Patrick Pritchett

Considering How Exaggerated the Light Is

(i.m. Leslie Scalapino, 1944-2010)

What would you glean
the long go-away-from-it plan
at hazard, sheer glass over
and the eking out
of syllables

ten cents-a-dozen
no rhymes


It would be occasion, return of the others from their something not right
I know, I could see them, moving down the aisle, that there should be
this music

This was the time when the dying still brought in their cups, not yet empty


The stippled
of light
tips forward

with pollen

and the promises of dust
stare back at us

give evidence of our having lived
through the questions
without any thought
for the answers

The Departed

for Michael Gizzi

Say you say nothing.
That would be the simplest way.

Or say you sing a song of sixpence
then put the phone down.

Say you say a few words 
words already departed.

Choose random phrases.
It’s raining today.

Mix random phrases
with items from the news.

If I can bear it, I will call.
If I can bear his dearness then
I will call or I may fall silent.

Say you plead silence 
and put down the phone 
as terrestrial love creeps by unawares.

Say you say how each word matters.
Grass, for instance. Rain, for another.

Say it is raining somewhere.

How we go out in the morning.
How we come home in the evening.

Say in a few words how less
is better. How least, lost, 
the last letter is a whisper.

Say it so the ghost can hear you.

Homage to Spicer

When you are a ghost
you can do 
Plumb a huge fathom.
Glide the big swoop.
Extend easy credit.
It’s what the dead do.
Who go treadless
through the slop-trough
of language.

What I wanted to say is already
here, inside this 
book, opened to the fire
of souls
called a page.
The tremendous updraft
through the chimney
of December
and its crown of
iron leaves
slowly burning. Settled
on the lawn
in droplets of hot slag.

did it say we were 
That you will go mad
and live to tell about it?
That the brontosaurus in the room
is a constant white 
radiating the fever of extinction?
Or that something happened to the Martians
and now they trail their ghosts 
through the ash 
of December
and the mine of lost souls, Eurydice
all yours for the asking.

Saying hosanna, saying
eh, not so much.
Saying, remember this, weirdo
and sing it to bitters.
The beauty of the world is 
a page on fire with never.