What they don’t know, of course,
is that you don’t fuck with the Hammer.
The Hammer smiles, you smile, you wave the truck
ahead. It’s pretty simple,
for poetry does not make assertions;
philosophy does. When the Hammer speaks,
he speaks of something wild. You stop your world,
the phony one, the constructed one. It stops
and stops and stops—
I force open the lock, let in the sun.
The Hammer and I confront synaptic death
each day we live. What’s left is fire now.
‘Welcome to the Republic of the Sane.’
I smile and let the fresh air fill
the cabin, fill their lungs. The Seine is just
a river in France, right? I smile and say,
‘The hard part is over.’—though we all know
it isn’t. I tell them, ‘Wallace Stevens
once lived in this house’—though he didn’t.
Let be be finale of seem, I quote. I speak
with care. This is the current reply: The only
Emperor is the Emperor of ice cream.
We hold our arms heaven-ward, like
we are angels in heaven. Since it’s winter
I have a fire burning in the fireplace.
The kids can have a bedroom to themselves,
upstairs. There is hot water, take a bath…
‘In transit to the blank planet,’ I say.
‘That’s your answer: where we are, a point,
circumference points, vectors maybe,
an asymptotic self-description,
that’s the best answer to your question.’
We sit next to the fire
and listen to music. Tonight it’s Schubert,
Winterreise. I read a little from
The Hour of the Star. We talk about Adorno,
Emil Cioran, Gaston Bachelard, Chaucer.
We talk about poetic thinking. Is
the goal to have
an ultimate clarity or is
the poet’s mind composed of play
and speculation? I prevaricate,
I lie, deceive, evade. We open up
a decent bottle of port. The Hammer
has prepared calamari in a butter sauce.
There’s fresh pasta, fresh bread.
‘My friends, a toast,’ I say. They have to know.
‘Today’s word is vector, a vector like
ticks are for Lyme disease, mosquitoes for
malaria.’ The transmission of disease,
is that what humanity is? ‘Human
intelligence,’ I say, ‘may be the result
of a virus. It would explain a lot.’
Among the things we console ourselves with
I will put other people at the top.
I know, my dear, you tremble at the word
thing. ‘Think to say I and Thou’, you would say
were you here, were you still with me.
That people partake of Being as objects
is only part of the story. Well, perhaps, I err…
perhaps I do. One of the things I read
to the people who come across the line
is this from Clarice Lispector:
It must be said the girl is not conscious
of my presence. Were it otherwise she would
have someone to pray for and that would mean
salvation. But I am fully conscious
of her presence: through her I utter my cry
of horror to existence. To this
existence I love so dearly.
It is very beautiful, is it not?