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From Think Tank

In the soft folds of derivation, 

the spheres ring out, but muffled.

That music, that music of affluence turned fluid.

A man

walks into 

his daughter. 


And narrative illusion breaks down metaleptically

transforming expectations of early and late.

A man walks into the ground.

Has now made “his” what is simultaneously “not his.”

Run to the seawater, seawater boiling.

The lobby of the library,

harmonizing and gay.

Not by concrete but by owl-light

we sing. 


Coming now to a higher perspective on the various circumstances of our shared life,

there’s the fifteen-year-old grandson of a very good friend

standing impossibly shy, pretty, and skinny on the corner by the jazz bar, 

something unrecognizable in his ear (a piece of chalk?). May I

take him home?

His grandfather’s commission: Teach him to recognize the Devil; the Devil has a name, and that name 

is crystal meth. 

And are we not

always wielding two shields against the two fatalities of every 

day? Craven and in full bloom? 

No: “participant observation among the artifacts of a defamiliarized cultural reality,”

that’s all. 


“Quit sniffing the rattlesnake!”

Rarely do I in dreams or reveries

indulge my steady 


The left side over there, it’s 

uninhabitable, it’s as resistant as a man’s 

broadcloth deltoid. You know which pores you can get into and which ones

are only good for secretions. Even with your most feathery

tips you’ll never manage a

break-in. Not drink that juice. Jiggle foot. Suck pen.

No one gets into this



Not by concrete but by owl-light. 


Here and there things are made, but how?

“By a future mouth without teeth?” These

unrevealed days lie reading the forehead of an eerie young girl,

lie beaming in the deaf rippled bay,

lie flat like a party where everyone cried,

had nothing to do, no will to invent, no wish to go outside.

Like alkali from ashes, leach

the wet heavy pubescent trees of their ire.

A man walks into his coat, his puppy-happy hands in his

hair. Little I celebrate the coincidence of my birthday,

injured by sands blowing into my face,

while the gap man, great CEO of caesura,

tosses his son into the sea, 

the sea where bagged seals rot. 


& the windowpanes rattle in the bad news/good news format,

a way of displacing or troubling the triumphal narrative of the emergence of a 

         rational-critical sphere. 


Nothing betrays us

A man walks into a table

A man walks onto a wind-driven


Have come closer, now, more than ever, to streaks of water between panes of glass 


Somehow I have to get out of this net

To open the curtain, to reveal another person

or the signs of another person: brick, paint, glass

Even as the ladybugs, the squirrels, the ducks, and cousin Jonah

sleep, even in the quiet that is the sleep of creatures,

scandalous breasts and rock hard jaws

maintain their positions, their purpose

What, elf, is the purpose of you? The seriousness with which

you are learning to dance. In the thirteenth century!

There, at the peak of starvation and disease

within a hut or a hovel the candles were lit

Somberly, elbows linked, we stepped forward on one and on three

That cloud glows poppy red 

and the duck folds into shadow

Just one more cherry with its seed sucked out 




Julie Carr is the author of Mead: An Epithamion, Equivocal, 100 Notes on Violence, and Sarah-of Fragments and Lines, just out from Coffee House Press. She teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder, lives in Denver, and is the copublisher, with Tim Roberts, of Counterpath Press. Other poems from “Think Tank” appear or are forthcoming in Mary Magazine, Realpoetik, Slope, and 1913: A Journal of Forms.