Conjunctions:17 Tenth Anniversary Issue

Blue Peter
To describe a logic of sight
pull the surface onto target and
arrive at zero aperture. Then
fluctuate to a face, reproduced
in serial format, superimposed
upon marginal pedestrians,
traversing a polarity of earth.

The axis here is askew, perhaps
unsettling, the way physical
equilibrium slides into multiple
perspective. This place where
sight informs the eye as gate
to phenomenon, a bridge to
impulse the imaginary. Simply

she was feeding bread to pigeons
in the park. So begin this lesson
with rain and square the surrounding
flat with common traffic. I
move through, to get here. If you
want me, you will find me in
the garden of vestiges, next to

the sweet water cistern. Where
the old port remains, a water
mark on granite, abutted with
grass and a stone path leading
to other places that for the moment
I am not interested in, as I take
serious your claim to provoke you.

And I will follow your instructions,
however silly, however sublime, until
you have found me, indistinguishable
from what you call, your self.
The way I wear you about my
mouth, as a crease, deepening
every time I smile to look at you.

Look at me. I’m serious, I must
find the way, to say, we have arrived.
For it is you who instructs me in
the laws of perspective, these many
converging, lines, drawn to perception.
So that I have become only a star or
an asterisk or a compass rose. Signifying

location, this possibility of place. True.
It’s been said that the burial of the dead
is the beginning of culture, as we know,
no other. And I remain raw.
Vapor digit tapping at my wrist,
the talon, the dorsal fin and the panther
claw. The value of negative space

and the rationale of talisman does
not parse, will not parry from this
dearth. As emotions surround the edge
of the planet adjusted to actual people we meet.
What could the difference of this construction
intend in a world of moments, merely
fragments provided to express conversation

or random noise signaling gray space,
to be inserted within an imported structure?
Birds migrate over cityscape and arrive
in my backyard to a mutiny of peaceful
dawn. Then a description of equality
is scored, as a rhetorical flourish is installed
for testimony. I flag, I stammer.

A banner to the burden that all things
that are, must not be, in me. Only,
will you not smile, when I wave?

Peter Gizzi’s recent books include Sky Burial: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet), Now It’s Dark, and Archeophonics (both Wesleyan), which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. These poems are from his new book, Fierce Elegy, forthcoming in fall of 2023 from Wesleyan.