Monday, March 18, 2013

Jack Spicer


No love deserves the death it has. An archipelago
Rocks cropping out of ocean. Seabirds shit on it. Live out their
     lives on it.
What was once a mountain.
Or was it once a mountain? Did Lemuria, Atlantis, Mu ever
     exist except in the minds of old men fevered by the distances
     and the rocks they saw?
Was it true? Can the ocean of time claim to own us now adrift
Over that land. In that land. If memory serves
There (that rock out there)
Is more to it.


Wake up one warm morning. See the sea in the distance.
Die Ferne, water
Because mainly it is not land. A hot day too
The shreads of fog have already vaporized
Have gone back where they came from . There may be a whale
     in this ocean.
Empty fragments, like the shards of pots found in some
     Mesopotamian expedition. Found but not put together. The
Universe has distance but not much else.
No one’s weather or room to breathe in.


On the tele-phone (distant sound) you sounded no distant than
     if you were talking to me in San Francisco on the telephone
     or in a bar or in a room. Long
Distance calls. They break sound
Into electrical impulses and put it back again. Like the long
     telesexual route to the brain or the even longer teleerotic
     route to the heart. The numbers dialed badly, the
     connection faint.
Your voice
                  consisted of sounds that I had
To route to phonemes, then to bound and free morphemes, then
     to syntactic structures. Telekinesis
Would not have been possible even if we were sitting at the
     same table. Long
Distance calls your father, your mother, your friend, your
     lover. The lips
Are never quite as far away as when you kiss.
An electric system.
“Gk. ήλέκτρον, amber, also shining metal; allied to
     ήλέκτωρ, gleaming.


Malice aforethought. Every sound
You can make making music.
Tough lips.
This is no nightingale. No-
Bodys waxen image burned. Only
Believe me. Linguistics is divided like Graves mythology of
     mythology, a triple goddessmorphology, phonology, and
Tough lips that cannot quite make the sounds of love
The language
Has so misshaped them.
Malicious afterthought. None of you bastards
Knows how Charlie Parker died. And dances now in some brief
     kingdom (Oz) two phonemes
That were never paired before in the language.


Aleph did not come before Beth. The Semitic languages kept as
     strict a separation between consonant and vowel as between
     men and women. Vowels somehow got between to produce
     children. J V H
Was male. The Mycenaean bookkeepers
Mixed them up (one to every 4.5)
     (A = 1, E = 5, I = 9, O = 15, U = 21)
Alpha being chosen as the queen of the alphabet because she
     meant not.
              IBM cards follow this custom.
What I have chosen to follow is what schoolteachers call a
     blend, but which is not, since the sounds are very little
     changed by each other
Two consonants (floating in the sea of some truth together)
Immediately preceded and/or followed by a vowel.


The emotional disturbance echoes down the canyons of the
Echoes theresounds cut offmerely phonemes. A ground-
     rules double. You recognize them by pattern. Try.
Hello shouted down a canyon becomes huhluh. You, and the
     canyons of the heart,
Recognize feebly what you shouted. The vowels
Are indistinguishable. The consonants
A pattern for imagination. Phonemes,
In the true sense, that are dead before their burial. Constructs
Of the imagination
Of the real canyon and the hearts

fr. Language 
in The Collected Books of Jack Spicer
[Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1975]

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