Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Readings for a holiday season: Time

"In Betweenness"
(Pierre Joris)

is it a good thing to find
two empty pages between the day 
before yesterday & yesterday 
when trying to make room
for the blue opera afternoon 
of today a sunday like any sunday
in may?
            there is no one could tell 
or judge though my own
obsession with the in between 
should dictate the answer
& thus let me rejoice at being able 
to insert today between the
day before yesterday & yesterday 
as if it were the yeast of night 
allowed these spaces to open
(do not say holes to grow)
in the spongy tissue of this
my papery time-space discon- 
            leaven of earth leaven of writing 
of running writing to earth
in these in betweenesses that now 
please as much as the opera in ear 
that asks que dieu vous le rende dans
l’autre monde but the desire is to stay right 
here in this world this in between even as 
the sound changes the radio sings son 
vada o resti intanto non partirai
di qua
            exactly my feeling sheltered on these 
pages now filled and pushing up against 

"In Betweeness" by Pierre Joris appeared online at the Poem-a-Day site. His 1987 collection Breccia has just been republished by Skylight Press. In the book's original introduction Joris, the poet, teacher, and translator, writes: “What I would have liked to see come through in Breccia is the tension between the fragmentary nature of experience & knowledge, & the desire for a narrative syntax, for the whole story of the tribe, the telling of which does inevitably blur the sharp edges of those shards. Europe gave me my history, those ghostly voices of the ancestors, real or made up, lied to or listened to. America gave me geography, the space of my dance. My hope has been that language, or what little of it I have been able to serve, has made a threshing floor for their marriage.” At the end of a year, language becomes a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, the certainty of the past and an unwritten future. Today is "the space of the dance" between.

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