51: coma in cantos, interlude 3


one measure of knowledge
is to assert that if a stone is a false
stone, Eduardo will judge it a false
stone, or:
perhaps the stone is a whale and the whale
is a false whale, and thus, appropriately,
whale, stone, or whalestone,
all three being false,
Eduardo will come and say:
It’s a false stone and a false whale,
a false whalestone.
But is the stone false because Eduardo
comes to me and says: the stone is false?
And is this the same as claiming:
this story is not a poem?
Which would mean this story is a false poem
if claimed as a poem in the first place,
perhaps by Eduardo,
which is possible.

My shoes, you say, are not frogs.
My car, you say, is not chocolate pudding.
My head, you say, is not a melon.
My children, you say, are not killers.
My hands, you say, are not spiders.

a day after rain, for play, I rested
my arm on the arm of a chair
at a farmhouse of a friend for an hour.
I read a little, sipped a little,
watched the shadows from the chair legs
turn on the grass a little. After an hour
I looked at my hand, which appeared
to me there at the end of my arm
on the arm of the chair, and between my
thumb and pinky fingers, under the cup
of my palm where nature had placed shadow,
a sand grain,
a speck of pepper, a poppyseed,
the eye of a distant hippo, a hole
made by a needle in white paper,
which are all false spiders,
had built a web across the arc
of my limp palm.

for several moments
it might be described
that the universe
stopped moving as I
watched for the spider
to show itself, appear
at my thumb, at my smallest finger,
or in that bridge of organic
silver filigree, this spinnareted
house with its perceptible
ripples in the breeze, this shadowed
presumptive net
silklaced to my resting skin
by some false, busy seed,
which are all (house, bridge, net) false webs.

i spoke to the web
and to the spider.
I told the web
and I told the spider:
I will write you out of history,
write you out of the eras
and the annals,
impossible though it is,
and I turned my hand into a fist.

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