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black holes / white holes / wormholes / origin and
fate — they’ll last me a lifetime sans regret:
what I know I cannot know, I need not forget.
prior translations sprout on scattered tongues;
hear me’s moss in bloodless mouths: what they
didn’t want to remember, I’m unable to forget.
root of all roots: cause of all causes: unreadable,
unknowable, except to itself: speaker in numbers:
what I cannot know, I must not forget.
an infant universe of ten dimensions once ripped apart:
remaindered: reality: three dimensions plus time:
a man, a woman, dimensionless, crossed the sea to forget.
they include time yet they are timeless: they contain
the world, but the world would not contain them;
what I’ve come to note, I must not forget.
the world is names, the names numbers: Isaac the Blind,
unfettered by terrestrial eyes, saw ten digits without end:
how do I quote names I can neither recall nor forget?
chapters locked in time: shredded Torah scrolls,
sacks of flour poured on the road, posterities of pine
flamed to ash: I’ve come to know; I must not forget.
what is admissible: her knee nudging
the sewing machine lever, his gun-shot leg:
that which must be scavenged, because we forget.
arms assembling / reassembling: number my
stars: number my grass: number my blood: earth
deafened by ciphers indecipherably quiet.
the narrative reveals hints of what it was / is / should /
could have been: their sisters and brothers read
haven anywhere: even remote islands chose to defect.
black holes roam enfoldments deeper than fears
trapped in their eyes: never-to-be-known
scenarios sentenced to decomposed alphabets.
I am trying to get to the bottom of things;
I am trying to open the folds, to unroll the bolts;
I am trying not to forget.
this meal with the foretaste and aftertaste
of not knowing: these entrees sauteed in unbuttered
sounds: this meat-starved, chipped-plate banquet.
Safed: in the presence of absence, saying little, intending
much, Isaac ben Solomon Luria spoke to the speechless
birds: black are the holes’ cavities, awesome the glister of jet!
we die into life; we live into death; printouts
torn and seamed, ravelled and patched:
nothing is chaste.
hollow bowls (graves) of when beneath crazed plates (fields)
of where beside empty cups (houses) of why :
their tables were set.
they wrote letters begging to be read, and got no reply;
pried open windows of windowless rooms, rubbed out
their eyes with failures of light; swallowed gruel and grit.
why did you forsake them: why did you retreat
from your witness sky, your righteous world unbuilt?:
must their candles perish because they’re unlit?
theirs is not stillness unnoised; theirs is silence exiled from
sounds of uncountable generations: theirs is language
with the grammar beaten out of it.
because they inhaled the air, because they exhaled the air,
because they occupied space, slept and ate and walked
streets, because their eyes were green, blue, sometimes violet...
see to it that nothing is lost or forgotten...record...and collect!
but their history was ending, their families erased:
they sealed their lips and left me to imagine what to forget.
let the poverty of my words not be abject; let them
persist in making and remaking, shaping, reshaping:
to name, rename, unname: not to forget.
for a world never to be repeated, only to be archived:
trying-to-enter-the-thing, trying-to-name-the-loss words;
survival not as a desire, but as a duty to celebrate.
a community in the van of the East...a land set for a halting-
place of enmities, a neutral ground...wilderness become
a pool of water and the land no longer termed desolate.
they didn’t believe in God; nor that they were chosen
as models for the gentiles; they understood suffering,
otherness: tattered clothes: how well they came to fit.
why? was it because their language was never spoken
by anyone with power, the only tongue without
a vocabulary for war: merely howls and ash to record it?
when you have a great and difficult task...if you only work
a little at a time...without faith and without hope, suddenly
the work will finish itself. But will it be free and I free of it?
singing your song without singing your song:
dashes, dots, commas, deflected threads splicing air:
to disclose what it would impoverish me to forget.
what I know is what I need to unknow and reknow:
a sea of syllables frightening to swim,
bent on utterance before I forget.
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