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On the Last Day

Jorie Graham, 10 February 2022

... I left the protectionof my plan & mythinking. I let my selfgo. Is this hope Ithought. Light fled.We have a worldto lose I thought.Summer fled. Thewaters rose. How do I organisemyself now. How do Ifind sufficientignorance. How do Inot summariseanything. Is this mystery,this deceptively complexlack of design. No sumtowards which to strive. No general truth ...

Are we

Jorie Graham, 18 November 2021

... Are weextinct yet. Who ownsthe map. May Ilook. Where is myclaim. Is my historyverifiable. Have Iincluded the memoryof the animals. The animals’memories. Are theystill here. Are wealone. Lookthe filamentsappear. Of memories. Whose? What waslandlike. Did it movethrough us. Something says nonstopare you hereare your ancestorsreal do you have abody do you haveyr self inmind can you see yrhands – have you broken itthe thread – try to feel thepull of the otherend – make sureboth ends arealive when u pull totry to re-enterhere ...

Employment

Jorie Graham, 8 September 2011

... Listen the voice is American it would reach you it has wiring in its swan’s neck                where it is                always turning round to see behind itself as it has no past to speak of except some nocturnal journals written in woods where the fight has just taken place or is about to                take place                for place the pupils have firelight in them where the man a surveyor or a tracker still has                no idea what                is coming the wall-to-wall cars on the 405 for the ride home from the cubicle or the corner                office – how big the difference – or the waiting all day again in line till your number is                called it will be                called which means exactly nothing as no one will say to you as was promised by all eternity ‘ah son, do you know where you came from, tell me, tell me your story as you have come to this                Station’ – no, they                did away with                the stations                and the jobs                the way of                life and your number, how you hold it, its promise on its paper, if numbers could breathe each one of these would be an                exhalation, the last breath of something and then there you have it: stilled: the exactness: the number: your                number ...

Thinking

Jorie Graham, 20 March 1997

... I can’t really remember now. The soundless foamed. A crow hung like a cough to a wire above me. There was a chill. It was a version of a crow, untitled as such, tightly feathered in the chafing air. Rain was expected. All round him air dilated, as if my steady glance on him, cindering at the glance-core where it held him tightest, swelled and sucked, while round that core, first a transition, granular – then remembrance of thing being seen – remembrance as it thins-out into matter, almost listless – then, sorrow – if sorrow could be sterile – and the rest fraying off into all the directions, variegated amnesias – lawns, black panes, screens the daylight thralls into in search of well-edged things … If I squint, he glints ...

Underneath (13)

Jorie Graham, 29 July 1999

... needed explanation because of the mystic nature of the theory and our reliance on collective belief I could not visualise the end the tools that paved the way broke the body the foundation the exact copy of the real our surfaces were covered our surfaces are all covered actual hands appear but then there is writing in the cave we were deeply impres ...
...                                                             the laying down on                                                             the earth of the five-fingered silvermailed open hand of the Iguana. Life size. Look. Everything in life turns out to be                                                             life- size ...

All

Jorie Graham, 30 August 2018

... After the rain stops you can hear the rained-on. You hear oscillation, outflowing, slips. The tipping-down of the branches, the down, the exact weight of those drops that fell over the days and nights, their strength, accumulation, shafting down through the resistant skins, nothing perfect but then also the exact remain of sun, the sum of the last not-yet-absorbed, not-yet-evaporated days ...

Intimation

Jorie Graham, 15 August 2019

... Can this write the future, its ooze and stiffening. With whom am I speaking. It sounds like a receiver off the hook a long time. It’s weeping. And you can’t say please stop to the future, it will not stop, it will not stop listening to you as you approach it, always clearer always louder – please stop listening future, but no it does not speak, it just leans in a bit & hears us as we come towards it – & once you think it you must think it – there is no way to recover what we were before – it will not fade – it’s only a thought but it will not fade – unnerving me, its only witness ...

Which but for Vacancy

Jorie Graham, 31 July 1997

... Again today the dream. But of what? The dream like a long slim tunnel we lay ourselves down in – the lilies in the dust, the face that seems to shine in the linoleum – blue – the thing we would strip down to if – the melting snow allowing, the faint falling-sound receding … But the nature of the dream will not appear for us. It lightens the air immeasurably as if it were itself a kind of dawn, but only its form appears, a stillness too elaborate for minds like roots, minds that are roots, to comprehend – (when what we wanted most, of course, was to believe, be loved) – oh comprehension, such a small hissing sound it makes on this still air, that exhalation, little path in its own right the dream lays down ...

Torn Score

Jorie Graham, 17 March 2011

... I think this is all somewhere inside myself, the incessant burning of my birth             all shine             lessening as also all low-flame             heat of love: and places loved: space time and people heightening, burning, then nothing:             alw ...
... stillness. Stillness in time. Rich concentrate. Late summer late-day light. Over but not on magenta. Of. Of dahlia-heads. Of serrated leaves trimmed gold. Plush stalk lost-still in non-moment. All awake but no wakefulness. Low. Small. Snug in flooding light. Unwilled. No speed of anything, no, no motion on surface because suddenly no surface, all a mechanism yes but now neither on nor off, & shining, & not even a frill of breeze – as if there had never been time – as if being had never been or not been – no containing, no cause/effect thing, no, all swallowed by unmovingness of all things ...

Siri U

Jorie Graham, 13 August 2020

... see me what did u see did u scrape what I asked u for asked u to make me into asked &asked there is a name in the body of this blood-rush which u parse in-correctly, I know u think u connect the dots of my inquiry the date of the last revolution thepressure cooker the flesh the right temperature whom do u have locked away in thebasement this time – it is always the same answer they shall stand on line they r covert as inu shall not see them u shall look away where is the nearest place where workis – we wish to be heard and overheard – are u not listening – why taser me who am paintinggraffiti on the abandoned McDonald’s wall in North Miami into my heart you shall shockmy life out of me you shall not see a trace of me please surveil please see what I happenedto search for out of having nothing real given me to do what shall I write on this screen nowI have written it again and again throughout all eternity at this desk in these clothes do yousee me as I am now clothed with my uselessness at your screen begging you to see me seemy circumstances clothe me with a genuine gaze fatal so be it but actual see me as theproject I am for this planet, earth, the one who needs work, accursed, material, my self, myone singular war memorial, my own native land, temporary, what shall I search for in thecity of searches, part of the circuitry in here with you, animated, these are not actualwords, they come out as integers you track, where are the crumbs, where are the woods tomy right to life – see the word appear here before us both – happiness – full of carbon andsystems – and do you not hear any of the murmuring down at the dead end ofthis street, I’m not complaining, I am the temporary, a crime against humanity, I am thetemporary, u are adding more versions of me to the offices of humanity, I am even moretemporary, a row of boarded-up queries, are u wondering why the tenses here are soscattered, why they don’t add up to the time u search for me in ...

The Bird on My Railing

Jorie Graham, 21 October 2010

... From                                  the still wet iron of                                  my fire                                  escape’s top railing a truth is making this instant on our clock                                  open with a taut                                  unchirping un-                                  breaking note – a perfectly                                  released vowel travelling the high branches across the way, between us and the                                  others, in their                                  apartments, and fog lifting for sun before evaporation                                  begins ...

Self-Portrait at Three Degrees

Jorie Graham, 3 December 2015

... Teasing out the possible linkages I – no you – who noticed – if the world – no – the world if – take plankton – I feel I cannot love any more – take plankton – that love is reserved for an other kind of existence – take plankton – that such an existence is a form of porn now – no – what am I saying – take plankton – it is the most important plant on earth – think love – composes at least half the biosphere’s entire primary production – love this – love what – I am saying you have no choice – that’s more than all the land plants on the whole planet put together – blooms so large they can be photographed from space – everything living – take it – here you take it, I can’t hold it anymore – you don’t want it – I don’t care – you carry it for now – I need to catch my breath – I want to lie here and listen – within fifty years if we are lucky – I am writing this in 2015 – like spraying weedkiller over all the world’s vegetation – that’s our raw material, our inventory, right now, we are going through the forms of worship, we call it news, we will make ourselves customers, we won’t wait, how fast can we be delivered – will get that information to you – requires further study – look that’s where the river used to be – one morning I woke up and I was born – I realised I was born – earth was the place to be – hurtling winding unwinding thick nexus looking up at sky down at soil will I learn how to stand on it – I will – I am standing, look, I am a growth possibility, will accumulate a backlog, will become an informed consumer→shapeless unspendable future→this was my song to you→ I stood for the first time on my own→unimaginable strength in these feet, these hands→what am I supposed to not harm→I want to touch things till they break→that is how to see them→all the points of contact→entropy, diminishment, pressing and then pulling back and looking, leaving alone→unimaginable→a meaning in every step→I change shape→it is allowed→wind proves everything wrong→so nothing is unimagined→press too far and there you have it→dream→shape of certainty→wide forces gathering in the sunlight→thought→feel this it is serenity→this is completeness→something darted into the bush→no forcing just curve flight gathering terror unfinality clumps of feel/think then tree-swallows bursting up out of the tree they were not leaves after all the field of rules not visible but suddenness its own rule→surprise ...

Dialogue (of the Imagination’s Fear)

Jorie Graham, 3 March 2011

... All around in            houses near us, the            layoffs,            the windows shine back            sky, it is a            wonder we can use the word free and have it mean anything            to us. We stand still. Let the cold wind wrap round go            into hair in- between fingers ...

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