Ron Silliman Poems

Hit Title Date Added
What [the Flower Sermon]

The flower sermon:
critique is like a swoon
but with a step increase,


Up Quay St
to Deansgate
then over
to Victoria Station,
Northern Rail
West to Liverpool
grey clouds
pillowing the sky
No height
in these fields yet
whatever they're growing
Hedgerow as fencing
An older station
at Newton-le-Willows
brick office padlocked
but the chairs on the platform
bright yellow vinyl
then the backsides
of row housing
with thin slivers of yards
School fields
without baseball diamonds
Magpies mistaken
for mockingbirds
Blood pudding
full of rocket
in an antiaircraft
unit, learning
first to drive a tank
over the Egyptian desert
then determining
never to leave England again
Sharp shadow over the page
writing into the dark
Notice is hereby given
that it is proposed
to change
the name of Sparrow Park
to Gallipoli Garden
Bury in Bloom
reads the jeep tipped
in aforementioned garden
Fly all the way from London
& what's on the screen
but Cash Cab
Squigglies in white paint
at each intersection
mean Don't park here
I'm not listening to their conversation
but rather to the language
which I decide must be Greek
understanding not a word
The tall woman is wearing a giant box
plaintively calling your name
The little dog pirouettes
just to see me
The market's a national treasure
but it's just off-brand tack
in vast quantity
United puts away the Arsenal
to reach the finals
canals everywhere
Ten percent of the people
own 90% of the land
ergo 90% of the people
live on just ten percent of the land
The streets thus are crowded in the South
Locals discern a coarse tongue
Wystan Curnow & Barry Schwabsky
in the very same room
Asparagus ravioli
Fleet Street being shorter
than I'd imagined
Cutting short Artie Gold
vomiting between sets
as the turntablist samples
Willie the Shake
photo shoot by the Roman fort
speed at which
towns blur by
feeling blurby - Simon
mit Garfunkel, always
with the cooked tomato
My kingdom for a floss
Trees shimmer perfectly still
but upside down
mirrored by the river
no more than a stream
peat bog in the pine barrens
dogwood's blossoms all but gone
Birds won't fly
in a straight line
The tea, being hot
steamed his glasses
which then cleared slowly
The argument over bitterns
turned bitter - "POETRY
who has proven
but a meager steward
In the dark but
with the window open
attempting to sort
the symphony of birds
Conch shell mounted
atop a copper spike
Where I come from
fog never foretells rain
but here it is
difficult to discern
where one ends, the other
congeals into drops
First crow at dawn
Maketh one to yawn
The small fort stood
nearly 2,000 years
until amid
the hurly-burly of
rapid industrial expansion
it was knocked down
without a second thought
Four trill bird song
or perhaps a female
green-backed heron
The thrill of
the first signature's
binding, white thread
at the margin
is what I first wrote
Wind on the back
of my neck
Soften the
break in the
line, not
as you hear
it, rhetorical
but throated
caught in the
business of
A kiss that
proved a bit
too intense
takes one's -
the choice is in
fact accurate -
breath away
so that it is
oxygen or
the absence thereof
that flushes
the rush of
illuminating the night
Dickens lives
but a block away
Mallard of wood
impaled on a stand
Southernmost tip
of New Jersey
Dear Jimmy,
it's 7:45 AM
in the Woitasek's
beach rental
Swans on Lake Lilly
Without much
wind the rain
won't reach me
here below
the balcony
Life understood
as the gradual
expanse of regret
Field guide to
warblers left
on some counter
the day before
Hydrant painted
yellow with
a bright orange top
on an otherwise
county road
Little junco's
big song
mixed with the
tree rodent's bark
Not a squirrel
but a crow
has glided in
to the dead tree
Rain audible
only from tires
rolling over
the river Ex
the river Irwell
all these
nameless canals
The center
of town has
shifted, following
the big hotels
A slow job, bottle
of water in
his right hand
Rain mottles the lake
His biggest failing
is an excess
of earnestness, that
he wants too much
to be liked, not
knowing how
to ascertain
what is fluid,
instantaneous, flickering
& thus to others
comes across
both as anxious
& eager. The rain
slows, so
you notice the wind
just as vowels
in a diphthong
until the consonants
that bracket them
begin to hum
A Lhasa Apso
sniffs my calf,
face I see
atop Tibetan demon
portrayals, architect's
model turned into
a doll house, no
right angles
after 354 years,
flowers lean away
from morning wind,
sparrows at the hedge,
heron in flight
renders the invention of arrows
on the glass alas,
sparrows at the hedge
in great quantity,
what I'm after
here is a tone
that is not
the vibration of phonemes
set into motion
but an emotion
at the base of my spine
I will recognize
by virtue of
having once upon a time
been ten years old
so far from this pasture
Tom calls
his septic field
causing Beth to laugh,
Schuyler to turn his head
tho Lulu
shows no reaction
but continues
to chew this
plastic replica
of a clay pot
Thus I spun loose
from any sense of anchor
nor rancor at
the economy of departure
that so propelled
even my ancestors
over oceans
buy an ox
bind an
humid at
ocean's edge
Thunder & lightning
give depth to the sky
Kayaker soup
West End Ave
is in fact
to the east
at least here
in southernmost Delaware
just north
of Fenwick Island
Sweet sad
to awaken
just when the dream's
taken an erotic turn
your friend, without warning,
after all these years
to have opened her robe,
the dress falling
just as you startle awake
The residue of rain
everywhere evident
but the crickets
pulsing in synch
Some conversation
just out of hearing
I can tell gender & tone
but only that
words indistinguishable
but for the act of themselves
Lone sparrow
makes a kissing sound
The traffic
a continual shush
The wind, 11 stories up
not silent but
as tho a flag
or sheet unfurling
Lewis Warsh
at the local market
The tyranny of predicates
My spine in the morning
Even here one
hears voices from
the street
this lamp throws shadows
the way a ventriloquist
a good one
displaces her voice
the puppet muttering
alone in its corner
You can see who's awake
in that highrise condo
just by the lights
but not who's lying there
sleepless, alone
angry or sad, in pain
there in the dark
traffic already constant
at 5 in the morning
Dear Chris, hello
that generation
already slipping away
A fan with a broken blade
Of course there's a story
The only tile
there above the stove
chickpea purée
beside the perfect trout
sprouts roasted
alongside apples
in maple cider
so the first taste is sweet
Cranes in the brain
in the rain
in the pond
beyond which
a train
silhouettes the horizon
which, when it whistles,
sends these long birds aloft
The pansies are planted
after a harsh winter
Last fall's last leaves
finally raked
Roger across the road
digging in his tiny
hillside garden plot
Up the hill, barely audible
woodpecker's paradiddle
but no leaves yet
or barely any
tho the grey forest
starts to tinge green
just from the buds
not warm yet
but the cusp of warm
Many birds go silent
at the advance of crows
At the high point of
this hill the oldest
barn in Philadelphia
but behind me
on the far side
of the river the loud
whistle of a train
I hear a tractor's
soft distinct growl
the coo of a rock dove
tho these robins
are as fat
as they are
silent, honey bees
plump with spring
O wild ancient house
with hand-cut
stone pillars you
wade into garden
then crouch something
yellow something
barely purple butter
fly no larger
than the nail of this finger
Repent! Says the barn
Dreams in which
I come home &
the computer's destroyed
the books are all missing
& no one will explain
The four tunnels
of the Pennsylvania Turnpike
the distance between
rage & sadness
the former but a mask
for the latter
Where the Monongahela
meets the Ohio
red bud trees
at forest's edge
the way cows
when resting
tuck their legs under
Why is Glenn Beck so sad
Books mean nothing
save for what we've read
high sky made low
by misty rain
By river
to the Gulf
& later by train
all the way to Philadelphia
remains of Fort Pitt
the bridges deliberately picturesque
Obscure fact about Pittsburgh
is that here was born
the great failed state
of Czechoslovakia
prsi, prsi
a harvest-dance
in a great hall
under 1,120 lights
two of which
have burned out
They look like aging bikers
but for the SUV
two kinds of Indians
pause at the restaurant door
I recount the tale
of the day
John & Yoko walked into the store

From You, Part I

Hard dreams. The moment at which you recognize that your own death lies
in wait somewhere within your body. A lone ship defines the horizon. The
rain is not safe to drink.

From You, Part Xii

A guide to the sky under full nondisclosure.

Dawn in the bare birch trees, the sun, swollen, throbs over the horizon. Hotel
buffet doodah. Two dogs dancing, sniffing one another's genitalia.

The Nose Of Kim Darby's Double

Canyons, paths
dug thru the snow
the walls as high as

From Non

Proto-mallie: the flaneur.
'The older I get the more
floors I discover
at Macys.' Little red