G.C.Waldrep

G.C. Waldrep’s most recent books are Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (BOA Editions, 2011), a lyric collaboration with John Gallaher; The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta, 2012), co-edited with Joshua Corey; and a chapbook, Susquehanna (Omnidawn, 2013). He teaches at Bucknell University, edits the journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.

CITY OF
DARK SLEEPING

for & after Jannis Kounellis



1.

scaffold genuflects to scaffold

as from a shipyard gantry
		        suspended

in carbon       in the open city
from the beds of charcoal

	a great weight hangs
over the open city       mortared
up
with the spines of old books

—all the knives point outward


2.

golden kernels     eclipse

stone trumpet
voice of          wound

(mercuriform)

blind bank of the third
passion            notarized


3.

votive vowel-bed
reflects          the electric
(disjecta)


as knife edge      deflects
even the body’s

enwebbed          effigy, 
cock         (of light) or hip’s

orphic turn-

ing into signature,
license,       black equation


4.

rest on this pallet
anointed by         some call
garment,
some call generous

funnel-ladder, we are meant

to pass by
on the right, the left’s

blue uranium ticking nightly


rest      the body’s
rough pine
rest      the vector,
ascending

stain or brutal     recompense


5.

encircling fission      blocked

calcified, the milk channel
imbues      space      as bells, or

a desk project      flare
horizontal, is this memory’s
thick residue      —calcareous


6.

unshaped by scepter, psaltry
dust or verdigris, as pedicel


habit of (not) making sound


7.

dry masonry of the body’s
bespoke marriage

time’s filament
in the machine’s      thrum;
—backward masking


pity the living      machine


8.

tremulous orphanage
jewel-like      casket of light

the word hangs
from      —if not matter, 

then
guards or       the sleeping

city’s private angles
(not present on the tourist
maps)         inspect

the plaques       inspect
the chat piles, discarded ore


9.

(in the corridor of knives)

10.

textile fountain of
“gone missing”      the night’s
plenitude

as phantom limb, haptic
or Sensation’s
absolute      topology, infold


11.

preserves, not as sound
but       its ghost-container

light-bearing / on routine
the soldier-state

deflects      not as wound

(but      ghost-container)


scaffold of dark bells,
coal-hung, roughly the size

of any adult human head


12.

& rung
at roughly the same height


13.

circle of chairs     (night
is having its committee meeting)

the city swathed in bell-
like camphor, brittle     nest-

infusion      decennial; the body

under pressure
seconds pressure’s motion

scatter/splinter      the gas teat’s
ogive spool,    meson phobia


14.

cloth-covered fireplace
the hearth mantels     human

hair from the burlap
construction, “for children”


15.

what you see is not a body


15a.

blood-carbon enameling
the calcite mask
lifts      over science’s bridge
in medieval splendor

balance, breathes the body

in sleep genuflecting
to what vertical component


15b.

afforestation’s flanged
nativity construct

in debt to blood-hive


16.

or, deprived of pigment,
the master tones

decline      as rusty nouns
(“down on all fours”)

  sleep as a stone sleeps
      inside sleep as a stone
      inside sleeps its stone
      sleep’s sister sleep a stone
      asleep inside a sleep
      astride a sleeping stone


17.

not a vegetal art      and yet
—birds dress here—

within music’s plaster mask


18.

children pull an ancient boat
through the hallways
of an abandoned seminary


in the hospital the beds
felt like notes on a
musical stave, stone notes

on a stone
stave, the other furniture
seemed somehow
beside the point, fissures


of light (from the hallways)
 

19.

even the mask burns
if sufficient heat is applied


20.

lying on its side even
the darkest, most thirsty
book
resembles a flat stone
you could build a wall
with


synaptic creche-
warren the minor gentry
flee, encumbered

w/ pure mathematics
 

21.

the body’s periphrastic
absence
in the city’s rood-market
alloyed & vestigial

—hammer under glass

—tuning fork applied

to the obsidian
fountain-henge      take,

Eat    (of this glisten)


22.

tether the horses
in the burnt     cathedral, limit

is a mathematical concept


23.  

inverted the bells
compact
in their seam-slurry

how the sleeping
city listens

to all that is not
-city, not-sleeping

anchorite of
dusk’s rich over-
tone
pursued into

(slick)      its lime-
stone stanchion


24.

not worship, worship
is cylindrical

a votive intersection

to stand outside
the lightning-char is
impossible, yet

we grow human hair


25.

a single egg on its plinth
(you are responsible)

lease the bedframe
to its golden kernel, its
pilot light

sleep’s burlap encampment
(you are responsible)

the chairs circled
but facing outward, now


26.

dredge the bell
pit     for whatever

body you like



sleep’s brand
or glyph-harrier


27.

phantom limb, phantom
clock of brain or brain motion

music inside time’s dark
ore or, worked,
how stone dresses space
in which the body crouches
muffled in textile

cast lots to part the body’s
singular garment

the edges of the wound
must not touch, say
the voices from the fountain


28.

chancel of knives, weight
of a single sewing machine

on the war of your tongue’s
strict soviet      silk chimney

&      hung above the city,
plenary shoe or ship’s anchor

“you” cannot hurt enough


29.

swimming past the last
of its scalpels, disgorged

from the appendectomy


30.

colony of scars      in the city’s
night-wife      constellation

the sleepwalkers pledge
something like a blood-debt


inspect the plaques, inspect
the stele in the shipyards


the cup-and-ring marks pool


31.

hung at roughly the same
height           ascending stain
or (brutal) recompense

dry masonry of the body’s
disconnect      unfathering

mineral quanta
from the beds of charcoal

sewn up with weight
or     sleep’s diurnal scaffold

vitrified pleasure-in-motion


32.

untempling thief
trapped inside the city’s
absolute bell chamber
(human hair        grows
after death, they say)

(human hair grows
in almost absolute
silence, one imagines)


anthracite methuseleh

these notes scrawled
in neither bone nor bell


33.

magnifying coefficient
sleep & the city’s      open

   •  hive : woundtrumpet : lattice

incontinent grain (-pulse)
at rest
in the hollow square


33a.

salt storage
for the preservation
of divers meats


33b.

chronic orchard

unblazoning


34.

the living surface as
spline or      disconsolate
errata, controlled burn

indentured snow
of the furnace registries

the mind replaces its
nethering astrography
on the thick
shelf of the night

((you must return
to your horse     & pray