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SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS

SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS


© Charles Alexander 2013 Image on cover fabric from Vessels, © Cynthia Miller 2013

LRL

little red leaves textile editions www.littleredleaves.com

© Charles Alexander 2013 Image on cover fabric from Vessels, © Cynthia Miller 2013

LRL

little red leaves textile editions www.littleredleaves.com


SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS Charles Alexander

little red leaves textile series 2013

SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS Charles Alexander

little red leaves textile series 2013


SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS

SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS


I tell myself that nothing can be perfect. I tell myself in nothing words that nothing words that can be perfect. I tell nothing myself nothing words. I tell myself words. Once a butterfly, then a burning hand, a memory of a burning hand. Everyone left me at eight years old, so I left, too, walking a road out of the city, toward a lake. Step one and two. A piano next to the mirror. My sister has beautiful red hair, and she plays piano. Notes are sometimes red. Near the piano, I tell my mother’s hard drinking friend to leave the house. After Tennyson, I always hear the bells. The beauty of a liberty (bell). To cry with a beast, truly the only human present. Also lost in Japan, wandering where water goes. The truck knocks me down, and perhaps out. A

[1]

I tell myself that nothing can be perfect. I tell myself in nothing words that nothing words that can be perfect. I tell nothing myself nothing words. I tell myself words. Once a butterfly, then a burning hand, a memory of a burning hand. Everyone left me at eight years old, so I left, too, walking a road out of the city, toward a lake. Step one and two. A piano next to the mirror. My sister has beautiful red hair, and she plays piano. Notes are sometimes red. Near the piano, I tell my mother’s hard drinking friend to leave the house. After Tennyson, I always hear the bells. The beauty of a liberty (bell). To cry with a beast, truly the only human present. Also lost in Japan, wandering where water goes. The truck knocks me down, and perhaps out. A

[1]


baseball hits my head, and I remember waking up to the attention of worried faces. I tell them that nothing can be perfect. If my father lies full fathom five, will I see him again? He tends the fire that heats the meat that fills the belly. Until he dies, I never once think of my mother as fragile. Always distant, sometimes pretending not to hear me. I tell her nothing words. Later, when I am married, I love everything about familiar flesh. I study books while she learns to help victims. I tell words. In court we all suffer, win or lose. I am the only one to choose Oakland to win the Super Bowl, and I win a pot of money, while all the young attorneys scowl and go home with their suits on. My eyes feel like they are freezing. Maurice BĂŠjart dances the

[2]

baseball hits my head, and I remember waking up to the attention of worried faces. I tell them that nothing can be perfect. If my father lies full fathom five, will I see him again? He tends the fire that heats the meat that fills the belly. Until he dies, I never once think of my mother as fragile. Always distant, sometimes pretending not to hear me. I tell her nothing words. Later, when I am married, I love everything about familiar flesh. I study books while she learns to help victims. I tell words. In court we all suffer, win or lose. I am the only one to choose Oakland to win the Super Bowl, and I win a pot of money, while all the young attorneys scowl and go home with their suits on. My eyes feel like they are freezing. Maurice BĂŠjart dances the meaning

[2]


meaning of communal liberation, the emergence of the firebird among us. Early on I understand that I like difficult music. Zounds. This is not a nothing word. Strum the chords, at least in the evening. She lives in a tower above a pool, and I fall into her without any qualms. Good god, moon. Good day, moon. Once I kick off my shoes on a dance floor, then we disappear into a small room with each other’s bodies, and I do not recover the shoes. I tell myself in words that words can be perfect. A reason for a taco. Fair trade and fair weather. On a walk by Lake Mendota a friend keeps me aware that my life is not over. Rip tide beach, we might have named it, and we loved going there, down the steep entry carrying our blankets. She paints all the

[3]

of communal liberation, the emergence of the firebird among us. Early on I understand that I like difficult music. Zounds. This is not a nothing word. Strum the chords, at least in the evening. She lives in a tower above a pool, and I fall into her without any qualms. Good god, moon. Good day, moon. Once I kick off my shoes on a dance floor, then we disappear into a small room with each other’s bodies, and I do not recover the shoes. I tell myself in words that words can be perfect. A reason for a taco. Fair trade and fair weather. On a walk by Lake Mendota a friend keeps me aware that my life is not over. Rip tide beach, we might have named it, and we loved going there, down the steep entry carrying our blankets. She paints all the

[3]


colors with all the brushes, and fingers, hands. Strum. Something more than nothing words. Something words. Far and away the love of my life. Now, until morning, lie arm in arm with me, light arising from star and moon. The light from the words, I tell myself She grips my arm so I think she will break it as the baby emerges into the room and the world. Spaghetti gets the birth canal moving. She dances as if she has no thought, only physical impulse. Is it possible to state the moment of experience, or is all statement already once or twice removed from the instant of perception? Should I stay or should I go (stay, she said). In words that might have been perfect. The youngest one emerges, too,

[4]

colors with all the brushes, and fingers, hands. Strum. Something more than nothing words. Something words. Far and away the love of my life. Now, until morning, lie arm in arm with me, light arising from star and moon. The light from the words, I tell myself She grips my arm so I think she will break it as the baby emerges into the room and the world. Spaghetti gets the birth canal moving. She dances as if she has no thought, only physical impulse. Is it possible to state the moment of experience, or is all statement already once or twice removed from the instant of perception? Should I stay or should I go (stay, she said). In words that might have been perfect. The youngest one emerges, too,

[4]


somewhat easier, with more pleasure in the eyes, less yellow in the skin. Now, back again with two, the children have left for green mountains and Uganda. I am nervous sometimes but I don’t like to admit it. I have outlived nothing, but will likely outlive my father. When he dies, Steve follows me wandering among trees, brings me back whole. Sometimes words are neither nothing nor broken. A post office box, a letter written a day before he dies. I understand why he never left me undirected while mowing the yard. He stops talking while we are on the telephone, and soon I learn he has had a heart attack and will not survive the night. The rain has stopped. Il ne pleut pas, not il pleut non. Some

[5]

somewhat easier, with more pleasure in the eyes, less yellow in the skin. Now, back again with two, the children have left for green mountains and Uganda. I am nervous sometimes but I don’t like to admit it. I have outlived nothing, but will likely outlive my father. When he dies, Steve follows me wandering among trees, brings me back whole. Sometimes words are neither nothing nor broken. A post office box, a letter written a day before he dies. I understand why he never left me undirected while mowing the yard. He stops talking while we are on the telephone, and soon I learn he has had a heart attack and will not survive the night. The rain has stopped. Il ne pleut pas, not il pleut non. Some

[5]


words stop being said. For lunch at the baseball game she makes gruyere cheese and sourdough bread sandwiches. I am number seven in a uniform that has “SAMURAI” printed on it. He was a Yankee fan, I like the A’s. What is a mother, when and how to love one? Some sentences look for some periods. Stare at the ball until it’s close enough to swing. A printed page emerges. The night before I leave, she takes me to her bed warmly, and we are both filled with loss. And now the words are new, and we will come to understand their perfection. And now the sunrise in small ripples of light. I tell myself.

[6]

words stop being said. For lunch at the baseball game she makes gruyere cheese and sourdough bread sandwiches. I am number seven in a uniform that has “SAMURAI” printed on it. He was a Yankee fan, I like the A’s. What is a mother, when and how to love one? Some sentences look for some periods. Stare at the ball until it’s close enough to swing. A printed page emerges. The night before I leave, she takes me to her bed warmly, and we are both filled with loss. And now the words are new, and we will come to understand their perfection. And now the sunrise in small ripples of light. I tell myself.

[6]


SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS 2

SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS 2


Something that mothers and does not know where to go in the night, or is it morning now? Will you tell me it is morning now so that I might think of the sunlight before the sun is visible, before its letters proclaim the day in heat and light and one sharp motion that might blind or displace the insects from their sleeping places? If I might write just a moment of the day I might begin with “As you wish” or “Ripeness is all” whereas we all know the end is “The rest is silence” as in the movie about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as in the words of Hamlet, as if words were in words and sunlight twisted around the letters until lost at the end of day in a graying haze. One upon the string, the G string the C string the sing string. To mother to foal she

[9]

Something that mothers and does not know where to go in the night, or is it morning now? Will you tell me it is morning now so that I might think of the sunlight before the sun is visible, before its letters proclaim the day in heat and light and one sharp motion that might blind or displace the insects from their sleeping places? If I might write just a moment of the day I might begin with “As you wish” or “Ripeness is all” whereas we all know the end is “The rest is silence” as in the movie about Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as in the words of Hamlet, as if words were in words and sunlight twisted around the letters until lost at the end of day in a graying haze. One upon the string, the G string the C string the sing string. To mother to foal she

[9]


said and mother left a year ago but mother of my children remains and we hold each other in scheduled time on a Sunday morning and in unscheduled time whenever we may please, does it please you if you please? Pleasure and a lover, and what else does one need? Don’t forget to breathe on a Friday for this is the day of release, hold hold hold and then let go. One can’t build a snowman here unless the climb leads to forests in February, if lucky in the open field between the ever green branches, but snowmen are a part of my past, once with a red corduroy jacket that my father wore, too, or perhaps this is a memory-mixture, i.e. the way truth isn’t what happened but an invented memory of what happened, for is and isn’t are not divergent, just

[10]

said and mother left a year ago but mother of my children remains and we hold each other in scheduled time on a Sunday morning and in unscheduled time whenever we may please, does it please you if you please? Pleasure and a lover, and what else does one need? Don’t forget to breathe on a Friday for this is the day of release, hold hold hold and then let go. One can’t build a snowman here unless the climb leads to forests in February, if lucky in the open field between the ever green branches, but snowmen are a part of my past, once with a red corduroy jacket that my father wore, too, or perhaps this is a memory-mixture, i.e. the way truth isn’t what happened but an invented memory of what happened, for is and isn’t are not divergent, just

[10]


different sides of a coin, whereas different coins might reveal entirely different vistas. From where I sit at this moment shelves are going out from me and there, upon them, one by one, a blue book, an orange book, a black book, a purple book, a silver book, rows and rows of parti-colored things made of paper and ink and thread, these are such dreams as stuff is made on. But in the corner, an orange coffee cup, and a transportation not a transmogrification to a town among mountains with coffee and sunlight and words words words. No matter, no matter, no water, no wafer, no was, no is. Who am I to call the kettle black, to call you to me for a bright wet kiss on the pillow, in the pillow one sinks and rises, falls and emerges, breathes and stops.

[11]

different sides of a coin, whereas different coins might reveal entirely different vistas. From where I sit at this moment shelves are going out from me and there, upon them, one by one, a blue book, an orange book, a black book, a purple book, a silver book, rows and rows of parti-colored things made of paper and ink and thread, these are such dreams as stuff is made on. But in the corner, an orange coffee cup, and a transportation not a transmogrification to a town among mountains with coffee and sunlight and words words words. No matter, no matter, no water, no wafer, no was, no is. Who am I to call the kettle black, to call you to me for a bright wet kiss on the pillow, in the pillow one sinks and rises, falls and emerges, breathes and stops.

[11]


A backstop stands behind the catcher, the catcher sits behind home plate, home plate is buried in the dirt at the corner of the basepath, the basepath forms a triangle around the pitcher, the pitcher gets things going with a windup and a pitch to a batter, the batter may be anyone at any given time trying to understand what is given to her, trying to return what the world throws at her, trying to find a way to the fence, to an opening in a fence that might allow more than simply a rearrangement of the parts. Parts are assigned, actor A will play character Q, amateur volunteer B will portray character T, truth will be evident from the emotional conduct of arms and heads. Heads and deads. I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead. Deads

[12]

A backstop stands behind the catcher, the catcher sits behind home plate, home plate is buried in the dirt at the corner of the basepath, the basepath forms a triangle around the pitcher, the pitcher gets things going with a windup and a pitch to a batter, the batter may be anyone at any given time trying to understand what is given to her, trying to return what the world throws at her, trying to find a way to the fence, to an opening in a fence that might allow more than simply a rearrangement of the parts. Parts are assigned, actor A will play character Q, amateur volunteer B will portray character T, truth will be evident from the emotional conduct of arms and heads. Heads and deads. I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead. Deads and beads.

[12]


and beads. Those beads that were his eyes pearl up in my heart of all wonders, I wonder in my bead of all hearts, wander in eyes that curl up and ball up and fall into the time before I was born. I have not come here with empty hands, the lines throughout them will tell you stories of what I have come here with. I have not come here alone, for wherever I go she and he and she and she and she and she come with me it is not possible to imagine being alone, no, that game with bases and fences is a team sport, as is the making of snowpeople the playing of strings the rising of the sun in the morning for as long as that may last. To come through conflicts and inventions and waxy worlds and earthquake palaces and hopeful buildings and near acts and

[13]

Those beads that were his eyes pearl up in my heart of all wonders, I wonder in my bead of all hearts, wander in eyes that curl up and ball up and fall into the time before I was born. I have not come here with empty hands, the lines throughout them will tell you stories of what I have come here with. I have not come here alone, for wherever I go she and he and she and she and she and she come with me it is not possible to imagine being alone, no, that game with bases and fences is a team sport, as is the making of snowpeople the playing of strings the rising of the sun in the morning for as long as that may last. To come through conflicts and inventions and waxy worlds and earthquake palaces and hopeful buildings and near acts and

[13]


random acts and waters pushing slanting certain and uncertain and still to float, even to power that floating with strokes of arms and legs with pulses of torsos and unflinching willingness to play the game, even to finish the game despite the rather growing sense that there is no finish there are no cells that complete the pattern there may not even be colors one can trust. Some sentences for some periods look and for some periods find naught but ripeness, all the rest is breathing. Pli selon pli, the music and the dance, the composer and the choreographer, the chromosome and the coloration, the painter and the poet, the step step step and turn. Bowls and bowls, holes and holes, mothers and others loose in the night (in the light).

[14]

random acts and waters pushing slanting certain and uncertain and still to float, even to power that floating with strokes of arms and legs with pulses of torsos and unflinching willingness to play the game, even to finish the game despite the rather growing sense that there is no finish there are no cells that complete the pattern there may not even be colors one can trust. Some sentences for some periods look and for some periods find naught but ripeness, all the rest is breathing. Pli selon pli, the music and the dance, the composer and the choreographer, the chromosome and the coloration, the painter and the poet, the step step step and turn. Bowls and bowls, holes and holes, mothers and others loose in the night (in the light).

[14]


SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS 3

SOME SENTENCES LOOK FOR SOME PERIODS 3


There it is on the dresser, a photograph of a man in a uniform, close-cut hair, prominent nose, a look on the face with just a little bit of possible mischief in the eyes. One two march in step, three four, great big heart, five six, don’t get sick, seven eight, attack the gate, nine ten, angel sent. They don’t come back, wherever they go. Red red heart of tin leaning against a lantern of tin, against a wall of blue, above a fireplace surrounded by tile, in a room of light that has been the room of a child and the room of the parents and the room of guests and the room of reading, watching, waiting for that period. What’s a period, though (by any other name)? The next name is a dot. A dot in this era is made of many dots, we are a matrix of dots in an age

[17]

There it is on the dresser, a photograph of a man in a uniform, close-cut hair, prominent nose, a look on the face with just a little bit of possible mischief in the eyes. One two march in step, three four, great big heart, five six, don’t get sick, seven eight, attack the gate, nine ten, angel sent. They don’t come back, wherever they go. Red red heart of tin leaning against a lantern of tin, against a wall of blue, above a fireplace surrounded by tile, in a room of light that has been the room of a child and the room of the parents and the room of guests and the room of reading, watching, waiting for that period. What’s a period, though (by any other name)? The next name is a dot. A dot in this era is made of many dots, we are a matrix of dots in an age

[17]


of digits. I heard a phrase in a video clip: the pathos of the age. Is there a pathos in a digital age, can numbers be pathos or paths, ring a round of roses told, mount the blows and count the bodies? Or does it just happen, and we keep on accumulating the dots, the periods, the rooms of living and not living? Ring out the old, ring in the new, his lordship said. In memoriam patris mei / mea culpa domine. By being born we are all innocent, or perhaps by being born we are all at fault. ‘Tis not a matter of religion but of blood. Red on the water, red on the wood, red in tooth and claw, red in the painting of time and memory, red in the drips and strokes, read in the well, read in the book of years, writ in the book of wonders. By any other name, the rose is red,

[18]

of digits. I heard a phrase in a video clip: the pathos of the age. Is there a pathos in a digital age, can numbers be pathos or paths, ring a round of roses told, mount the blows and count the bodies? Or does it just happen, and we keep on accumulating the dots, the periods, the rooms of living and not living? Ring out the old, ring in the new, his lordship said. In memoriam patris mei / mea culpa domine. By being born we are all innocent, or perhaps by being born we are all at fault. ‘Tis not a matter of religion but of blood. Red on the water, red on the wood, red in tooth and claw, red in the painting of time and memory, red in the drips and strokes, read in the well, read in the book of years, writ in the book of wonders. By any other name, the rose is red, by this end

[18]


by this end game the rose is black. The voice is represented by two others to have been ‘quick and unequal.’ No words‒no sounds resembling words‒ were by any witness mentioned as distinguishable. Here lies a sound of a word, under grounds we determine, yet the sound may be another sound, the word may be another word, the sense may be another sense, and what we mean may be indistinguishable from what they mean, what we mean may indeed be distinguishable from who we are, and we spin a tale of words. Than saide he thus . .. O paleys, whilom day, that now art night. Day or night we wonder/wander, day for night we ponder/pander, consider: Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west ... By the end, you just hope to survive. American night, American day, I

[19]

game the rose is black. The voice is represented by two others to have been ‘quick and unequal.’ No words‒ no sounds resembling words‒were by any witness mentioned as distinguishable. Here lies a sound of a word, under grounds we determine, yet the sound may be another sound, the word may be another word, the sense may be another sense, and what we mean may be indistinguishable from what they mean, what we mean may indeed be distinguishable from who we are, and we spin a tale of words. Than saide he thus . .. O paleys, whilom day, that now art night. Day or night we wonder/wander, day for night we ponder/ pander, consider: Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west ... By the end, you just hope to survive. American night, American day, I

[19]


hope we get through it, whether in the film or in the painting or in the black milk, or in the black poem, or in the street of bodies. These are the times that try our souls (but soul is just a period, a moment of dots coalescing before the deluge). But what about after the sentence finds or doesn’t find a period? what about after the after? what about after the affair of the heart, the affair of the tin heart, the affair of the fear of the tear, pronounced both ways, as water flowing or dripping from tear ducts around the eyes, or as rip, coherence ripped in too many pieces to count, too many dots to put humpty together again. Then. Then is a word to locate us in time. Then we begin. Then we begin again. We don’t speak, not at first, much less write, the grammatology has not yet been

[20]

hope we get through it, whether in the film or in the painting or in the black milk, or in the black poem, or in the street of bodies. These are the times that try our souls (but soul is just a period, a moment of dots coalescing before the deluge). But what about after the sentence finds or doesn’t find a period? what about after the after? what about after the affair of the heart, the affair of the tin heart, the affair of the fear of the tear, pronounced both ways, as water flowing or dripping from tear ducts around the eyes, or as rip, coherence ripped in too many pieces to count, too many dots to put humpty together again. Then. Then is a word to locate us in time. Then we begin. Then we begin again. We don’t speak, not at first, much less write, the grammatology has

[20]


done, much less undone. We have a light, and we invent a sponsor for that light, a sponsor for the going around from left to right and top to bottom each day, for growing awake and growing weary and growing wonky and honking in traffic cranking the window open and letting just a little of the light into the center of the room. Cracking the window open and letting just a little of the air into the middle of the breath. Now then‒do you deny that your name is tender, do you deny that your bones are brittle, do you deny that your love is tendered to another, do you deny that you are who you say that you are, do you? But this puts one on the defensive, it is not a matter of denial but of affirmation, I am said the man in the robe, but what I am I, the

[21]

not yet been done, much less undone. We have a light, and we invent a sponsor for that light, a sponsor for the going around from left to right and top to bottom each day, for growing awake and growing weary and growing wonky and honking in traffic cranking the window open and letting just a little of the light into the center of the room. Cracking the window open and letting just a little of the air into the middle of the breath. Now then‒do you deny that your name is tender, do you deny that your bones are brittle, do you deny that your love is tendered to another, do you deny that you are who you say that you are, do you? But this puts one on the defensive, it is not a matter of denial but of affirmation, I am said the man in the robe, but

[21]


one my little dog knows, or the one who speaks when I speaks, or just the one, one among many, a dot among the other dots? The dots are like rain and the rain has not stopped, despite what I may have said at an earlier moment. When some words stop being said, others are invented, uttered, utterly told. Every picture tells several stories, and in such stories we remember, which means to put the dots together, or put them in a line, a dotted line from place or time to place or time, and everyone knows the dots are fragile, unwinding, deconstructing in and out of the light. But the dots are still there, they blow and howl and roar and roll through the central square and over the hill and achieve ripeness when ripeness is all and lose it when the rest is silence.

[22]

one my little dog knows, or the one who speaks when I speaks, or just the one, one among many, a dot among the other dots? The dots are like rain and the rain has not stopped, despite what I may have said at an earlier moment. When some words stop being said, others are invented, uttered, utterly told. Every picture tells several stories, and in such stories we remember, which means to put the dots together, or put them in a line, a dotted line from place or time to place or time, and everyone knows the dots are fragile, unwinding, deconstructing in and out of the light. But the dots are still there, they blow and howl and roar and roll through the central square and over the hill and achieve ripeness when ripeness is all and lose it when the rest is silence.

[22]


We know there is no rest, we do not yet know silence.

[23]

We know there is no rest, we do not yet know silence.

[23]


CHARLES ALEXANDER is a poet, bookmaker & the founder/director of Chax Press. He is the author of 5 full-length books of poetry and 9 brief chapbooks of poetry, editor of one critical work on the state of the book arts in America, as well as the author of multiple essays, articles, and reviews. His most recent book of poetry is Pushing Water, published by Cuneiform Press. He has taught literature and writing at Naropa University, University of Arizona, and elsewhere. Charles is currently at work on Collected Essays and a new book of poetry. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his partner, the painter Cynthia Miller.

This little red leaves textile series chapbook was designed and sewn by Dawn Pendergast in Houston, Texas.

CHARLES ALEXANDER is a poet, bookmaker & the founder/director of Chax Press. He is the author of 5 full-length books of poetry and 9 brief chapbooks of poetry, editor of one critical work on the state of the book arts in America, as well as the author of multiple essays, articles, and reviews. His most recent book of poetry is Pushing Water, published by Cuneiform Press. He has taught literature and writing at Naropa University, University of Arizona, and elsewhere. Charles is currently at work on Collected Essays and a new book of poetry. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his partner, the painter Cynthia Miller.

This little red leaves textile series chapbook was designed and sewn by Dawn Pendergast in Houston, Texas.


Some Sentences Look for Some Periods by Charles Alexander  

Poetry Chapbook by Charles Alexander

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