Deep traces

Wanted to share a few poems from William Bronk’s collection “Death is the Place.”  Reading today included M.A.K. Halliday’s “Learning How to Mean: Explorations in the Development of Language” – I am continually fascinated by the social construction of reality and the self, and the part the structuring of language assimilation plays (literally) in it.  One thing that struck me was how the interplay of “observer” (the individual accounting for encounter and experience with not-self) and “intruder” (the individual participating in effecting not-self and being effected by through interaction) develops into growth: the apparently infinite expandability of the weaving of language-types and functions and uses with the world as we experience it, and ourselves as they are formed by our interactions with whatever is different and distinct from us.  The utter reciprocality of experience, creation and shaping between self/not-self; intrusion/reception and the like – Derrida’s differance challenges and fascinates me.  Which pressed me immediately into Bakhtin, of whom not enough can be read or said.  Beyond that I spent a number of rewarding hours in Italo Calvino’s “The Literature Machine” – always refreshing and invigorating re: the uniqueness of literary language in the scope of languagings.  Errol Morris’ “Believing is Seeing” is delightful – like a well-made documentary in language, tight, challenging and full of little surprises.  Jesse Ball’s “The Curfew” – his slightly odd universes and quirky phraseology mesmerizes me.  H.L. Hix’s work is gaining weight in my esteem…nice Ashbery-like music and reflection with tart Orr/Johnson/Stevens’ aphorisms woven throughout.  I worked on an essay about life’s requirement of unending submission (in light of more rejections of my own – probably an attempt at soothing myself) and fashioned a couple of poems on the way.  Here, from Bronk, death truly being the place always present that shows the shine on the flip-side, life, and keeps us cognizant of what almost counts for “truth.”


The false roles we play are a way to rid

ourselves of falsity and be real in a real

world as we need to be to realize

our potential.  There is where the action is

and inaction is wrong.  The need is for faith

and vision and, unless we believe, our fiction falls

and we with it, our civilization ends.



there is only the work.


The work is what speaks

and what is spoken

and what attends to hear

what is spoken.



It isn’t what we say of reality

is metaphor but reality itself

which is.  Reality as God or as

cosmos or as, more often, both at once

-whatever-reality is metaphor

not more not less and, being that,

is real as can be and not quite real:


always brilliantly true and less than whole.



Ed asks me

does the poem depend

on what is said

or language saying


but the poems are

acts of love:


they depend.


Thank you, William Bronk

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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