people. They are camping on bombing ranges, the people. The land is legal because it is contaminated. You find yourself in a position of power. You can think, the land is regal. You are participating in reality. ------ They have prejudices against artists. Seeds of scurvy - grass growing in waterpots. Their rooms are filled to excess with art objects. The book the just language of the park, one more metaphor or another, spills reverses its horizon into me. Cite the way why argue it, those wise don't inflict your living this place simple, quiet, kind. There is no neutral landscape. These facts have to do with the truth. Do you believe in the truth. We admire the brilliance of the least fact that happens. Believe in the porosity of the existing situation. The light is incessant, the eternal spring enamels everything. A park comes into view only for you. We have worries. We have the same reasons we had in 1929 to flee from reality. Visualize the poem's door. In which sun are you asleep. We are fascinated by an absence of totality. If anguish is embedded in the territory. If there is no Palestinian territory. There is fate. We will be acting out your comments. That which never has preexisted. ------ The snares are relentless among the worldly. If the air in the city has preexisted this city. If the park is an ongoing effigy Our words are not autonomous. I speak like all your friends or any of your friends talk. Talk. Talk makes me feel first class. Thanks Merrill Lynch and Co. I know this ironic time and that this line is leering at us. Us fears are their features our futures have become mutants because all future representations are futile. Save the box and the memo preserving it. Preserve what has prolonged you. I should be your comments to transmute an education. We should fuck and fuck because we will all be literal when we fuck. Fantasy is clipped from living material. Responsibility is unjustifiable. The verdant fountain of the Tuileries. In the park the fountain. There are obstacles and malevolences which are contradictions. There is the board of trustees. Bequests of land round the capitol. ------ If there are enough caricatures There will be an equivalence of distortion. Listen on Friday we will get metaphysical. We will send the document to planned parenthood. Wilderness in the notes. The Capitol is alive, harmony keeps acquiring our targets The park Responsibility is unjustifiable. Separations are our responsibility. My airfare I'll be sending you. Keep silence. Silence cannot be kept. Check. Their documents are secret. All documents are secret. Who is organizing this surrealist show? Our parallels are secret. Fall into the person you are an endless suffusion, profusion. In the mountains drive fast. True intelligence would be to flood an enemy with true intelligence. Torture his linear consistency. At the border visit the rides like Walter Benjamin with frictional curiosity one can cancel an interval in Mecca caress injuries teach ------ each creature to be a monument calling through time. In the park a stone fountain weeping out our years. Our union exists amid permanent damage to the replica.


Nudes 1 To emerge from power as a ghost With one knee held out to stage light To stage light The ghost of a line An analogy can hardly be conceived With one's own will One is turned or returned upon one's own kind Or finding kindness Reinvented In toneless colors Comprehensible because outside A kind if comfortless Ghost of a line Of self-professed access This shattered figure of victory ------ 2 He falls out of the world unconfronted A wordless body Unwritten by words The body floating indifferently To its shuddering narrative The body receding To why me where the words lie And what why me, stuttering Uncoerced, unrehearsed, his Sense broken open ------ 3 Here the old swim toward their youth. The Gothic deploys uniform light as a gift yet masks witnesses to their own resemblances. Illuminated old people flung back their hair, floated bellyward toward their youth. Then gave up the long habit of living. ------ 4 But of models now Or stages Inherited from our fathers, mathematics I have this ideal I should live forever Idols which are dispersed, eyeless Words whose untrapped means The stucco nude The stone nude ------ 5 Sol justitiae The crushing strength of a body On a rock intoning in beefy darkness Its impervious gesture ------ 6 I imagine the setting for a spy novel, the assassin in the idling car, the passerby having escaped his victimhood, yet the killers are relentless, insisting even on the scenery projected by me, I who have become the one they are pursuing. Perhaps this scene requires particulars, formulaic, silent: 'his' overcoat hanging in an open closet, some books which 'represent' him: A dignity astonished by my last grasp at personhood -or the absence of a nostalgia only I could write. ------ 7 The powers of order are never naive Power works by normalization Breathing protest You touch me To heal disintegration A necessary social facade An indecently marble ankle (Sensuality heals disintegration) So I will be gorgeous If to contaminate This angle for the rarified Certain to shed public blood For realists and their gross appetites Dissolution cannot be predicted Belly and thighs expose an interval A system of arabesques Poisoned by impatience, then Patience comes due ------ 8 New features and details emerge The one hesitating in her Odalisque Because stripped of her materiality Stoicism of unironic singularity The one trembling inside these lines Seeking these essential lines Dishonest The essential lies The one serenity, emerging From color: pink then peacock blue Enjoyable totalities Ovals, ellipsoids and spheres Are inhumanly modest Because inhuman Silence's injunction Essential to play with insecurity Sandwiched between collective vacancies No difference And on the "French grass" he painted her ------ 9 Measured riches Where between us lies To be overwhelmed by what Is not in us to control Cloud Painted to the receding ceiling Your face Awaiting pleasure Your body's silence (no anecdote)


Copyright © 1993 by Jerry Estrin.
All rights reserved.

Design by Deborah Thomas.
Cover photograph by Norma Cole.
Author's photograph by Laura Moriarty.

ISBN: 0-937804-51-7
Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 93-085179

Jerry Estrin wished to thank the editors of Tramen, Ottotole, Everyday Life, Big Allis, Avec, O Books, Potes & Poets Press, and Writing where this and other work of his appeared.

This book was originally published through the collaborative efforts of The Figures, O Books, Potes & Poets, and Roof Books.

Order from:
Segue Foundation
303 East 8th Street
New York, New York 10009
or
Small Press Distribution
1814 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
800/869-7553