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Seven Poems
From Suspension
Where My Head Might Be Prior to Entering the Bathroom

[CHAPTER 1. Loomings. Moby Dick.]

call me     some never mind     precisely                     little interest
off circulation     growing about the mouth                           damp I

find myself     involuntarily up the rear                      to prevent me
from deliberately stepping     into the street                       time my

substitute           for pistol and ball             throws himself upon me
your belted battery         washed by previous crowds           do you

see                           posted silent reveries     tied to counters      of
warehouses                  miles of them—leagues     lanes and alleys

the magnetic virtue                 of needles      ships a pool       stand
that man                          on his legs      a hollow trunk      a crucifix

within                   sleeps a sleepy smoke     blue tranced       knee-
deep among                               a cataract of silver     robust robust

your first voyage                  in the fountain     plunged a purse      a
purse of salt                     toils broiled      judicially buttered      right

before the plumb                            hunks of weighed       archangel
shoulder         blades infliction                   wholesome     breathes it

repeatedly     I take my head                       doubtless      the drawn
stage managers     cunningly cajoling choice                       and itch

conceits      in the air


The Man in the Stall Next to Mine Reads a Newspaper While He Waits

[CHAPTER 4. The Counterpane. Moby Dick.]

daylight tattooed a patchwork                    of weight and pressure
hugging                  sensations trying to crawl out                 of our

undressed time                                a sigh got between the sheets
shining at my feet slippering,                 condemning me—steeped

a hand placed in mine               silent, piled, broken as if              a
civilized compliment                a transition made to order             to

accelerate the operation


We Troll during a Typical Person’s Working Hours

[CHAPTER 17. The Ramadan. Moby Dick.]

humiliation did not choose my congregation                          of our
charitable conceits                these knocked through the keyhole a

shaft                  of mounting suspicions                locked, locked—
keeping countenance                             I ruminated under another

counterpane             the suicides permitted me a bolt            within
I caught myself against the self-collected                            pushing

probability upon punctual plum-puddingers                    vexed with
sleeping and screwed stiff                 the cave caves in very plainly

take it in                  only two in the afternoon           in their mouths
compliments condescending compassion                          rose and

dressed—all the reason—sallied out                            to sauntering
picking our bones


The Man Reading the Newspaper Taps His Foot on the White Tiles beneath the Shared Stall Wall

[CHAPTER 44. The Chart. Moby Dick.]

a large wrinkled               yellowish spread               screwed-down
shadings slow     pencil trace     spaces that before                 were

blank       he employed     shifting gleams of lines                       the
solitude effaced             threading a maze of thought            thus to

driftings                   to be his prey     the observed swallows     this
hint feeding infallible                      undeviating precision     wake is

said      substantiated                          in crossing himself     without
prospect        you cannot conclude                     that time and place

were conjoined        complexion white                in any other waters
wind thronged           snow-white snow-white                      mutter to

himself        a weariness     and faintness of nails                         the
throbbing leagued his             thoughts and fancies         into a form-

less                        somnabulistic     being a blankness     he creates


As for My Philippine Constitution

[CHAPTER 60. The Line. Moby Dick.]

The Manilla is stronger,                  and far more soft and elastic—
is much more handsome and             becoming to behold—layers

of concentric spiralizations,                    without any hollow but the
“heart”                 or minute vertical tube at               the axis of the

cheese—some will                consume an entire morning             in
this business—will bear up                      a considerable distributed

weight,                          but not very much of a concentrated one—
smoking as he does into the profundity of                   the handle of

every man’s oar              so that it jogs his wrist            between the
men as they sit leaded                 where a quill hangs over—a warp

of intricacies                                                                     like shaken



[CHAPTER 102. A Bower in the Arsacides. Moby Dick.]

to unbutton him still further                   the points of his garters the
eyes of his bones                          his subterranean parts mounted

lectures                dishes witness upon               the sleepers in his
bowels                  confess                  since the skin blessed barbs

knowledge of their trading                                     his inlaid paddles
distributed freighted                      rendering long stranded stripped

enfoldings                                        dry palms vibrated their lacings
unwearied weaver weaver ceaseless weaver weaving                 he

factories inaudible walls amid the hummed cunning                   over
every folded trellised life                               the grim glories an altar

ascending I laughed                     brushed aside the eddied opening
a green arrow slit                     shouted: measure this! a rose among

them           great               echoed in to test my hull           seignories
articulated throughout              his cavities keys                 whispering

unrivalled dimensions                       preserving statistics crowded for
composing                                                        untattooed odd inches



[CHAPTER 119. The Candles. Moby Dick.]

spiced effulgent in dazed darkness                      sky rags a shroud
cranes left it a sieve               bad work will have its way            you

spring for me but it’s hoky-poky               the scud all a flyin’          I
am a coward             spirits stop my throat             look through my

eyes             you see better seizing               he swung in the sheets
to stand the question hammer               a volley of lances               a

spire to fluid                  slender into privileges                 arms tipped
tapering silently                      swashing his shifting teeth                 a

common cluster gleaming                         pale wrapped overhanging
attitudes              running like a child               the foundling projected

its levelled tongue                     a rope’s end petrified              and the
held body                                                                                is bound

Dan Encarnacion’s work is published or forthcoming in the Chattahoochee Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourteen Hills, cream city review, New American Writing, Denver Quarterly, Southern Review, and Assaracus. He lives in Portland, Oregon.