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Holderlin hybrids: In a doorway.


The world was galaxies imagined flesh. Mortal. What to think now? Think simple. Matter? A lump of wax? An afterglow? Or does everything happen of its own accord? Perfect and full-bodied. No more. Observable. No longer. In your eyes or line of sight. Down all three dimensions of time. Or lock up the house. Or prophets.

Here I work toward. A kind of elegy. Here a strange ceiling. "Earth fills his mouth." I would look at you. And write you. A spell but slack at the edge. And in the door where I stand your voice goes. Hollow.

If what happened. (Happened?) Hand. Between palms. Grief. Death. Coffee with cream. Coffee. Arms, knees and free will. And shiny. Rainbows.

The words have detached. And spread throughout my body. Such reckless growth. Windbag! Want to see come full circle the wheel? To comment. My own commentary till I till. My own great-granddaughter's body?

Absence. But it cuts. Repeat. Furiously Yes then No. Even a fictional character catches a chill. Makes the heart. And cold penetrates. We do not fall off the surface. But you, planet earth. Grow. Even as we read. Fonder of the dark.


Electric bulb. How the words are. Suspended around you. And. Bones in the body.

In packets comes the voice. Often have I emptiness, it says. Emptiness is enough and as good as within. If your own strength carries your bones let emptiness. Lift them up to the sky. Often have I attempted the sky but it hears me not. The way corollaries are and the air. Transparent. Or not. Head wrapped in fog. But always always the earliest memory. Comes. Not as light but sluggishly. More visible must. More like a weather-wane must memory. Then it revolves in feeling. In pubic hair. As if taking place.

Grass grows. But stalagmites too rise from below. Else out of order the world. And the more blurred, the more lost in thought. That water rises as the pipes burst we understand. Which is why the need and power to see an oak and think "oak". Is given us. And transparent flesh. And the eye, most dangerous of lenses, is given. So that we should see and imagine and think and be out of the question. So that we might weigh our answers with scales. From our eyes fallen.

Nowhere among the living. He remains. No razor gathers.

Strange things happen and unexpected. Not that I to you. Want to expose myself. And flesh touching flesh cannot explain. Innumerable cells. Spreading inward.


Something else it is. To leave your house and cross the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Aegean, Pacific. So many were killed. And to stand each. In a doorway. And say I don't live here.

In the dark leaf nerve fibers spread out and from the brain. Scatter and like flames. From the spinal cord. Stinging. And stimuli from every. By ravenous hunger overcome. Transmitting backwards and forwards. "Nerves" more than seven. Dwarves hi ho off to work. And farewell to the personal. Pronoun.

So Mohammed. Rinaldo. Barbarossa. As divided into fragments. The emperor Heinrich. I am however mixing up the centuries. But gloom there is. In every needle, thread and cloth. Crossed the Alps and with his own voice sighed "some things..." And his son Konrad of poison died. Hark ye the horn of the watchman at night. And hair. Away from the body grows.

Tendons. Muscles. Sweat. Interrupt their conversation. A man. A man by the sea. A woman. The earth and its inhabitants. Antigone. Antibody. Anathema. Discrimination, fine. What is a body? Moves. Passes water. Again and again.

When above the poem flames. And coal black the dream. Round the soles of your feet because. The earth pulls your body. More fiery through sphere plunged. But lovely it is the soul to unfold. And the sand burning.


The moon is a thin line and we see a thin line. By Thebes and thieves! let not our names be blotted out.

The things that enter one's skull. But a real skeleton. With key. And describing your eyes the dark.

Plainly a heavy heart. Can it bring about death? Impossible to understand. But when heavy the feet yet venture out. On a path you know as long. As you live you. Cannot die.

A horse stares unblinking. You slap a tree trunk as if. To imprint all that's the case. Or a snow goose high above the globe. Where are you?

Stripes. Blue lilies. You know your neck. (Not your mind.) Is damp with sweat. And like the more solid vase both. Not without limits.


Narcissus, clematis, ranunculus, rancor. All the forces of flesh. And spirit clash. Shrieking birds inside your body. As when you say both Yes and No instead of music. To your own questions. As if flesh were not. Grass death should forget to mow. The ship anchored. In your head goes up. In flames and time backwards.

You should take everything. Except your shoelaces. To heart. Which moves within the flesh. And should.

My friend. Take care not to die. Not be torn to pieces. And let not because we're raw. Gods lash with waves our flesh. And its muscles and fibers and vessels and fat. And with this spell move on. If indeed life is. A dream it had better be. A good one. Which goes to the heart. Yet the world is all air. My luck to hear scholars debate the word "smoke" and not. Suffocate. Whereas imaginings take shape. As though in this world.

Rosmarie Waldrop's most recent books of poems are Reluctant Gravities (New Directions, 1999), Split Infinites (Singing Horse Press, 1998), and Another Language: Selected Poems (Talisman House, 1997). Northwestern has just reprinted her two novels, The Hanky of Pippin's Daughter and A Form/of Taking/It All in one paperback. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where she co-edits Burning Deck books with Keith Waldrop.
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Author:Waldrop, Rosmarie
Publication:Chicago Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Dec 22, 2001
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