The whuffling wino with the simplified face,
he was composing totems with a chainsaw,
including the corpses, pal.
They catch up and slam together like
a God’s door-mat on the threshold of your mind,
and fasten a new skin around it.
Let me repeat.
I give you permission,
the thirteenth fairy.
At the root of the groin
as she called your name,
your voice all slithery like soap.
She could have come home and been safe,
come, judged, before his small captors
that lift and drop a question on your plate.
To the pace of glass,
on the blank stones of the landing
in the city’s throat.
And when all the world came back
like the necks of light bulbs
made of crepe paper–
merely this and nothing more:
say the blessing to a jingle on TV,
on filaments themselves falling. The secret.
You peel eyes from objects, still may allow
a thing gets too quickly forgotten. Things are, in truth, the leeches–
a part of you, instructor.
Getting no answer, closed the telephone.
There’s more in it than you’re inclined to say
to a homeless torso and its idle, grabby–
*Note on Mary Dalton’s “Line 30 (collage)”*
Each line of this poem is the 30th line from another poem, in order as follows:
# Ted Hughes, “Here is the Cathedral”
# Fraser Sutherland, “The Man Who Heard Symphonies”
# John Berryman, “Silent Song”
# Paulette Jiles, “Short Flight Attiwapiskat”
# Mina Loy, “Songs to Joannes”
# Anne Sexton, “For John, Who Begs Me Not to Enquire Further”
# Langston Hughes, “Harlem Sweeties”
# Anne Sexton, “For My Lover, Returning to His Wife”
# Anne Sexton, “Briar Rose”
# Robert Duncan, “The Torso: Passages 18”
# Richard Harteis, “Star Trek III”
# Anne Sexton, “The Death of the Fathers”
# Eavan Boland, “The Pomegranate”
# James Dickey, “The Performance”
# T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
# Bronwen Wallace, “Melons/At the Speed of Light”
# Sylvia Plath, “The Colossus”
# Robert Lowell, “For the Union Dead”
# T. S. Eliot, “Preludes”
# Elizabeth Bishop, “In the Waiting Room”
# Janice Mirikitani, “Desert Flowers”
# Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
# May Swenson, “Poet to Tiger”
# James Wright, “The Journey”
# Joseph Brodsky, “Eclogue IV: Winter”
# Joseph Brodsky, “New Life”
# Langston Hughes, “Theme for English B”
# Robert Frost, “Snow”
# Robert Frost, “The Fear”
# Joseph Brodsky, “Roman Elegies”
fn0. _Arc_ 60, Summer 2008