Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Lyn Hejinian


I am writing now in preconceptions

Those of sex and ropes

Many frantic cruelties occur to the flesh of the

And the imagination does have flesh to destroy

And the flesh has imagination to sever

The mouth is just a body filled with imagination

Can you imagine its contents

The dripping into a bucket

And its acts

The ellipses and chaining apart

The feather

The observer

The imagination, bare, has nothing to confirm it

There's just the singing of the birds

The sounds of the natural scream

A strange example

The imagination wishes to be embraced by freedom

It is laid bare in order to be desired

But the imagination must keep track of the flesh
        responding--its increments of awareness--a
        slow progression

It must be beautiful and it can't be free

copyright 1994, for John Zorn, after his "Elegy"