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Ed Pavlic


Ed Pavlic


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From: Arachnida Speak

      we too carry dreaded glands in our abdomens
they hold secretions from our dark ages
     born in true flame

honed in flat-toned howls
     sure footed dances

        we bear the chemicals of our struggle

     some feel them useless

burdens in the face of this nimbus gnarl
    this plenty

       sudden varacies become seizures of remembrance

     how eyelashes turned centipedes in your sleep

sentinels stalked your face
    our own mythic bugaboos  hair drew back and rattled

        noses and talons grew sharp

    arms feathered

of course we had patterns of our own then
    premonitions  gifts of shadow

       nook and boon of darkness

    our metabolic pact with rock and hard places


       so now you know it's coming   again
unfathomed still

taken in by appearances  carousels  rotisseries of
     plumb believers

        baked in booths of still light and peppered

    with the haste of relishers

rivaled only by the Pentium whirr and bizillioned crackle
    of avarice

        you've dug in well pilgrim
amazed as were our enemies   we'd thought
     the plains' wind

would blow you all away  we watched you
    tear at your ears for generations

       now the howl's distant   a red Doppler glow

     barely stirs leaves in the street

       after the storm a sunrise lifts

   the scent of a daughter's hair tangled in a field of wheat 


something in you too  cousin  feared our enemies
     we owe it all to you now

       our golden age   we breed colonies

in what you've fooled your fool selves into knowing

cutting edge vassals
     we were prepared to wait

       but in your heady leap frog with evolution
in scant centuries
    you've murdered most of our foes

and with your telescopes in orbit can almost see
    the dragonfly

      never mind the solution for gravity

    beheld  our web in four dimensions  Forms

hallowed and pristine   crystalline lens and cast-iron mask
    belief stalked and mothered

       by fear   and time  have you any time at all?
if you'd only pause

       we'd gift you our sacred jewel of night

we'd let you have Chicago and time enough to die


Poems - Bio - Review - Mini-Review - Interview 

Ed Pavlić’s most recent books are But Here Are Small Clear Refractions (Achebe Center, Bard College, 2009), Winners Have Yet to be Announced: A Song for Donny Hathaway (UGA P, 2008) and Labors Lost Left Unfinished (UPNE, 2006). His other books are Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue (Copper Canyon P, 2001) and Crossroads Modernism (U Minn P, 2002). His prizes include the Darwin Turner Award from African American Review, The American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize, and the Author of the Year Award from The Georgia Writers Association. He has had fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center, The Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and The MacDowell Colony. In 2009, Winners Have Yet to be Announced was adapted to the stage by Black Poetic Ventures, a drama company in Phoenix Arizona. He has taught poetry at Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia and at the Kwani? Lit Fest in Nairobi and Lamu Town, Kenya. He lives with Stacey, Milan, Suncana, Mzée and I Am Pozzo in Athens, Georgia.


Poems - Bio - Review - Mini-Review - Interview 

A BEAM OF LIGHT ON CHIPPED BRICK, a review by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, first published by Crab Orchard Review in the Fall of 2007

Listen to/download the review here

Ed Pavlić’s third book, Winners Have Yet To Be Announced, A  Song For Donny Hathaway, poems by Ed Pavlić, The University of Georgia Press, 2008, eulogizes the life and music of the musical icon for which the book is titled.  Hathaway, who is credited with revolutionizing American Soul in the 70s with hits such as “Everything is Everything” and Where is the Love,” receiving both critical acclaim and commercial success on the US Pop and R&B charts.  Arguably, Hathaway’s vocal and instrumental vision pushed the nexus of Jazz and Soul deeper than it had ever gone, popularizing Soul in a way no one had before him.  And yet, despite such unprecedented achievement, Hathaway was hospitalized several times for depression, hampering his career.  And on January 13, 1969, in the midst of a return to musical success, the singer, songwriter, and composer was found dead in the street, beneath the 13th floor window of his room at the Essex House in New York City— the glass purposefully removed, his death ruled a suicide. 

Unlike other such book-length elegies (i.e. Robert Penn Warren’s Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce and Mary Jo Bang’s Elegy), Winners not only tells Hathaway’s story but deftly explores the music and depression of this masterful musician with language.  Arranged in 14 sections (or, perhaps, chapters) of sequenced prose poems spanning 190 pages, Pavlić leans against facts borrowed from album liner notes, Hathaway’s own writings, and on interviews conducted by others with his friends, colleagues, and family.  The material from these sources is then reworked into fictional form. 

The first section of Winners consists of a single, 29-page poem, “Interview: Cause of Death: A Sound or Something Like It: February 15, 1979: Chicago, IL,” which reads like a sequence of interwoven testimonials by who knew Hathaway and by Hathaway himself. 

The book opens:

Sure, you could say I knew [Donny died], we all knew it all along.  Or did we?...There it was, things spun into focus…like when you stare out of a train window at trees blurring by and suddenly turn your head against…motion…and…there’s one tree standing…Or falling… (i, 4)

The next section of the poem quickly moves away from discussions of the musician’s death and launches one of the major motifs of the book, that death is not the end of one’s life but is another state of existence:

He’d been there for years.  Trying on disciplines.  Midair right there in front of us.  Propped himself upright and forced himself to look the other way.  She in the funny-house mirror.  Running scared… (ii, 5)

But Hathaway is foremost a master craftsman, a true disciple of song:

One night…we turned into a storefront service and I felt him blast off in his seat.  Real rage and despair…he could tell from the sermon which song ‘d be next…they still use minor downstairs and major for tears on the way up…You know how, if someone’s really terrified, their voice sort of gurgles somewhere underneath, like they’re drowning somewhere under themselves?...That night he learned to play that sound with his left hand…learned it right then and there…And I remember that beam of light on chipped brick thing happening in his face.  he said, ‘Well there’s something…’. (x, 13)

Success, however, is another story.  This first poem reveals a brilliant man haunted by the notion that while he’s reached the height of commercial and critical acclaim, his music is ultimately a failure, never quite reaching his audience the way it reaches him:

Whole sections of the spoken language on the scrap heap.  Worse than silence.  A kind of sound with no song, with no roots in silence.  It’s a lot to ask of music, then, isn’t it?  To be song and silence at the same time to people hell-bent on holding them…separate?... (viii, 11)

The result is a man increasingly alone, a man who considers his success (and the people who hand it to him) a fraud:

People would talk to him and he just wouldn’t respond… (iii, 6).  He’d begun to call the shit people hand each other “death sentences.”  I can hear him now, “counterfeit flesh-bridges, webs of agreed-upon delusions.” (vi, 9).  [He said,] they don’t want to be cured.  [They want to be] entertained… (viii, 11)

And what we end up with is an musician reaching into sound for an experience beyond music, “’a kind of discipline…an unplayed card…something like hearing, and I can imagine sitting and talking to a person…Where does that leave us?  The Mood…” (25).

This first poem also introduces us to what Hathaway calls “Mr. Soul,” a character of sorts who follows him around throughout the book and who ultimately narrates his death.

In the first poem of the book’s second section, “Listening Notes: Mercy Medical Psychiatric: January 13, 1973: Chicago, IL” Hathaway furthers his commentary on music in his own voice:

Most of them play it way too loud.  Maybe they’ve already sold their souls to noise.  Make noise out of anything.  Fill mountain air with car horns.  Up early, jack hammers with toothbrush fittings… (i, 36)

But, in my head, they’re somewhere beneath whispers.  Volume, yes…[but] it really has nothing to do with amps…silent as karst in the fog on rice paper.  Majestic, even, the longevity of a wave has its own sounds… (ii, 37)

Then, another voice suddenly interrupts:        

        You mean wave length?
        You again? Can't you wait outside in the street anymore?
        It's raining.
        How'd you get in?
        Don't worry about that, you were saying?
        Since you're so interested... (37)

and Hathaway goes on to have a conversation with a person he believes is there.

Four pages later, another, more lyrical personae enters in italics, on its own page between sections v and vi, “nude          he’s on fire      he climbs over the rocks on the breakwater and opens the blue with his body” (41), and after section xiii, “on fire       over the rocks on the breakwater       with his body,”(50)— the voice of Mr. Soul.

These opening poems of Winners forecast the narrative structure of the book.  Swinging back and forth between the testimonial voices of the musician and of those who knew him with the multiple, internal and external voices of the musician himself, Winners delves into the history of Hathaway’s musical education and family, the origins of music and of the Western world, and the nature of his depression, telling his story with wildly cross-referencing narratives in a way that, once you get to know Hathaway, it seems only Hathaway could. 

This adaptation of such a legendary’s life, work, and words is, without question, a risk.  But it’s nothing new.  The narrative, imagistic, and lyrical impulse behind poetry written today works in much the same way, as a mere representation of reality— as stand-in for actual experiences that, in the end, can only approach that which actually takes place.  Pavlić briefly addresses this concern in “A Note On Fictional Truth,” which appears after the Acknowledgements page at the end of the book.  “All correspondence,” he writes, “between the truths of this book and documented (or as-yet documented) lives of real people are a kind of unintended exhaust produced via my encounter with the tone of Hathaway’s voice and the power of his music” (190).  Indeed.  For what is music without its listener?  And what is a listener without his/her various levels of interpretation. 

What Pavlić has put together in Winners Have Yet To Be Announced, A Love Song For Donny Hathaway, poems by Ed Pavlić is, as the title implies, as conflicted as its subject.  Is Winners a book of poems?  A song?  A work of fiction?  All indications point toward yes.  Like music (which overlaps tones, vocals, solos, instrumentation…), these poems at all times switch between (and yet, simultaneously rely upon) prose, poetry, fiction, and voice.

Pavlić crafts this voice by eschewing the conventions of the genres, oftentimes omitting punctuation, rarely using line breaks or citation, and manipulating ellipses, indentation, and the typical stanzaic structures in such a way that boils language down to its bare parts but always with a control that any writer would admire.  Emulating with the word and with syntactical play what Hathaway did with instrumentation and voice, the rhythms and signatures of these poems slip within and beneath themselves, pushing for a deeper, self-created experience with poetry and music.  The result is a truly unique encounter for the reader who not only gets to know Hathaway but gets to know his music in a way that simply hasn’t before been an option.

As a result, when Mr. Soul breaks in in the penultimate section of the book, “Mr. Soul’s Listening Notes: “You Are My Heaven”: Lakefront Hallucination: January 13, 1979: 10:45 pm: Essex House Hotel, Manhattan,”

          I had the man pegged before he was a man.  I watched him from out in the rain. 

Remember me?...Didn’t think so.  He knew me, though.  And him trying to convince everyone I was real.  His doctors.  That band.  Good luck. (i, 176)

we’re left convinced that it’s not Hathaway’s family or friends who are left out in the cold of a New York “January with a big old air-hole in the window” (“A Song For You”: A Conversation: October 26, 1979: Chicago, IL,” i, 66).  Rather, it’s Hathaway whose been let down…not so much by his doctors or his colleagues or friends and family, but by music itself, that artform he seems to know a little too well in “Listening Notes: After Shock Therapy: Mercy Medical Psychiatric: November 7, 1973: Chicago, IL”:

          Deafening        I sit with my hands weightless on the keys   goddamn          I could

sit like that for hours              Debussy said he never wrote down a line until just before it disappeared                I tried it: Jesus, it hurt at first… (i, 56)

I could sense it getting light behind me           and then what I wrote wasn’t the line I’d lost                       they don’t       don’t fool yourself      they never comes back…I’d wait…and I’d write down what I could feel coming on        behind me as if it was right over my shoulder            I swear I thought they were

shadows          I used to pretend they were people… (ii, 57)

When the final section presents itself as a quote from the Washington Post reporting on Hathaway’s death, “‘the door to the room was locked and there was no evidence of foul play…He was nominated for a second Grammy in 1978.  Winners Have Yet To Be Announced” (i, 184), it’s Mr. Soul who has the last word.  We find we’ve come to the end of a book that, if we had it our way, wouldn’t end.


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A Review of Ed Pavlic's Featured Works by POW Contributing Editor Zach Macholz             

Ed Pavlic is the author of four collections of poetry, including his first collection, Paraph of Bone & Other Kinds of Blue, which won the 2001 American Poetry Review/Hinickman First Book Prize.  The poem “From: Arachnida Speak,” published in Open City #16, reveals Pavlic as a poet of unique vision.  He sees the world in ways that seem strange, almost alien at times.  There is an undeniable lyric power to that vision, and though his style is a rare one in the world of contemporary poetry, it demands rereading, and after careful study, displays a metaphorical artifice and a thematic relevance that are difficult to deny.

            The poem “From: Arachnida Speak,” seems to simultaneously embody the voice of all humanity, but channeled through language and imagery that clearly belong to the vision of arachnids themselves, and attempts to draw on parallels—sometimes literal, sometimes figurative—between the two species and their respective histories.  Consider the opening stanza of the first section:


     we too carry dreaded glands in our abdomens

they hold secretions from our dark ages

   born in true flame 

And a bit later:


   we bear the chemicals of our struggle


some feel them useless 

There’s an evolutionary theme here—if the assumption that “dreaded glands in our abdomens,” and “some feel them useless,” refers to the appendix as it seems to, then “our struggle,” is our struggle for survival and evolution.

            The imagery later in the first section remains intentionally double, potentially describing both humans and arachnids with lines like: “sudden varacies become seizures of remembrance / how eyelashes turned centipedes in your sleep.”  There are hints throughout, despite the ultimate message of the poem, that suggest there are similarities and parallels between human and arachnid existence.    

            The poem uses visual space in an interesting way, with short to medium lines staggered and spaced almost erratically.  Though the poem’s movement seems at times illogical in terms of lineation and indentation, it just may be intended to mimic the complicated hydraulic movement of an arachnid’s legs. 

            This jagged sense of movement may also be a metaphorical mimicry of the haphazard course of human history, a theme which continues throughout the poem:


of course we had patterns of our own then

   premonitions    gifts of shadow


      nook and boon of darkness


   our metabolic pact with rock and hard places

This narrative thread of the arc of physical evolution of a species, and the cyclical history of that species’ impact on the planet, continues in the beginning of the second section:


      so now you know it’s coming    again

unfathomed still

And later in the section, the poem’s diction turns sharply towards dealing explicitly with the arachnid collective speaker’s views of humanity:


   with the haste of relishers



rivaled only be the Pentium whirr and bizillioned crackle

   of avarice


   you’ve dug in well pilgrim

                        amazed as were our enemies   we’d thought

                           the plains’ wind


                        would blow you all away

A highly charged line like “the Pentium whirr and bizillioned crackle / of avarice,” would seem to embody the voice of arachnids observing human technological development.  The line “you’ve dug in well pilgrim,” evokes both a sense of the arachnid class’ sense of inhabitance of the land predating human arrival, and perhaps even ironically recalls John Wayne’s iambic pronunciation of the word. 

            In the opening lines of the third section, the theme of the collective arachnid voice speaking is fully crystallized:


something in you too   cousin   feared our enemies

   we owe it all to you now


      our golden age   we breed colonies


in what you’ve fooled yourselves into knowing

Here, what the arachnid voice only hints at in earlier sections becomes clear: it is a voice critical of the breakneck pace and voracious appetite of human progress:


   we were prepared to wait


      but in your heady leap frog with evolution

in scant centuries

   you’ve murdered most of our foes


and with your telescopes in orbit can almost see

   the dragonfly


      never mind the solution for gravity…

Finally, here, in the denouement, we see the arachnida wisdom, the worldview that perceives humans as rash, as oblivious to their surroundings, as alien in the land that spiders, ticks, and other arachnids have inhabited for far longer—and which they might one day have all to themselves.

            The poem finally makes use of its first—and only—piece of punctuation in the third-to-last stanza, asking the question: “Have you any time at all?”  In the context of a modern worldview, this is a question with several layers of meaning: it questions the very existence of time, and perhaps more importantly, the way in which we as humans are seemingly hastening its end.  Ultimately, the voice of the arachnid collective taunts us, conditionally offering humanity a way out:


if only you’d pause


      we’d gift you our sacred jewel of night


   we’d let you have Chicago and time enough to die

It is a generous offer, but one that humanity seems unlikely to pause long enough to accept.  Though Pavlic’s poems won’t be to every reader’s taste, with their lack of punctuation and, at times, seemingly contrived use of white space in its place, his vision—and the vision of arachnida everywhere—is certainly one worth considering. 


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An Interview with Ed Pavlic by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum: This sequence of poems is in an interesting form with its lack of punctuation, capital letters, and the spacing between stanzas and the indentations and such. Why put it together in this way?

Ed Pavlic: I've written a lot of poems in this format, actually. The absence of capitals and punctuation gives the page a uniform, code-like appearance. A kind of communiqué impression. Three spaces between phrases when there are breaths in midst of lines,

in-jambment. Certain poems call for that approach as they come into bring. I usually go with it. I don't think it's that uncommon.

The stanzas are three staggered (3-0-6 space-indented) lines. Then there's one full stanza on each page, the rest are partial, decayed, broken. Something's held back, you know, lip bitten. My first book was all staggered three-line stanzas. . . I think these are relatives of those. I've got a complete book, unpublished, of poems in this form, some punctuated, some not (this can't be interesting to anyone but me!). It's titled "Visiting Hours at the Color Line." But, I think the approach follows something similar to a statement by a really fine, S.F. Bay-area painter named Henry Jackson. Of his work with abstracted human figures, he wrote :

To merely depict an action or a gesture is not my concern. . . this tearing down of form, is a reminder to me of what we lose of ourselves everyday -- a reminder of the inevitable and the battle to exist.
I read that in his catalogue and thought, yes, that's my stanzas. Exactly.

AMK: It's unclear who is speaking in these poems. The title obviously implies that the speakers are arachnids of some sort, but it seems that the voices shift from section to section and may, perhaps, be speaking back and forth. How did you come up with writing from the point-of-view of arachnids? Are you concerned at all that readers might be a little lost in regards to who is speaking and to whom or is this something you feel is apparent upon a deep reading?

EP: I thought of the poems as "scorpion monologues." But, I don't like that as a title. The initial image came from Alfredo Véa's autobiographical novel La Maravilla set on Buckeye Road outside of Phoenix, AZ. Alfredo's a brilliant and not-well-enough known writer; he's also a death row criminal defense attorney, he only does capital cases in California. Anyway, there's a bottle of magical (and / or poisonous) liquid in the book. Clear liquid. And, I remember that the bottle had 100 scorpions in it who had all stung each other to death producing a kind of fantastic and terrifying potion.

At the time I started writing them, maybe 2002 or 3?, I was thinking that the air and atmosphere of the U.S. kind of felt to me like a similar kind of potion. We were living upstate in NY. The terrified drones (our fellow citizens) buzzing about, pouring even more power into a deluded, even murderous, executive branch. Bush/Cheney, etc. It was terrible; in a way, it was business as usual, of course. 2012 has a different style, but the general energy is still the same, only perfumed up a bit (which is fine enough as far as it goes which isn't far).

So, back then, I felt like I wanted a voice of wrath to work with. . . Alfredo's image came up in my memory and I started thinking about scorpion monologues. I learned a few things, not much, about scorpions. One thing that stuck was that the species (I think that's the term) is the oldest fork in earth-beings on land with "maternal instinct and behavior." 350 millon years old, and they care for their young. They ride the back of the mother scorpions. So, smiles, they're the oldest "mothers" on the planet. . . So, the voice is a kind of braid of ironies in the voice of an ancient wrathful/motherly being far, far older than our particular species has any hope of becoming.

I remember hearing Gilad Atzmon and The Orient House Ensemble in York, U.K. Atzmon is a reed player, novelist and a militant anti-Zionist Israeli. His album Exiles, from about 2002 I think, for my money, is the most important jazz album in 25 years. And, he introduced the band in York saying: "We put the band together to destroy the state of Israel but, since the state of Israel is doing such a good job themselves, we decided to play music." I think that's verbatim what he said from the mic. He was serious and playful. Serious when the audience was playful, "you're laughing people are dying that's not funny," playful when they (we?) were serious, "you guys are so serious, this is a concert, what's wrong with you?" The band nearly blew the stones out of the walls. He reminded me of Mingus. I thought, 21st century "Fables of Faubus."

I think these scorpions are coming from a similar place. They're radicals. The Invisbile Committee's recent book, The Coming Insurrection might be a book on their shelf, for instance.

I don't think any conscious reader in the US could be lost in these poems. If you read the poem and feel lost. Maybe pick up Howard Zinn's The People's History of the United States or Manning Marable's (riffing on Walter Rodney in) How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, or David Stannard's American Holocaust, or read Baldwin's No Name in the Street. Leslie Silko. Or, maybe, just try inhaling deeply at noon at the corner of any two major streets in the United States. You're implicated, complicit, surrounded. I wanted a voice with that sense of things pervasively political but particular enough not to be confused with anything metaphysical or transcendental. You're dangling, something's playing with you. It's real. It's you. It's now. Frost's "Design" and "Once By the Pacific" meets Robery Hayden's "The Web" and "American Journal" meets Yusef Komunyakaa's "Safe Subjects" meets Adrienne Rich's "Camino Real" and Arthur Sze's "The Redshifting Web" all played by Joy Harjo on a saxophone, with a Baul combo, in India.

That's enough. Where I live (Athens, GA) there are billboards advertising automatic weapons along the highways at the edge of town. They're for sale within a few isles of the basketballs. Kids riding in shopping carts. Am I lost when I turn on the news, as I did this morning, and find a dozen dead at a showing of Batman? Terrified, yes. Lost? That's nothing but a stale prayer. I think of a group of people who've conspired to live their lives, say, at night, with stealth-suits, and never step out of MoMA. Ok, Maybe them.

A few weeks ago I was waiting for a take-out pizza having a beer. A Palm. A good beer. And, just after my pizza arrived at the bar, before I was done with my Palm, a plain-clothed man walked in with a shoulder holster over his blue polo shirt. As fast as I could without rushing, I put down my beer and left. When I reached the door, and looking without looking, I saw that the holster was, in fact, empty. But, am I supposed to be reassured that he left his piece in the car? I'm not. In GA, of course, handguns are legal in taverns.

This is part of our civilization, its texture. That texture is replicated at various levels, even across the globe. The war on terror is a neighborhood watch program. Recent violence in Syria has caused the U.S. to send an aircraft carrier (or another one, I can't keep track) to the area, the U.S.S. John C. Stennis. Where did the power in that name come from? Answer: a viciously segregationist prosecutor before he became a long-time segregationist U.S. Senator from Mississippi who retired in 1989 as the most senior member of the U.S. Senate. Are we still lost? Can we connect the dots? Why not?

The scorpions love it.

AMK: You're also rather abstract in this poem in lines like "sudden varacies become seizures of remembrance" and "you've dug in well pilgrim ... we watched you / tear at your ears for generations..." and so on. Perhaps abstract isn't the best word. Metaphorical might be a better way to put it. But we're sort of dropped into these voices so abruptly that understanding these metaphors/interpretations might take a little more work than many readers are willing to engage in. I have a feeling you're going to say this isn't your main concern when working on a poem. Is that fair to say. What are your main concerns when writing a poem, when reading?

EP: Maybe there's a little Thus Spoke Zarathustra in there. You know:

Companions, the creator seeks, not corpses-and not herds or believers either. Fellow creators the creator seeks-those who write new values on tablets.

In any case, the repressed lives of our history are being endlessly re-lived by us and those around us. The history, the real lives of people, in time, that have been forced into silence are rehearsed, if not re-lived by us all. One's only defense is to re-engage. There's no place to hide. Period.

That's it. Facebook won't even save Mssr. Zuckerberg. I hate to say it. But, it's true.

These images aren't metaphors, still less abstract. They're particular. Maybe they're symptoms. I think of them as shrapnel. Some would might call them images. Things people thinkfeel and feelthink, everyday. Things we see each other do. Things with no causes. And, to the extent the non-causes slosh about and slip around on us, in the lives we pray are personal (they're not), we go to the psychologists. Those with jobs. The rest self-medicate, they "tear at their ears," so did their parents though, maybe, they did it discretely. Manners. Style. The blues. Coltrane plays "Nature Boy." Take a listen. I write. When I'm not writing, I'm trying to survive, to live, staying (and failing to stay) one-step ahead of what I know. that's my style. Maybe it's a little abstract. Smiles. Styles.

Anyway, that last line in the poem is a riff on the 70s band Chicago, "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" and also on Rilke's The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge where he observes a hospital and thinks, no one has a life of their own, we know that, now it appears no one will have a death of their own either. . . What would Brigge have done with Predator Drone strikes? There's a workshop exercise for the teachers: "You're in a Volkswagon Passat wagon with faulty air conditioning and loose struts, driving in Northern Yemen when. . .".

AMK: Is this part of a longer work?

EP: No. I think I wrote about 30 of them but lost it all in a computer crash. Which, somehow, I thought was appropriate. You know. The tablets broke on the path down. These are the only archeological evidence we know of. The Teeth Mother. . . in dress rehearsal. The population all dressed up, everyone, in bands of 1 or 2 or sometimes 4, or 100,000 any fall Saturday in the S.E.C., it's the same thing: leading secret marches against themselves in the mirror. Watching their faces in the mirror, thinking: "is it an insurrection, or an undeclared civil war?" Privilege or padded cell? Or, maybe those thoughts are effaced under: "Was that wrinkle, that dim blotch, there yesterday?"

Look. That's what you'll see.

At least, that's what the scorpions see.

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