Annexe I. Poèmes

Dans cette annexe on propose les poèmes issus des collaborations dans leur forme complète. Les poèmes qui ont déjà été cités dans leur forme complète dans le texte ne seront pas reproposés. Les poèmes sont présentés en ordre chronologique par rapport à leur apparition dans le texte. La date indiquée entre parenthèses correspond à la date de réalisation du poème.

Conversion to Her (1999)

Parts of each person,

Lumber of bodies,

Heads and legs

Inside the echoes –

I got here slowly

Coming out of my mother;

Herself in passage

Still wet with echoes –

Little things surrounding,

Little feet, little eyes,

Black particulars,

White disparities –

Who was I then?

What man had entered?

Was my own person

Passing pleasure?

My body shrank,

Breath was constricted,

Head confounded,

Tongue muted.

I wouldn’t know you,

Self in old mirror.

I won’t please you

Crossing over.

Knife cuts through.

Things stick in holes.

Spit covers body.

Head’s left hanging.

The hole is in the middle.

Little boy wants one.

Help him sing here

Helpless and wanting.


My odor?

My name?

My flesh?

My shame?

My other

than you are,

my way out –

My door shut –

In silence this

happens, in pain.


Outside is empty.

Inside is a house

of various size.

Covered with skin

one lives within.

Women are told

to let world unfold.

Men, to take it,

make or break it.

All’s true

except for you.


Being human, one wonders at the others,

men with their beards and anger,

women with their friends and pleasure –

and the children they engender together –

until the sky goes suddenly black and a monstrous thing

comes from nowhere upon them

in their secure slumbers, in their righteous undertakings,

shattering thought.

One cannot say, Be as women,

be peaceful, then. The hole from which we came

isn’t metaphysical.

The one to which we go is real.

Surrounding a vast space

seems boundless appetite

in which a man still lives

till he become a woman.

Clemente’s Paintings (1999)

Sleeping birds, lead me,

soft birds, be me

inside this black room,

back of the white moon.

In the dark night

sight frightens me.

Who is it nuzzles there

with furred, round headed stare?

Who, perched on the skin,

body’s float, is holding on?

What other one stares still,

plays still, on and on?

Stand upright, prehensile,

squat, determined,

small guardians of the painful

outside coming in –

in stuck-in vials with needles,

bleeding life in, particular, heedless.

Matrix of world

upon a turtles broad back,

carried on like that,

eggs as pearls,

flesh and blood and bone

all borne along.

I’ll tell you what you want,

to say a word,

to know the letters in yourself,

a skin falls off,

a big eared head appears,

an eye and mouth.

Under watery here,

under breath, under duress,

understand a pain

has threaded a needle with a little man –

gone fishing.

And fish appear.

If small were big,

if then were now,

if here were there,

if find were found,

if mind were all there was,

would the animals still save us?

A head was put

upon the shelf got took

by animal’s hand and stuck

upon a vacant corpse

who, blurred, could nonetheless

not ever be the quietly standing bird it watched.

Not lost,

not better or worse,

much must of necessity depend on resources,

the pipes and bags brought with us

inside, all the sacks

and how and to what they are or were attached.

Everybody’s child

walks the same winding road,

laughs and cries, dies.

That’s “everybody’s child,”

the one who’s in between

the others who have come and gone.

Turn as one will, the sky will always be

far up above the place he thinks to dream as earth.

There float the heavenly

archaic persons of primordial birth,

held in the scan of ancient serpent’s tooth,

locked in the mind as when it first began.

Inside I am the other of a self,

who feels a presence always close at hand,

one side or the other, knows another one

unlocks the door and quickly enters in.

Either as or, we live a common person.

Two is still one. It cannot live apart.

Oh, weep for me –

all from whom life has stolen

hopes of a happiness stored

in gold’s ubiquitous pattern,

in tinkle of commodious, enduring money,

else the bee’s industry in hives of golden honey.

He is safely put

in a container, head to foot,

and there, on his upper part, wears still

remnants of a life he lived at will –

but, lower down, he probes at that doubled sack

holds all his random virtues in a mindless fact.

The forms wait, swan,

elephant, crab, rabbit, horse, monkey, cow,

squirrel and crocodile. From the one

sits in empty consciousness, all seemingly has come

and now it goes, to regather,

to tell another story to its patient mother.

Reflection reforms, each man’s life,

makes its stumbling way from mother to wife –

cast as a gesture from ignorant flesh,

here writers in fumbling words to touch,

say, how can I be,

when she is all that was ever me?

Around and in –

And up and down again,

and far and near –

and here and there,

in the middle is

a great round nothingness.

Not metaphoric,

flesh is literal earth.

turns to dust

as all the body must,

becomes the ground

wherein the seed’s passed on.

Entries, each foot feels its own way,

echoes passage in persons,

holds the body upright,

the secret of thresholds, lintels,

opening body above it,

looks up, looks down, moves forward.

Necessity, the mother of invention,

father of intention,

sister to brother to sister, to innumerable others,

all one as the time comes,

death’s appointment,

in the echoing head, in the breaking heart.

In self one’s place defined,

in heart the other find.

In mind discover I,

in body find the sky.

Sleep in the dream as one,

wake to the others there found.

Emptying out

each complicating part,

each little twist of mind inside,

each clenched fist,

each locked, particularizing though,

forgotten, emptying out.

What did it feel like

to be one at a time –

to be caught in a mind

in the body you’d found

in yourself alone –

in each other one?

Broken hearts, a curious round of echoes –

and there behind them the old garden

with its faded, familiar flowers,

where all was seemingly laced together –

a trueness of true,

a blueness of blue.

The truth is in a container

of no size or situation.

It has nothing inside.

Worship –

Warship. Sail away.

Edges (1999)

Expectably slowed yet unthinking

of outside when in, weather

as ever more than there when

everything, anything, will be again

Particular, located, familiar in its presence

and reassuring. The end

of the seeming dream was simply

a walk down from the house through the field.

I had entered the edges, static,

had been walking without attention,

thinking of what I had seen, whatever,

a flotsam of recollections, passive reflection.

My own battered body, clamorous

to roll in the grass, sky looming,

the myriad smells ecstatic, felt insistent prick of things

under its weight, wanted something

Beyond the easy, commodious adjustment

to determining thought, the loss of reasons

to ever do otherwise than comply –

tedious, destructive interiors of mind

As whatever came in to be seen,

Representative, inexorably chosen,

Then left as some judgement.

Here thought had its plan.

Is it only in dreams

can begin the somnambulistic rapture?

Without apparent eyes?

Just simply looking?

All these things were out there

waiting, innumerable, patient.

How could I name even one enough,

call it only a flower or a distance?

If ever, just one moment, a place

I could be in where all imagination would fade

to a center, wondrous, beyond any way

one had come there, any sense,

And the far off edges of usual

place were inside. Not even the shimmering

reflections, not one even transient ring

come into a thoughtless mind.

Would it be wrong to say, the sky is up,

the ground is down, and out there

is what can never be the same –

what, like music, has gone?

Trees stay outside one’s thought.

The water stays stable in its shifting.

The road from here to there continues.

One is included.

Here is all is then –

As if expected,

waited for and found


Possibilities – For Susan Rothenberg (1999)

What do you wear?

How does it feel

to wear clothes?

What shows

what you were or where?

This accident, accidental, person,

feeling out, feelings out –

outside the box one’s in –

skin’s resonances, reticent romances,

the blotch of recognition, blush?

It’s a place one’s going,

going out to, could reach

out just so far to be at the edge

of it all, there, no longer inside,

waiting, expectant, a confused thing.

One wanted skin to walk in,

be in. One wanted each leg to stand,

both hands to have substance,

both eyes to look out, recognize,

all of it, closer and closer.

Put it somewhere, one says.

Put it down. But it’s not a thing

simply. It’s of all it here,

of all it near and dear,

everywhere one is, this and that.

Inside, it could have been included.

There was room for the world.

One could think of it, even be simple, ample.

But not “multitudes,” not that way in

It’s out, out, one’s going. Loosed.

Still – wistful in heaven, happy in hell?

Sky was an adamant wall,

earth a compact of dirty places,

faces of people one used to know.

Air – smell, sound and taste – was still wonderful.

One dreamed of a thoughtless moment,

the street rushing forward, heads up.

One willed almost a wave of silence

to hear the voices underneath.

Each layer, each particular, recalled.

But now to be here?

Putting my hand on the table,

I watch it turn into wood,

Fibrous, veins like wood’s grain,

But not that way separated – all one.

I felt a peace come back.

No longer needed to say what it was,

nothing left somehow to name only –

still was each each, all all,

evident mass, bulky sum, a complex accumulation?

My mother dying sat up, ecstatic,

coming out of the anaesthetic, said,

It’s all free! You don’t have to pay

for any of it … It’s there

if you can still get to it?

Come closer, closer. Come as near

as you can get. Let me know

each edge, each shelf of act,

all the myriad colors, all the shimmering presences,

each breath, finger of odor, echoed pin drop.

Adumbrate nature. Walk a given path.

You are as much its fact as any other.

You stand a scale far smaller than a tree’s.

A mountain makes you literal as a pebble.

Look hard for what it is you want to see.

The sky seems in its heaven, laced with cloud.

The horizon’s miles and miles within one’s sight.

Cooling, earth gathers in for night.

Birds quiet, stars start out in the dark.

Wind drops. Thus life itself can settle.

Nothing apart from all and seeing is

the obvious beginning of an act

can only bring one closer to the art

of being closer. So feeling all there is,

one’s hands and heart grow full.

People – For Arthur Okamura (1971)

I knew where they were,

in the woods. My sister

made them little houses.

Possibly she was one,

or had been one

before. They were there,

very small but quick,

if they moved.

I never saw them.

How big is small. What

are we in. Do

these forms of us take shape, then.

Stan told us of the shape

a march makes, in

anger, a sort of small

head, the vanguard, then

a thin neck, and then,

following out, a kind of billowing,

loosely gathered body, always

the same. It must be

people seen from above

have forms, take place,

make an insistent pattern,

not suburbs, but the way

they gather in public places,

or, hidden from others,

look one by one, must be

there to see, a record if

nothing more. “In a tree

one may observe the hierarchies

of monkeys,” someone says. “On

the higher branches, etc.” But

not like that, no, the kids

run, watch the wave of them

pass. See the form of their

movement pass, like the wind’s.

I love you, I thought,

suddenly. My hands

are talking again. In-

side each finger must

be several men. They

want to talk to me.

On the floor the dog’s eye

reflects the world, the people

passing there, before him.

The car holds possibly

six people, comfortably,

though each is many more.

I’ll never die or else will

be the myriad of people all

were always and must be-

in a flower, in a

hand, in some

passing wind.

These things,

seen from inside, human,

a head, hands

and feet. I can’t

begin again to make

more than was made.

You’ll see them

as flowers, called

the flower people-

others as rocks,

or slit, some

crystalline or even

a stream of smoke.

Why here at all

-the first question-

no one easily answers,

but they’ve taken place

over all else. They live

now in everything, as everything.

I keep hearing

their voices, most happily,

laughing, but the screaming

is there also. Watch

how they go together.

They are not isolated

but meld into continuous

place, one to one, never alone.

From whatever place

they may have come from,

from under rocks,

that moistness, or the sea,

or else in those

slanting places of darkness,

in the woods they

are here and ourselves

with them. All

the forms we know,

the designs, the

closed-eye visions of

order – these too they are,

in the skin we

share with them.

If you twist one

even insignificant part

of your body

to another, imagined

situation of where it

might be, you’ll

feel the pain of all

such distortion and

the voices will

flood your head with

terror. No thing

you can do can

be otherwise than

these people, large

or small, however

you choose to think

them – a drop of

water, glistening

on a grassblade, or

the whole continent,

the whole world of size.

Some stories begin,

when I was young-

this also. It tells

a truth of things,

of people. There used

to be so many, so

big one’s eyes went

up them, like a ladder,

crouched in a wall.

Now grown large, I

sometimes stumble, walk

with no knowledge of

what’s under foot.

Some small


at the earth’s edge


these voices,

these small



these people,

the circles,

the holes they

made, the




the going,

the coming,

the lives.


fails in

the forms

of them, I


to go home.

His Idea (1973)


this yearning

toward union,





indulged, great


tits, men

come in, doors


Note read re

letter of Lawrence’s

to Mrs. Aldous

Huxley? That

films are obscene

if when the young

man and woman come home,

they masturbate one by one.

Not so-

if they make love.

What is love-

so complete

feet also

are engaged,

nose turns

to look, eyes

find hands,

ears burn-

all a smaller


I can’t wait

for this variance


So sweet

the body

so expected.

Who comes,


on time.

Bringing you back here-

we were together.

How far away

we were…

This distance

is all in one.




All the fantasies that

interrupt condition of

sweet union, inex-

orable movement forward.

You haven’t

fucked for months now


Slow slowing-


comes of it.



Days in the train, a

sudden breast, flatten-

ing model. Walks

with harsh flat

effectiveness past,

and gone forever.





What’s to be said.

The bed says nothing.

The place

is many places.

What his idea was,

of no consequence-

hope only

he was one.

All this flesh, meat,

dreams of eating-

making the water waves,

a place to play.

Days go by


En Famille (1999)

I wandered lonely as a cloud …

I’d seemingly lost the crowd

I’d come with, family – father, mother, sister and brothers –

fact of a common blood.

Now there was no one,

just my face in the mirror, coat on a single hook,

a bed I could make getting out of.

Where had they gone?

What was that vague determination

cut off the nurturing relation

with all the density, this given company –

what made one feel such desperation

to get away, get far from home, be gone from those

would know us even if they only saw our noses or our toes,

accept with joy our helpless mess,

taking for granted it was part of us?

My friends, hands on each other’s shoulders,

holding on, keeping the pledge

to be for one, for all, a securing center,

no matter up or down, or right or left –

to keep the faith, keep happy, keep together,

keep at it, so keep on

despite the fact of necessary drift.

Home might be still the happiest place on earth?

You won’t get far by yourself.

It’s dark out there.

There’s a long way to go.

The dog knows.

It’s him loves us most,

or seems to, in dark nights of the soul.

Keep a tight hold.

Steady, we’re not lost.

Despite the sad vagaries,

anchored in love, placed in the circle,

young and old, a round –

love’s fact of this bond.

One day one will look back

and think of them –

where they were, now gone –

remember it all.

Turning inside as if in a dream,

the twisting face I want to be my own,

the people loved and with me still,

I see their painful faith.

Grow, dears, then fly away!

But when the dark comes, then come home.

Light’s in the window, heart stays true.

Call – and I’ll come to you.

The wind blows through the shifting trees

outside the window, over the fields below.

Emblems of growth, the older, the younger,

of towering size or all the vulnerable hope

as echoes in the image of these three

look out with such reflective pleasure,

so various and close. They stand there,

waiting to hear a music they will know.

I like the way you both look at me.

Somehow it’s sometimes hard to be a human.

Arms and legs get often in the way,

making oneself a bulky, awkward burden.

Tell me your happiness is simply true.

Tell me I can still learn to be like you.

Tell me the truth is what we do.

Tell me that care for one another is the clue.

We’re here because there’s nowhere else to go,

we’ve come in faith we learned as with all else.

Someone once told us and so it is we know.

No one is left outside such simple place.

No one’s too late, no one can be too soon.

We comfort one another, making room.

We dream of heaven as a climbing stair.

We look at stars and wonder why and where.

Have we told you all you’d thought to know?

Is it really so quickly now the time to go?

Has anything happened you will not forget?

Is where you are enough for all to share?

Is wisdom just an empty word?

Is age a time one might finally well have missed?

Must humanness be its own reward?

Is happiness this?

Thinking (2000)

Thought feels the edges.

Just so far it was only yesterday?

So far it seems now till tomorrow.

Time isn’t space.

Away for the day, one says –

gone fishing…Now and again.

The sounds echo in the quite morning–

such faint edges of placen things, not yet quite seen.

But one knows the familiar presences.

The world will be as one left it,

still there to reappear again perhaps

where it always is.