Kate Soper Only the Words Themselves
text by LYDIA DAVIS
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
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
text by ANNE SEXTON
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.
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
text by 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
text by GERALD MANLEY HOPKINS
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
text by ARTHUR RIMBAUD
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
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