The Project of Linear Inquiry

[Let a be taken as . . .]
a liquid line beneath the skin
and b where the blue tiles meet
body and the body’s bridge
a seeming road here, endless
rain pearling light
chamber after chamber
of dust-weighted air
the project of seeing things
so to speak, or things seen
namely a hand, namely
the logic of the hand
holding a bell or clouded lens
the vase perched impossibly near the edge
obscuring the metal tines.
She said “perhaps” then it echoed.
I stood there torn
felt hat in hand
wondering what I had done
to cause this dizziness
“you must learn to live with.”
It reveals no identifiable source
(not anyway the same as a forest floor).
A vagrant march time, car
passes silently, arm rests at his side
holding a bell or ground lens
where c stands for inessential night—
how that body would
move vs how it actually does—
too abstract &/or not abstract enough
but a closed curve in either case
she might repeat
indicating the shallow eaves
nothing but coats and scarves below the window
his-her face canted to the left
nothing imagined or imaginable
dark and nothing actually begun
so that the color becomes exactly as it was
in the miniuscule word for it
scribbled beside an arrow
on the far wall
perfectly how else continuous with memory.
There are pomegranates on the table
though they have been placed there
salt, pepper, books and schedules
all sharing the same error
and measure of inattention.
What she says rolls forward.
I shouted toward motion, other gestured,
child laughs, sky,
traffic, photograph. I
gave a real pain, expelled
breath, decided. Both arms in thought,
mirror otherwise, abandoned
structures mostly, the glass
door with its inscription lay open
before us, nothing to fear.
Other works by Michael Palmer ...