CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Three Poems
Thomas Hummel



The Self and Its Others

A Borges Cento


Here displayed also are my habits:
That stars and men revolve in a cycle,
Judgement. Day resounds on the trumpets
Of battle, victory goes to the others—

It is the unrepeatable cloud, the glory
To others. The gods gave glory (that has no end)
When they had at least their burning hour on horseback.
Things, not words. This is my feeble translation,

The dagger itself is after something else.
Today I felt its nameless shadow tremble
(Has made an archetype within me sing,
He himself at the end, poor and alone)

Through the dawning window. Night withdraws.
Losing their brightness in the spread of dawn,
Destiny towered over them like the arch,
Toiled in the ghetto, matching rhyme to rhyme.

I want one to be spared oblivion
(Who never actually left his library)
Amid the crowds, and lose himself in their
Centuries-old habits of migration

Where seven feet of ground wait for him here.
Now, like an obsession, in the pubs,
Now in the love of their own bridal beds.
Vague elder brother, if you existed,

Not swept aside in the continual, but rather
In a poem written in a copy of Beowulf,
And I was shade within a shade before you,
And their mythologies live in your soul—

Blissful, we think the world an everlasting
Through the memory of the one who writes this down.
A poor man’s habitation, languidly.
Of time that slowly moves away into,

So say the mystics. I say I believe.
Where is the wood of the Cross, the Tree of Adam
Or the Placid Gardens? Now there will be no moon.
At some point I will pass you in the street.

You are invulnerable. Have I not granted you
God who appears in every single thing,
Whom I can call to mind without bitterness?
And the doors that close behind you when you go—

All that we were and will be, nothing less.
Dreams in the dream of another mirror. Not love
Where Saxon fought with Dane, mingling bloods,
But I know it exists and will persist

(Adding to the history of the planet).
Over the plains of America
Why should it be so sad, the early morning?
The sea, the always sea. Existed, was.

From need of lies, I know this very day
And have forgotten the imprint of your feet.
It was not I who begot you. It was the dead,
The self, and its other.








Columbarium Habitabile
or,
The Home for Old Little Houses and Their Inhabitants in a Large Modern City



They’re building a garden. Beyond the bressummer, in South Wing. Issuing plots at a rood, with allotment variation at an acreage-rate based on family counts in excess of the previously determined average, or, in those exceptional cases, prowess, which will be, by appointment, assessed (Chief Clerk W—), in horticulture.

We could use a garden.

The attics have never known such dearth of curious youth. With niched homes seventy by seventy, the slats and narrows of ulterior carpentry cease to allure. The little ones know nothing of sieves or of marshes, though agape they eye the apogee, the height of glass. Ballads, emblem books, Assyrian legend; The Bridge for Real Travelers once stalled them, kept them rapt; no longer. We remind them, ours are banister and shutter. They reply, “Low water.” Only nests remain without, we tell them, girders and skeins of perpetual gray. They crave a sleek horse and purpose when neither remain. And so they scale the atrium. May pears grow quick enough to deter them.








Seven Orders of the Plague Year



Notice to be given of the sickness

the house as house
                              complaineth botch or any
part falleth otherwise
                                  sick without cause or disease
shall thereof to health
                                   within the said appear



Nurse-keepers

if keeper shall her self infected house
twenty eight after the person dying

infection the which the keeper doth
her self until the twenty eight expired



None to be removed out of infected house, but, &c

item remov’d out falleth sick any other except it or unto owner of his own servants and parish whither that the said visited charged in without any such remove this remove be lawful houses to infected people so as not after sick the sendeth be secluded from infection at appearing



No person to be conveyed out of any infected house

if negligent looking be conveyed

            place the been conveyed
            their charge to be night
            and punished at ward
            and person to days



Inmates

house that house infected
                                         no family of suffered
to themselves without
                                    examiners of default
thereof he or be
                         shut visitation



Laystalls to be made far from the city

that may be passages and empty a city



Burial of the dead

that visitation be before
                                      sun-rising privity of otherwise
and suffered to enter
                                 the house shut dying of church
in lecture and burial
                               of burying-place to all the publick
assemblies forborn
                             during visitation