SCHNEE  IS WEISS       We spoke jumbled
 Jungle sentences;    From the jumbles,
 The jungle
 Came epics.   If we were jugglers, costumed,
Not to shake                       On the tightrope of a sentence
While overhead our tossed words were kept in place,
We would have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but have   A narrative,
No epic.   But we would have a quasi-copy,
A mimesis of the never-was,
The emotions transformed to mathematics appearances.   The emotional satisfaction that fictions
And their correct answers bring are distant
From our consolations and conversations.
Let these satisfactions reign
In their natural habitats, bars, professor's lecterns,
Preachers' pulpits.   When we converse, as we conversed
On the lichen-spotted spot in the Fregene forest,
We were so excited
Being with each other
That we in our discourse
Destabilized syntax, the verbal flow
Became disjunctive. There were
Interruptions, postponements.  The completion
Of a thought was rare.  The sentence
Had been did displaced by a river
Of fragments.  We were drowned.
It was vertigo.  It was as if
We were successful whirling dervishes,
And had departed from post-modern
Commodity capitalism to fuse
With what the dervishes would call "God,"
But what we call each other's bodies,
Each other's flesh. We had lost
Gender distinctions and separations.   We had expanded beyond the selves
That the mirror and society had spoken
Into us.  We had ascended to
Epistemological indeterminacy
And narrative incoherence.  Elisions
And syntactical anomalies swept us
Into a rapture.   We were speaking a new language,
A strange language that was referential;
We had overcome the non-referential language of lies
That the people speak and believe.   I loved her so much in that Fregene Forest,
But that moment of a referential language
Was a long time, for now she is far away
In Tampa, Florida speaking a language of lies
With her polylinguistic husband.      
THE POSTSTRUCTURALIST       The season designated as Autumn
 Is here.
 The message
Was sent by a
 red circle on a maple leaf.    What
          I wanted to say
In Spring, I still cannot say in Autumn.   When Winter comes, I will have forgotten
What was so urgent,
                               So ardent in Autumn.    This season, Autumn.
          I don't want to say anything.
          I'm weary, this constant
          Talking to myself.
          Oh how I would talk
To her again, the ugly girl with dark hair
Who drinks green tea.   Sometimes, I walk by the maples in the park
Just to hear the sounds of  Black swans.
The only words I have heard spoken by human beings
Are the words
 I hear spoken
 On television news reports,
          And these words
 Have no references.
          Perhaps, the words
          Were spoken by well-wrought machines.   Ours is the age when Auschwitz, Bosnia, Rwanda,
And Iraqi were possible and happened, all I can hear
From new reports on television is a non-referential language.   What I wanted to say in Spring to the girl with dark hair
Who drinks green tea    And could not say
I'll never say.   She married a news commentator and has gone to Korea.       "A SENTENCE IS TRUE (RIGHTLY ASSERTIBLE)
ARE ABNORMAL AND NOT RIGHTLY ASSERTIBLE       When I screamed, who heard me, not God,
Not the angels, not people,
Not her with the gold twists for hair, her
Whom I loved so much.   I really did not hear myself, I only imagined
I was
        Screaming.   But for a micro-moment I really believed I
        Screaming.   Perhaps,
             I was
Screaming.   Our beliefs about our own behavior
Must undergo constant revision,
Since our beliefs are constantly being
Covered with debris from other's beliefs
About our behavior. The rubble
Must be constantly cleared away.
When one is earnest and serious it must be declared
That whether I screamed or did not scream   Is
   Indeterminate.   We can only know a few things during the few years
We are alive, but I know, in spite of Wittgenstein,
My right hand can give my left hand money.   Warum kann meine rechte Hand nicht meiner
Linken Geld schenken?   This knowledge I have is dead when it is alive,
And alive when it is dead.    I keep having a recurrent vision, often
 In its recurrence, details are revised:
 Sometimes a steel helmet has a sprig
          Of ivy on its brim, sometimes the edge
          Is bent, sometimes, the edge is cracked.
 Sometimes a finger has rubbed away
          The coal dust and has left the shape
 Of opened lips on the steel brim
 Once the outline of the traditional,
 Imagined shape of a heart with a snake
 Piercing the shape with its forked tongue.
But the basic vision is a vision of coal miners
Coming out of a great darkness, their skins
Are smeared with this darkness, a darkness
That cannot be washed off with hot water
And strong soap,     A darkness that become a part of their skin,
                    But a darkness that is invisible.   I had this vision the time that I was screaming or not
                 But during this version of the vision
No one was wearing helmets.
                                            Everyone was
Headed, both men and women.   Perhaps it was the oral velocity of the scream,
Of vivid visual velocity
Of the dream,
That rendered everyone bare headed.  Right now,
At this present micro-moment, I know I am only
Talking to her, her with the gold twist, beauty-shop
Manufactured, for hair, and she is far away, some place
I'm here.
She would not listen even if she were here to hear.  
THAT ARE VAGUE, UNREASONABLE, AND INCONSISTENT   As I am sitting in this special chair
 That allows me
  To prop my feet
          In a location
That is
          Higher than my heart
And am
  Sipping a Negroni
[A negroni is
                   A mixture
 Of Campari, sweet vermouth,
Gin and sin.]  I had a vision   That I should write a poem
That is a self-interview, myself
Interviewing myself. [I forgot    To mention that I added
A small amount
                       Of tonic
To the Negroni.]  But I must preface
This self-interview with a few thoughts
On what I have already said, or did not say,
As now we  who are the college educated
And au courant know that language
Is slippery and indeterminate, there is
No transcendental signified, the signifier
Is not intrinsically related to the signified,
And all ramifications that logically,
Illogically, and alogically that rigorously
Follow or leap from nowhere are
Assumed to be a part of this poetic discourse.   The same situation as described above
Was true in the time of Shakespeare,
But poets at this stage of history
Were concerned with other matters.]   In this self-interview, I asked myself, I prefaced
The question
With a remark, "In a recent review a critic said that you
Do not try for a larger audience.  Would you comment?"   "Yes, I will comment. I don't know how to try for a larger
Audience.  How do you try for a larger audience.  It seems
To me if a larger audience is wanted, one should write
Pornography, or horoscopes, or advice to those who are
Unhappy with their marriage. Programmatic writing based
On any of the three genres mentioned should increase
Readership.  But I personally do not enjoy writing
The above mentioned types of poetry.  Since postmodernism,
Everything is poetry. The character in Moliere
Did not know he was speaking prose, but today,
Since anything passes for poetry, everybody is speaking
Poetry.  Today everything is poetry.  There is Oulipo,
Concrete, Language, Slam, Neo-Formalism, Talk poetry.
Anything is poetry.  All prose is poetry.  The newspaper
Is all poetry.  A blank page is poetry."   I made a few flattering remarks on the perspicuousness
And profundity of my observation, and started to ask
Myself another question when my dark haired, slender
Russian neighbor entered, and volunteered to be the
Interrogator.   She asked a lot of prolix questions concerning the aesthetics
Of  poetry and I gave verbose answers, but cannot remember   What took place
                         For I was in a philosophical trance.   She wore a midriff, and being a philosopher I concentrated
On a contemplation of her navel.   By the way, when I served her a Negroni, I changed
The sweet to a dry Vermouth.  
A brown-eyed musician sits in the shadows
Of two life-sized  posters, shaped like women, but are blank
Due to the chemicals of the printing ink
That faded in the outdoor atmosophere,
Nods his head downward to darken with its shadow   The fin de siècle fleur-de-lis that adorns
His ivory-silk cowboy shirt
As he sings, almost inaudiblely, the legend
Of  Frankie and Johnnie.   I sit here in this al fresco café across the street
From a cinema showing the movie that gratifies
And feeds sadists, "The Passion of Christ."
With a copy of  a poem by the French Oulipo poet
Jacques Roubaud, L'irresemblance.  The text
Interested me because he translates into French
A line from Ludwig Wittgenstein, Un chien
Ne peut pas simuler la douleur.  But my interest
Quickly waned,   And I entered into the random, not programmatic,
But aleatory.   I sipped a Negroni, with dry vermouth substituted
For the sweet with the gin and Campari, as I gazed.
The guitarist now played Kurt Weill's "September Song."
He sung ever lower, almost a whisper.    I noticed a red bird, a Cardinal, in a sidewalk tree.
The color signified as "red" has a variety of hues.  One
Tone of red is the reflection the Campari takes on the
Pure white marble of the tabletop, a different red
From the red of the Cardinal.    Another variety of red, the shoe
          Almost slipped off the foot of the girl
At a distant table.
 Her leg is bare, and her ankle has a paler
Shade of red, but still darker than the
          Surrounding skin.
Her toenails are painted a red, a red that is often
Referred to as "scarlet." She is reading a book
By Stendhal,
 The Red and the Black.
This red in the title is a figurative red.   I wonder why someone with her red
Chopped-off hair was alone. She has
Red freckles on her bare shoulder,
A rusty-red.   I wonder why I am alone.  Is it
Because I'm decentered, destabilized,
Marginal, fragmentary, employ
Syntactical anomalies, improvisatory,
Rhizomic, disjunctive, indeterminate.   She is no longer alone.  A girl
With long white gold hair hanging
Over her bare back is now sitting
At her table. She is wearing a tight
Dress colored cerise.  They are
Holding hands, both are leaning
Towards the other and kissing.
Now, they are discussing
Hélène Cixious' "l'ecriture feminine,"
And poststructuralist Feminist Theory.                      

© Duane Locke

Biographical Note:   Now after being forcefully evicted by what he calls "The Tampa Gestapo" (city inspectors) from his fifty year home in the Tampa crime district and slums, Duane now lives in luxurious retirement by a lake populated with wild birds in Lakeland, Florida.  His Tampa environment was pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, and the homeless, but now is Snowy egrets, Wood Ibis and Wood Ducks.   Duane has a Doctor of Philosophy degree, specializing in poetry from Donne to Marvell. During his academic career at a less-than-mediocre university which he considers a waste of his life he taught varied courses in poetry from Homer to Michael Palmer.   He has had over 5,000 poems published.  As of July 2005, 5,515. He has also had over 250 photos published, mainly photos of  Tampa trash and Lakeland's mystic flowers.  Has had a number of  one man art shows and  exhibitions of  his paintings throughout Florida.   The entire Spring 2004 issue of the magazine Bitter Oleander is devoted to a 92-page interview and sixty of his poems.  The book, "Extraordinary Interpretations," by Gary Monroe has a discussion of his paintings. He is listed in Who's Who in America (Marquis).  For more information click "Duane Locke" on the search engine Google.