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Thursday 7 February 2013

Matthew Pfaff


half-crescent lens: a cinematic device. we could say it recreates
the phenomenology of vision. the idea of a heart
in my chest, like an automaton or mollusk. 
There is a second paradox
behind the first; anxiety is the drive
to master the automatism 
of the body; that is the first paradox.
The second is much like the first: behind anxiety’s horror
at its powerlessness to control the heart
Is the further horror
it recognizes in its own compulsions as
unwilled: Gazing longingly 
at its own grotesque 


Piercing charred, tooth
Barrel gun-black – stutt-
Erring bullets braced for
Tongue, staggered, re-
Leased: tongue to teeth
To lips to breathe: word
Centered, ground-work,
Corner-stone sound of:

Ringing through throngs 
Of bleach-black building,
Cemetaries of molten g-
Ray, sun decay, dust-ache
Dirt-bark, sound: these
Leaves of breath break O
Ver me, this branch (syn-
Tax) this song (dip-thong)
This beam (morpheme):

A gray arch of particles a
Particular wave of sound:
Decays, decay: the curv-
Ing line of stone horizon,
The bulbous dome of me
tronome: a clock is struck
inside a truss: a plastic fa
ce erased in space.

The Ghost in the Machine

Tangerines, take three. action—
inside the shroud
of ribmeat beating
tight with chest
and sheets, the sweat
between the breast and heart
that bleeds aloud
in sleep:
inside the central
meadow, ringed by archaic
inside the blue-white
rage of the temple’s
core, the nuclear
pulse of cosmic
fire, the heat
of invisible
sleep, sweet fire:
                           holy and echo.

rage-white petals tight
in a stamen-drum:
             inside an ear-arch beating in time
with fire:
my shapely body-
hearts, my love that bleeds
on the carpet – my shush-
white whirrings
of clutter, my odd hat-
like eloquence destroyed
by the fact
of the mutter:
word-shaped and
invisible, you smash apart
an apartment.
gurgle-turn to the center
of nerves to the pop
of pleasure and the synaesthetic
nine times nine, a time
and times and a half
times Time:
clutch-stutter strapped
to a lemon, a fur-
shaped petal
of longing: tooth material, 
a hard white bone of
animal substance:
chested heart stem, stamen-
ripe furnace
of blood:
you open me
with fullness, you peel me apart
with the rain.
there is a darkness
that knows
no lips
passages of sand, ache-white
gurgles of prose. 
dark hole, darling soul, into which
we flutter:
these shards of
lines that stick
in me, these pieces
of the page (and
all we
are is
of a day)
your skin-and-bones
is all alone
your skin-and-
bones is


if my whisper could rush out
to you, and return, a ghost,
to me (like the shuttle whirs
through threads, or the tiny finger
through the machine)

or if i, from within this mouth
of fire, from between these blood-
bright electrons of
teeth, or through this lattice-
work of ribs and 
meat, could reach—but no: 

this body, dark, too
dark to ever

waiting for rain

i’m waiting for a white hot bright 
that carves apart, or for a gun like 
violent cherries to burst apart my, 
snowflakes in the. snowflakes in the. 
my in the angel of my . 

again again again again again again:

a burst of rain settles on my head where a lot of stuff is breaking apart in the waters where the city waits and sleeps like a giant cow. a giant water sings in the rivers and waits in the giant lake where .

my desiring-machines want candy. “that was a 
moses to my
mother,” said the
man with socks to

ok then finally go to sleep already.

i’m waiting again for the .
always i am waiting.

will you ever finally come to me?
or will you leave me here with nothing?

when i break apart for you,
when i flutter apart in spheres, through milky light,
and through the petals of your dew, 

when i come to the black, pitch place where space waits,
when i at the edge stare down at you,
and palpitate in the doorway – 

then will you rise up / in me, a testimony of fire? 
then will you give me a rock that no one knows? 
then will you finally write my name?

there is something terrible
in your presence. there is an awful
tic in the throat, the hands a nest of pinions,
my ribs a cardboard canister. 

when i burst in you will your fire
explode in the tenseness of space? 
in this bright-white place where time
is tangled around my fingers?

i stretch them out but they snap back /.

will you explode in an emptiness of /
black dew where a heavy rain
is up, and up, and away?

when i condense in a striated black and purple marble,
when my entire being is a blossom of flame,
where time waits,
tangled in my fingers?

when my fingers are a fan of purple fires,
and my face a spark of amber,

when the tenseness is finally
an exploding purple ladder

and the monotony of 
Being hiccups in a bright-white, a spherical slash of ice

and the ashes crash apart my mouth in waves of violet

sunshine, then will your / 
lovely / then will your  
lovely radiance cut me? then will your
fire, a face of rain? –
will your face is a / burst of/ ?

will then your, / lovely –?

will then your

a bright white burst of =  

M. Pfaff is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature, currently completing a thesis on “postmodernist classicism” in innovative verse, titled “Strange New Canons: Classical Reception at the Margins in 20th Century Poetics.” His translations of Greek lyric poetry received the Platsis Prize for Work on the Greek Legacy in 2009, and his poems and translations are beginning to appear in publications such as RHINO, Prick of the Spindle, Counterexample Poetics, Otoliths, and indefinite space.

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