Rosmarie Waldrop

The Material World (for Johanna Drucker)

If, close to morning, you see the physical fact of language you may take a prophylactic attitude. A figure of skating or speech. The scale is heavy flesh.

You may clutch at your neck. You may think this does not make meaning. You may think your face is pressed against glass to project the death instinct outwards.

If the oceanic feeling deepens without claiming any part of speech it will threaten to erase your skin. A contradictory position. Pressure just below the phrase level.

You notice the picture blurred. (And shackled?) You notice, how slowly, the fly on the glass. You notice the blank face of letters while the dull presence of mortality breaks through the sound barrier.

We are still unclear about the role of interruption in making love, glottal stop for a cigarette or grammar along with the tongue in the intimate depth of your cheek. Salt water or glass. The word before it fell and purchased opportunity.

You couldn't count the inflections. You couldn't shake the alphabet. You live through it, shifting body to reference to broken glass back to the wallpaper of childhood, and without vowel points to betray human origins.

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