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From Mandelstam Variations
meanwhile across the mimetic subdivide
lights go green &
                             a republic faintly
                       vox organum
                                              we sneak
into the gallery
can I ask you
                       if the ocean tastes you
         or the earth is even important
flying buttress
                        buttress golly
rising to a bruised plenum
                                          as robots
map the hills being wept
                                        by imagined
                 numb vox
                                   casiotone implosion
of the singular
                         outrageous pixel spray
redoubles the parking lot
                                         the vowels
have rights 
                   telephones undulate in the
sonic haze
                  I miss you
                                    the movie’s starting 


black here black here
heavy thru dark
transcolor transimportant
black hair in the mouth
the cave goes running
everything loosens
everything gives shape to
a chorus there’s a will
there’s a wave
up to black
the opposite of sharp is coward
like a part of a person
something bad can happen to you
nothing bad can happen to this thing

a plow runs down your mouth
a crack opens up across your mouth
a bell rings out in your mouth
an accident blooms from your mouth
a taiga extends thru your mouth

“there is in boundedness something boundless”

it is like a part of a person
the opposite of coward is forest
strata careen into the margins
your mouth & it’s april
I’m listening
you take a black pill
you ride a spectrum say hello
everything mountains
everything listening
if you don’t do something
something bad can happen
to this everything opens its eyes
I am speaking into the pupil
I am jumping into a hole 


for Peter Dimock

melos in greek means limb of the body.   your arms are.   origin uncertain.   also in this sense a phrase within a song.   one of its fingers.   the way we’d say one of its lines.

aoidoi roaming tattered camps, the poet-singers who, collectively massed into a face-shaped cloud, comprise Homer.   melos and melos and melos grouped into an aoide are a melody.   the coherence immediately as of a body.   a song of limbs, tuning sinews, drawn, impossibly continuous.   the code scrambles.

what else could melodia have meant?   unhearable subjectivity of a sound.   melody could be malady, a music of the body’s antagonized coherence.   it could be honey & could be medicine, sung or sipped, sun could be melody of a cold week.   an ethics of remembering.   instances of harbor.

Osip said:

“what Bach, what Mozart does variations on the theme of a nasturtium leaf?”

“the scale for measuring social architecture is a human being.”
with thanks to Don Dal Maso 


I want to forget every
word I know I want
to forget every word
I know I want no thought
half-lit almost river
speaking her variant
over the shoreline

                the alphabet

           almanacs dream
meat into the crocuses 


no comparison
                         like violets no
                    dark night streets Osip walks
pine curved
                    discrete impulses take sequence
in a grammar of
                           hurting the sky.

want I’ll go where the air
                                          is biggest the
word what
                  I want I’ll go where the air
             silo haze
                             what want 
                                               I’ll go where
the air
            is biggest what violence what sits
undeparted in distance’s every

            the lights dim
                                   I say all your skin I
breathe a red mind
                               you scrape together tenses
to give us time
                          enough to hear everything
follow the shore
                           forgetting the morning
salt on the tongue of the wife of good-bye 


not this not here not
that thinking as specific
as a foundry is    not
all the pronouns not
air or not ore the house
is a drum in a storm
of morphemes not hours
singing to grass made of

chimneys sweat her
throats at the window
glitch in a mesh of
abstract harbors    no
name for it no imaginable
source for the ability
to say anything at all
spill feathers fuck
in a crawl space cracked
gill falter interventionist

no bloodspot no crowns
of commingling blood no
cartilage  you will be air
in the teeth of distance
here & teach a beating
heart to fear the ocean
no columns fell no before
the show no colophon
this is the harbor of
prior receptivities
the lighthouse works
backwards & your
voice is a new name for

Poet and translator Ian Dreiblatt lives in Brooklyn, where he is is the New York manager for Dalkey Archive Press. His translation of Nikolai Leskov’s The Enchanted Wanderer was published by Melville House in 2012.