Lisa Jarnot

Suddenly, Last Summer

Sun worshipper I, in the absence of the sun, in the
things I don't remember, the unfriendliness of night,
the neon night and blue blue night, the creatures
on the beach,

Suddenly, to remember the sun and all the creatures
on the beach, suddenly to remember the sun and little
sunstroked turtles, suddenly the neon night surrounding
little turtles all surrounded by the night upon the turtles
on the beach,

Sea creatures and mergansers, the blue blue night,
the turtles on the beach all worshipping Apollo, suddenly
I am thrown into your library, never to be what I was
before, surrounded by a tiny light inside the dark and
clutching little turtles,

Go back upon the beach and remember the sun, suddenly,
surrounded by neon, go back, go back to the beach and
worship it, go back to what I was before, a worshipper
upon the beach, Apollo's, in the lavender, beside mergansers
at the sea's night shore.


O Life Force of Supernalness of World

O life force of supernalness of
world, o supernalness, decapitated
mice upon the tracks, o ear muff
head gear of the subway trains in
spring, o the day I saw Lou Reed
on a sidestreet near 6th Avenue, o
jubilance of paper cuts and paper
clips and snow, the small dot on
the page above the snow, the
telephone, the radio, the snow, o
spring, o snow, the snow, the sno
cones and the ski lifts of the snow,
the snow, terrific snow it is, the
spring, the snow, the lack of snow,
the snow itself, o snow, yourself,
the snow upon the human engine
as it waits to be the snow, go out
and be the snow, unloved and
melting in reflections in the grass,
illuminated on the beds of god, you
snow, the crescent jerk of snow, the
city of snow and the city of bacon
and the city of the snow, the
permission of the snow to be the
snow, its lack in spring unlike the
bacon, jerks of god, and snow.


Ye White Antarctic Birds

Ye white antarctic birds of upper 57th street,
you gallery of white antarctic birds, you
street with white antarctic birds and
cabs and white antarctic birds you street,
ye and you the street and birds I walk upon
the galleries of streets and birds and longings,
you the birds antarctic of the conversations
and the bank machines, you the atm of
longing, the longing for the atm machines,
you the lover of the banks and me and birds
and others too and cabs, and you the cabs
and you the subtle longing birds and me,
and you the conversations yet antarctic, and
soup and teeming white antarctic birds and
you the books and phones and atms the bank
machines antarctic, and you the banks and
cabs, and him the one I love, and those who
love me not, and all antarctic longings, and
all the birds and cabs and also on the street
antarctic of this longing.


They loved these things too

The sun the moon the stars the polar ice caps
and the ice cream cones the city streets the
side streets and the small tv the curve of
flesh around the food the road maps and
November and the tiny birds and also certain
people and they loved the special chairs and
also stuffed things and the carnival and big
rings and the o rings and they loved the
oranges in bags and florida and texas and the
hotel room and they loved the chili on the
highway that they loved as if they loved the
onramp and the way that people called and
the natural forces of destruction and the sea
they loved the sea and also boats and sailing
ships and whales they loved and sea birds in
varieties and then they loved the choice of
drinks to drink and also beer they loved
the times that others liked them that they loved
and also they loved things all shaped like
tapirs and they loved the zoo.


Brooklyn Anchorage

and at noon I will fall in love
and nothing will have meaning
except for the brownness of
the sky, and tradition, and water
and in the water off the railway
in New Haven all the lights
go on across the sun, and for
millenia those who kiss fall into
hospitals, riding trains, wearing
black shoes, pursued by those
they love, the Chinese in the armies
with the shiny sound of Johnny Cash,
and in my plan to be myself
I became someone else with
soft lips and a secret life,
and I left, from an airport,
in tradition of the water
on the plains, until the train
started moving and yesterday
it seemed true that suddenly
inside of the newspaper
there was a powerline and
my heart stopped, and everything
leaned down from the sky to kill me
and now the cattails sing.


From Carlyle

        for Elizabeth Willis and Peter Gizzi

water, in the form of air,
led by fire, back to the earth,
o moon in the western sky,
unfinished poem aged thirty,
blonde, with darkened eyes,
to this large, open, deep-feeling heart
is Nature, an astronaut,
to this wretched god-forgetting doubt
is a self,
balanced on a lake,
frozen, in mid-winter, near a highway
near the contrails in the sky,
you, crimson branches of October
where I was,
a transient feeling,
brooding in its speechless thought and awe,
skating toward a unity of vulpine life
unleashed into itself.


The Specific Incendiaries of Springtime

Inside of my inspection house there are
things I am inside of lacking only linens
and the tiniest of birds, there are small ideas
of tiny birds and things they are inside of,
in the middle of the small ideas of genius
we began inside of sundown,

I am hiding from relationships of springtime
in the tiny rooms with tiny birds, and there
are functions of relations, there are springtimes,
there are tiny birds and checkbooks and some

I am wanting only lemons where you have
wanted only linens in the center of the room,
I am waking up in long corroded rooms,
near Bakersfield and farmteams, in the vivid
dreams of rain, having dominion over these
animals and the salesmen on an island in
relationships with shepherd girls who carry
soft umbrellas,

Toward sundown, let me say that I am in
your absence forced to read a smallish book,
to read ideas of farmteams in the twilight
in the spring, where on an uninhabited
island I strangled all the shepherd girls and
then became a smallish book, and doused
the bed with kerosene he sleeps in doused
with birds and twilight books I dreamt of in
relations of the springtime that I dream,

Of farmteams, clearly let me say of sheep
and clearly let me say of spring in Bakersfield,
where I have strangled all the sheep and
several shepherds, where to read ideas
of twilight in a book, today, to a new love,
where in briefly retouched currency, functions
of inspections in the house now lacking lemons,
here I strangled all the shepherd girls and birds,

Where I read ideas of twilight to a newer love,
where the genius of liberty we began in the
middle toward sundown was a smallish bird
in spring outside of Bakersfield, where,
on an uninhabited island, to the twilight
of this genius in the book, to the mouthpiece of
the smallest sunlit bird, of the farmteam in
corroded blue relations, of ideas and in
inspection blocks, of occuring in the middle
of the twilight, of the dreams of smallest books
and salesmen inside Bakersfield, of wanting
only linens having wanted only wicker in
the center of the room,

I am a soldier of this wicker chair, I am
brandishing a welding torch and drill,
I am the island with the shepherds and the
sheep, I am waking up in Bakersfield in
rain, in a long corroded room, near the
farmteams in the vivid dreams of rain,
and in turning in the kerosene being slowly
doused in fire, I am, toward sunlight,
strangled by a shepherd girl, I am a salesman
of the islands of this currency,

Of rain, let the farmteams in relations
with the springtime in the checkbooks
find the rain, corroded I am, wanting only
lemons, only linens and then you, let me say
that you are on an island with umbrellas,
that we are woken in a room of springtime
birds, that nowhere is a smallish book,
and in the twilight reach dominions of our liberty.


On the Lemur

That they loved to go on unmistaken, that they loved
to not to be gratuitous or cry, that they loved the
fortitude of yaks, that suddenly they loved the whiskey
and the sunlight and the key, that they loved the corn
cow and the cow corn that it ate, that they loved the cat
food as it rolled across the floor, that they loved
the sound of hail and what it broke, that they knew
they loved the river that was made where people dream,
that they loved the loins of lions and of lambs,
that they loved confusion and the tools, that they loved
the whistle of the evening train, that they loved the
drugs they dreamt they loved and took inside the
dreams, that they loved their pictures taken and the
sides of barns, that they loved all outer space.


The Bridge

That there are things that can never be the same about
my face, the houses, or the sand, that I was born under
the sign of the sheep, that like Abraham Lincoln I am
serious but also lacking in courage,

That from this yard I have been composing a great
speech, that I write about myself, that it's good to be a
poet, that I look like the drawing of a house that was
pencilled by a child, that curiously, I miss him and my
mind is not upon the Pleaides, that I love the ocean and
its foam against the sky,

That I am sneezing like a lion in this garden that he knows
the lilies of his Nile, distant image, breakfast, a flock of
birds and sparrows from the sky,

That I am not the husband of Casseopia, that I am not
the southern fish, that I am not the last poet of civilization,
that if I want to go out for a walk and then to find myself
beneath a bank of trees, weary, that this is the life that I had,

That curiously I miss the sound of the rain
pounding on the roof, that I miss the sounds of
sparrows dropping from the sky, that there are sparks
behind my eyes, on the radio, and the distant sound of
sand blasters, and breakfast, and every second of it,
geometric, smoke from the chimney of the trees where
I was small,

That in January, I met his brother in a bar, we went
home together, there was a lemon tree in the back yard,
and a coffee house where we stood outside and kissed,

That I have never been there, curiously, and that it never
was the same, the whole of the island, or the paintings of
the stars, fatherly, tied to sparrows as they drop down
from the sky,

O rattling frame where I am, I am where there are still
these assignments in the night, to remember the texture
of the leaves on the locust trees in August, under the
moonlight, rounded, through a window in the hills,

That if I stay beneath the pole star in this harmony of
crickets that will sing, the bird sound on the screen, the
wide eyes of the owl form of him still in the dark, blue,
green, with shards of the Pacific,

That I do not know the dreams from which I have
come, sent into the world without the blessing of a kiss,
behind the willow trees, beside the darkened pansies on
the deck beside the ships, rocking, I have written this,
across the back of the sky, wearing a small and yellow
shirt, near the reptile house, mammalian, no bigger than
the herd,

That I wrote the history of the war waged between the
Peloponnesians and the south, that I like to run through
shopping malls, that I've also learned to draw, having
been driven here, like the rain is driven into things, into
the ground, beside the broken barns, by the railroad
tracks, beside the sea, I, Thucydides, having written this,
having grown up near the ocean.