Kate Soper Only the Words Themselves


I. Go Away

When he says, “Go away and don’t come back,”  because he is so angry at you he does not want you anywhere near him right now, but you are quite sure he does not want you to stay away, he must want you to come back, either soon or later, depending on how quickly he may grow less angry during the time you are away, how he may remember other less angry feelings he often has for you that may soften his anger now. But though he does mean “Go away,” he does not mean it as much as he means the anger that the words have in them, as he also means the anger in the words “don’t come back.” He means all the anger meant by someone who says such words and means what the words say, that you should not come back, ever, or rather he means most of the anger meant by such a person, for if he meant all the anger he would also mean what the words themselves say, that you should not come back, ever. But, being angry, if he were merely to say, “I’m very angry at you,” you would not be as hurt as you are, or you would not be hurt at all, even though the degree of anger, if it could be measured, might be exactly the same. Or perhaps the degree of anger could not be the same. Or perhaps it could be the same but the anger would have to be of a different kind, 

So it is not the anger in these words that hurts you, but the fact that he chooses to say words to you that mean you should never come back, even though he does not mean what the words say, even though only the words themselves mean what they say.


II. Head, Heart

Heart weeps.
Head tries to help heart.
Head tells heart how it is, again.

You will lose the ones you love. They will all go.
But even the earth will go, someday.

Heart feels better, then.
But the words of Head do not remain long in the ears of Heart.

Heart is so new to this.
I want them back, says Heart. Head is all Heart has.

Help, Head. Help Heart.

III. Getting to Know Your Body

If your eyeballs move, this means that you’re thinking, or about to start thinking.

If you don’t want to be thinking at this particular moment, try to keep your eyeballs still.

Gilda Lyons A Small Handful


I. Where It Was At Back Then

last night I dreamt
they cut off your hands and feet.
you whispered to me,
Now we are both incomplete.

I held all four
in my arms like sons and daughters.
I bent slowly down
and washed them in magical waters.

I placed each one
where it belonged on you.
'A miracle,'
you said and we laughed
the laugh of the well-to-do.

III. Seven Times

I died seven times

in seven ways

letting death give me a sign,

letting death place his mark on my forehead,

crossed over, crossed over

And death took root in that sleep.

In that sleep I held an ice baby

and I rocked it

and was rocked by it.

Oh Madonna, hold me.

I am a small handful.


II. Music Swims Back To Me

Wait Mister. Which way is home?

They turned the light out

and the dark is moving in the corner.

There are no sign posts in this room,

four ladies, over eighty,

in diapers every one of them.

La la la, Oh music swims back to me

and I can feel the tune they played

the night they left me

in this private institution on a hill.

Imagine it. A radio playing

and everyone here was crazy.

I liked it and danced in a circle.

Music pours over the sense

and in a funny way

music sees more than I.

I mean it remembers better;

remembers the first night here.

It was the strangled cold of November;

even the stars were strapped in the sky

and that moon too bright

forking through the bars to stick me

with a singing in the head.

I have forgotten all the rest.

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.

and there are no signs to tell the way,

just the radio beating to itself

and the song that remembers

more than I. Oh, la la la,

this music swims back to me.

The night I came I danced a circle

and was not afraid.


Preben Antonsen Two Songs on William Blake


I. Nurse's Song

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And whisperings are in the dale,
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind,
My face turns green & pale.

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down
And the dews of night arise;
Your spring & your day are wasted in play,
And your winter & night in disguise.


II. My Pretty Rose Tree

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.

Preben Antonsen Heaven-Haven


I Have desired to go

where springs not fail,

To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail

And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be

Where no storms come,

where the green swell is in the havens dumb,

And out of the swing of the sea.

Katie Balch Phrases



Le haut étang fume continuellement.

Quelle sorcière va se dresser sure le

couchant blanc? Quelles violettes

frondaisons vont descendre?

The high spring steams relentlessly.

What sorceress will emerge from the

white sunset? What violet flowerlets

will fall?


Quand le monde sera réduit

en un seul bois noir pour nos

quartre yeux étonnés... je vous


When the world is reduced to a

lone black wood for our four

astounded eyes...I will find you


J'ai tendu des cordes

[de clocher à clocher; des guirlandes

de fenêtre à fenêtre; des chaînes d'or

étoile à étoile, et je danse]

I stretched ropes [from bell tower

to bell tower, garlands from window

to window, chains of gold from star

to star, and I dance]


il sonne une cloche de

feu rose dans les nuages

From the clouds tolls a

bell of pink fire

Matthew Cmiel an excerpt from hand over mouth forever


Held between wars

my lifetime

                  among wars, the big hands of the world of death

my lifetime

listens to yours.

The faces of the sufferers

in the street, in dailiness,

their lives showing

through their bodies

a look as of music

the revolutionary look

that says    I am in the world

to change the world

my lifetime

is to love to endure to suffer the music

to set its portrait

up as a sheet of the world

the most moving the most alive

Easter and bone

and Faust walking among flowers of the world

and the child alive within the living woman, music of man,

and death holding my lifetime between great hands

the hands of enduring life

that suffers the gifts and madness of full life, on earth, in

         our time,

and through my life, through my eyes, through my arms

        and hands

may give the face of this music in portrait waiting for

the unknown person