to the cellar where you'll be pointed
at the cement ceiling and its drips of condensation.
How will they tumble, each unpredictable
A whole cloud of philosophy condensed
into a drop of grammar. Will you think
in my sunny kitchen with its pots of basil
and rosemary, baking blueberry crisp, opening
now and then to let the scent waft down?
under a comforter, dreaming of you? No,
because if you're in the basement, so am
and we'll have Wittgenstein: the world
that is the case: everything is, as it were,
in a space
of possible atomic facts. Think of the
space as empty
but not of the thing without the space.
That'll make time
crawl, our sentence a sentence, a term hard
to change. We'll be the Houdinis of our
and the deeper we go, the more the pleasure
will be its own reward, pleasantly tired
arms, not the glow
of China in the distance. The limits
of our language mean
the limits of our world. Sure it'd be
easier to live in a
shore house built on pylons of treated lumber,
but who wants air underfoot? Trust me,
the rooms upstairs will seem garish, department
aisles filled with everything we don't need.
of Lost Time
If you find yourself
being questioned about a crime you
did not commit,
resist at all costs the impulse to
Social psychologist Richard Ofshe,
-Marcel at the Station House
were you the night of July 10?
I am unable to say from what place, from
which dream, anything comes.
you were to commit a crime
I would prepare the hundred masks that
must fit a single face.
You would plan it?
How many persons, cities, or roads does
jealousy make us eager to know? I'd think
hair and fibers?
Like boeuf à la mode, like
water lilies, like Vermeer's View of
went out to dinner that night?
I observe, I speak with servants, I remember.
sometimes you do the things you think about?
Nothing is as satisfying as the imagination's
rendering of it.
you have a bad memory?
Hours go by and I remember the tremors
in my thighs.
how do you
I like to watch famished rats clawing and
biting each other.
The day my mother died she took her little
Marcel with her.
how did it feel when you first put your
hands around her neck?
A slight ripple, like sipping linden tea
or feeling a fingernail trail against a
was she wearing?
A Fortuny gown, pleated red silk, and diamonds.
Red shoes, of course. Everything of those
days has perished, but everything was born
you love her?
I prefer to remain closeted with the little
person inside me, hymning the rising sun.
He would make me happier than she.
a lot of evidence. We have a lot of evidence.
We have your hair.
I'd curl it to face the photographer. I'd
wear my velvet jacket, and the apple trees
would expose their broad petals of white.
were nervous? You pitched the body in the
No, I would have laid it on an old satin
coverlet, after which I would have consoled
myself, if I felt well enough, by walking
along the avenues. I would have taken my
walking stick, I would have sung at the
top of my voice. I would have taken a few
grams of Veronal.
Ars longa, vita brevis.
I am acquainted with sin, in one form or
another. Dostoevsky writes about murder,
but did he commit it? Laclos was the best
I don't invent things. I've become braver,
thinking of my journey into the self like
rappelling down a well without a rope.
used a rope?
Oh! The trinity of braided strands, the
coarse erotic fibers.
Divine Plan: Eastern
a cherry orchard
a hill above the city-
a central observation point: a divine plan
the Friends of Philadelphia in 1820.
It would, said the Friends, counter the
promiscuity of the gaol
its alcohol, its garnish, its dishonest
Counter the chain gang,
sport of the vicious working in public,
more stocks, pillories, tortures.
only to pray
in his own quiet cell, skylit, windowless,
his own voice
penitent, from Latin, to be sorry.
If you go see it,
if you walk the deserted corridors, place
yourself in the
mid-point of the starfish
are the guard watching all the arms
a clever system of mirrors.
if the prisoner,
your food is given to you through a slot
in the sealed door,
you have no work, no book except the Bible.
You do not see a human face or hear a human
voice for years.
from the bustle of the city.
inside walls, your punishment acts deeply
the soft fibers of your brain.
radiant form, its gossamer sticky web-
seed of experiment-
bindweed, like staph
you, this very moment its object.
you have committed no crime,
though you are not imprisoned
can sleep soundly.