Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Tuesday poem #79 : Johanna Skibsrud : The Real is That Which Always Comes Back to the Same Place

It is, perhaps, for the thought simply to exist—
singly, as for itself …

for distances as against that point to collapse,
be made arable,

assembled in rows … which, for short distances,
one might even

travel along, unhindered … and from which
perspective, one might

see, finally, and come to understand, the way
the farthest visible point

from the thought itself is not a limit, but only
the point at which

the thought, extending itself as if infinitely in
that direction

encounters itself: becomes what it already was:
a sudden violence,

a red ribbon of itself, unfurling. For it to scatter.
For it to become,

as it always was, numerous. A legion of scattered
forces, which,

against the singular, have already begun at a charge:
a final, continuous, attempt

to take the last line. Not to hold it, now, but to
destroy it utterly.

That final point where the horizon rises to meet itself,
and become the limit

of all things knowable, known.  For them to have
already plunged themselves—

their only weapons—into whatever of the words,
or the thought,
outside of themselves, which had, in the first place,
ordered them

to industry or war, can be made flesh: can, that is,
bear contact. For them to

have already turned and fled, tearing at their
clothes, their own skin …

at the wounds they themselves inflict there.  Until
there is nothing

to tear, and even the thought is gone. And will not now
rise, and had not then risen.

Johanna Skibsrud's most recent book is the novel Quartet for the End of Time (Hamish Hamilton 2014). She is also the author of two collections of poetry, a short story collection, and the 2010 Giller Prize winning novel, The Sentimentalists. She divides her time between Tucson, Arizona and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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