the book of pronouns

by próspero saíz

you are named death
death named you
you are your own
but can't dispose


always undisposed
you stare at your-self always there
but you can never see your-self
(your name will go into an archive
only then will your corpse be dead)
even as you are burned to death in death
even as you are burned in death to death
even as you are carried to the grave
to receive the dear gift of ancient dirt


it is given
when it is given
scale tolling no weight
name-less screams and gestures
never spoken
grain of the grain of the   V o I C E
(a footnote will soon apologize for your not being)

then everything is in the clear
the shadow of your-self    your double
crossing you go dying to understand
more deeply buried in understanding
wrenching   wrenched   into your deathly
becoming   being   your deathly openness
you could never make your way alone
but groped about in signs dancing
deaf to the tune of your life
foundering in the third person plural
and even as your ears buzzed with songs of flie


oh what a gaping mockery your dancing to the tune!
oblivious to the silence of your deathly openness
oh what a mocking corpse your sacrifice delightful!
oh the sublime bitterness of your arrival by your-self
coldly dis-closed in the glaring brightness of closed eyes

          (where you were linked there was no chain)

only a death-grip held you fast as you dis-robed your syntax
                           is your conscience living corpse
                           is the guilt beside your body
and all your words are older than you are
and all your words are younger than your death is
you thought yourself well connected to your world
you thought your skeleton well connected to your flesh
and only once upon a time did you behold your future

         (coming always toward you from long ago)

         (who would not be sadly sullen now. . . )

in the face of the purity of the clean-cut ceasura
in flashing revealations that you would never come to be
un-til un-til anterior days would reveal your n A M E
the ecstatic ringing of a name of once upon a time

                                                                                               is given


              and   yet   and   yet   and   yet

overwhelming movement

betweenness   (maw maw)

effacement of all naming

the corpse undone in its own time

gives way to words chanting the riddle

                                                                         of [dis]appearance


i void my i

i am my void

i mean too much

     there now

language is satisfied

and poetry

     here and there

something and nothing

betweens betweening

random i accident

the part i am

greater than the whole

        i am not


                 i do not insist
                 on life and death
                 on death or life

i am not a part
neither is a part
    of the other
and the other
        is not a part
i am a word not
to a thought i
(it occurs to me)
written i
in random fall

y o u   motivate   m e


i death

owned arbitrary

for your con-

a placing beyond time


awaiting the bridge

you need to see me

with death's other eye

______________________ am dreadful

to you contingent




slip blur






bear no name


                                                the first ray obscure

                heart of the mountain
clearer than the day
louder than the thunder

                                                        true clarity

sad warble of the nothing of

affirming all                                       you are

rhythmic black granite
empty of the statue
stallion legs held muscled
                                                        to thickness of the earth

horrible             dead                        verb
thicket of your/self
                                                        never thought

before                or                           after

not for you--

showing without idea words only
the shadow closes
tired time without end
never beginning

what do you place before us now


you cannot take us on the way

you are open only to your/self
                                                unheard unspoken

in the folds

gaps close upon your silence
forever foreign

many names
surround your exquisite invisibility


somber depths
hard diamonds still
your coming up
blue elements
weigh heavy on your going down
the cave empty singing
the borders of the rock
in depth night closer than
ever to itself--

empty beat
closed to all

show:      the clear outside

              outer is all

              night disengages

the elements shine
in their obscurity
the woman curve
flutes the closing lips

              night disengages


astray i go from home
lost yet again and again
to all

outer outer outer

foreign sole night

madness of the blow
spaceless space of rhythm
astray from past and future

proclamations un-signed

limping ever in error

the skull-eyes see

true wandering in the desert

      --ah pure error--

sacred shroud the night

and the night disengages

where the curves waver
four lips fluting
and the serpent returns
i wander into no where
wavering forgetfulness

how the darkness burns

and the night disengages

the outer word only seems

and the night disengages

speaking not
the deep void alone
is the place

and the night disengages


with holding
the bridge is ever gone
dissolving beyond description

repeat your/self



and nevermore rest--

emptiness happens

figure it

in your not having your/self
to have
hidden apparition
your desolation perseveres

the absent flower of absolute night opens
essence fades
the daylight shows
how no thing is

in the curve of the mountain
the cone falls from the pine
in the cool rain
a forever different rhythm
                                        sets in



here    in the desert

what now?

does the corpse decompose afloat
on the thin line of the horizon?

do you approach the desert
or does it come unto you?
the desert closes at night
agoraphobia seizes all space
and you move on and on--everywhere
you run from yourself in this desert
and density spasms in grave being
infinite dispersion of the sands
they come into you
and you cannot stay
for long in your dwelling place

i am everywhere in the sands
where all signs are written
in invisibility
you read the wind
in infinite distance
and come close to yourself
heavily ingrained

is this your place
where the vastness approaches
where your now goes away
without tomorrow's time
where your words resound
and the outside comes nearer
always nearer
but never arrives?

where are you?

all this white open space
comes over your place
and time repeats itself
very near to where you are
and your word is ever altered
intense ringing in the ear
which refuses all in-folding
and sees forever the animal night
even as the eye rests on the horizon
you cannot dwell

. . . . forever endure

i am my lack
my solitude
deserts me

the sands
so vast outside
alone i'm not
there anymore

whiteness of the night

anonymity so close
time's i everywhere
outside    outside the outside
the desert rots the sun
a stand of white pines
in the moonlight singing
a cappella

shelter of four winds blowing
the silent white insomnia of the night
illuminates the dying corpse

y o u

you-now cadaver wanting no burial
no chanting for your rotting flesh
you persisting in your absence
you resting in closeness to us all

your wish to be a nothing cannot be
you are still approached by us
you less and worse than nothing
the perfume of your death
carries no weight
the space you occupy
carries no truth

you make us weep in ritual
you are gone and yet are here
you cannot be annihilated
you must be burned or buried
your remains are not your own
so strange you cannot see them there
where you still are

you are still in this world

demur     demur     demur

a name and strange decay
to whom does this strange scent belong
--detached from all belonging--
is this the closeness of the end

you with your infinite stare
a fearful subsistence unseeing
a world left behind our backs
so timid so quiet so far gone
so inactual in a world left behind
you are not yet

a jazzy whimper in the burrow of the brain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     dies out


it thought it saw its tracks
the light erasing

visibility was blindness
it saw too much

the light never is
there      it is

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Light and Dust Mobile Anthology of Poetry.

Published in The Bird of Nothing & Other Poems by Ghost Pony Press. Copyright © 1996 by Ghost Pony Press.