Elaine Equi: 3 poems

  Elaine Equi

  Three poems:

  Manifest Density,
  Granular Time / Granular Distance,
  Escapist Art
  Manifest Density
Tall buildings
stand blindfolded
by moonlight.

What is there to say about here?

That it has a name?
A zodiac sign?

That it can read minds,
as well as empty pockets?

Our view is one of constant deferral.

Obstruction is built upon
obstruction with a flair —

garlands and gargoyles,
roadblocks and renovations.

But all anyone ever needs
to take is the next step.

The sky is torn in half.

Feet see below
to another world.

  Granular Time / Granular Distance
Not the clatter
of cataclysm,

not the Big Bang
this morning,

just the slow
wearing down
of one order

and the steady
gnawing upward
of another.

Change is also possible
if gradual.

History can – must
be rewritten.

The paranoid dictator
will not notice us replacing

all the books in his library
if we do it one at time.

  Escapist Art
You have to know where the soft spots in boredom
are located – and push.

Find the panels painted in repetition and muted colors
that make it look like nothing is happening,

but actually slide back to reveal orgies and cannibalism,
VIP lounges of mythological creatures holding court.

In the sixties, people used drugs to access these psychic playgrounds.

Today there is an app designed to track – create and replicate –
deliver all manner of them to you in under an hour.

So are these places still desirable when everyone is already there,
as everyone already is?

Yes, because the inner experience they produce cannot be duplicated yet.

For that reason, small bands of artistic brother and sisterhoods
continue to preserve and chant the secret sacred nonsense syllables

just as they did in the Dark Ages, for the aesthetic evolution of all beings
until they be liberated from art itself.


Elaine Equi is the author of many collections of poetry including, Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems, Click and Clone, and most recently, Sentences and Rain, all from Coffee House Press. She teaches at New York University and in the MFA Program at The New School.


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