Word/ For Word # 2

Noah E. Gordon


a tense of poetry


Cloudless sky, a tendril root, a chord begun
    as unfolding duration & one's lost words,
a red lexicon, an empty definition. Still, day

gathers its discourse--the flow from content
    to perception: language is a translation of grace.
Say the body, say the heart, a composition in blue,

the passing energy, cell, motion, inevitability;
    an impact until meaning is worn through
the mind's opulence, its spindle--the white thread.

Tethered to conviction, one says moon; one, emotion
    --the recurrence of night: a door will open
the shift from anonymity to intellection--a translation

of sight with speech, awoken not by voice
    but what precedes it: the worldliness, wordless;
a measure of sound or movement to song.






a falling in autumn


Felt as a mistake in translation, leave for leaf,
so the tree is an exit, a door into weather,

a symmetry in the spectrum & the stasis
of an open page. Here, morning unfolds

from moment. Recasting the body in sound.
The trace of objects. Echoes. What's

lost in the margins. Another X filling its box.
All told, a centering of sorts. A sphere reflecting

or spun to refraction. Webs, cross-stitched in the corners
& the leaves, unlatching. Desire is the watermark

of sight--a soaking-in. The absence of song
or the absence of sin. Noise isn't what's been lost

on ears, roots or dying limbs. It's impenetrable.
& this is the silence we're playing back to the sky:








the first pencil was hollow
then a cloud passed

each stone was dropped successively
until the trees were covered in a light shale

a chain pulled / a reading light

needle, needle, sew me in,
to row, an oar, to think, some gin

in the display window
a bee moved from each piece of jewelry

on the deck & rain fell
a red triangle / a green triangle

they took in the rigging with the bath water
they took in the stars--painted them yellow

there was, of course, a scurrying of hooves
& a type of nest in the wall

the book wasn't opened so much as it fell open
leaving a trace of warmth &--

the mitten tangled / then a voice rose

then a rose rose
they tied it to a wooden stick

the rocking made them queasy
one said, "I feel a slight nausea settling in"

another said nothing, & another, &. . .
the trees were silently felled

needle, needle, sew me through
stitch his lips, his cheeks go blue






(notes toward the spectacle)


To map the wearing away of things, we're limited by the all or nothing of a naught as an aught & I'd change my shirt to say "story of the day." Separate from the work of boundaries though I begin as your idea of stranger. The public they, gloved in expectancy. If a film based on the real were a play or the century like a coin that previously fit the slot no longer deserving its music, then one event collapses into another's unsaid.

Performance, more a question remanded to the silence cast around shifting bodies than a clap to indicate approval or preceding a strike. It may have been raining. All day the sky a leaden weight. Gone unnoticed, the inevitable protagonists accrue. & our collection of years carries innumerable triggers as a memorized chorus in the shape of one's thumb.

All that I saw from the balcony, an evening's warranted fiction yoked to the eternal. Music angles mood by the limbs' orchestration when right negates left. To reveal the audience's each other, a whisper shall mean much of it. Here, we'd watch her unfold an envelope to the voice-over of an older woman if our desire for narrative outweighed our unwillingness to concede an end.

Decision then pivots from a window painted shut to a woodcut of the player's fingers nailed to the flute. Landscape were less an art of becoming, less paramount between glass & currency than that of the real. Is approach an end, our inclination to trail the supposed mother toward the concrete. I'd call you uncomfortable in dress shoes while the night comes undone in waiting.

How to say I saw it collapse, 0 sweet Rashomon. It is thick & manageable & perpetual. By now we're alone with our wallets, beautiful as laugh tracks, scaled from sovereignty to ethos by the logic of a button worn from overuse. Simple as a wall painted blue.




[contributors' notes]