Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HILBERT'S PROGRAM, by MILO DE ANGELIS

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HILBERT'S PROGRAM, by            
First Line: We fell on the chair


We fell on the chair
through a mistaken movement of the pen
clinging to grace,
our tobacco-stained grace.
We fell on the balcony
where they threw salt. Ultraearthly,
a substance joined to the egg
scrutinizes the last days of oxygen.


On the right our
signature turning against us. On the left
a sirvente with a dry-point:
"your daughter, alive, will assume the soul
of mine, who is dying."
The dancers call us
in the body below, they have
a silence and a turning
pencil of grass in the tall pencil.


Interior shelves, full of objects, collapse
in the bank. I see that scene again:
the dumbstruck people, the fast ones,
the corners and the scorching wire, strange rondo
of a word
at the climax of light and throat
"every pine tree...every pine...stop, you are amid yourself..."


Thus we made ours the remorse
of every thief; suspected,
we lived on incense
behind the crystal in the gynaeceum
we stare at the absolute middle
of a thing, a nutriment
repeated for decades, enclosed in the marrow
gathering on the ground fortune-telling
leaflets, little boxes for cats
which even when open set a limit for us.


The elevator cables sway, every thing
is divided into memory and mandrake.
First the dance with the snow. Then the processions
of repose like a masterpiece
whence to venture out barefoot. "In the water
whoever is silent isn't forgiven."
In the hour of a notebook, I answered, if they were called there,
it was for some serious hell, a literary game
suicides sometimes play.
How many canteens given away as presents
before drowning, how much earth
spread on the pillow!


I squeezed the idea hard: and then marriage,
I rushed up to the fifth floor: and then I heard.
You were saying: goodbye passions
of hallucinated life, I want to light
a lamp, to wake up here, to feel
soft steps over my hands.
The day is that woman who
nurses against the wall, that zen
leaning. You were saying:
I looked at the part in my hair, I
turned back to the oil lamp, for the sages.

We children, we pine needles.


"The water doesn't come back here, you find it again in a throat."
At every turn of the earth,
the same face. No fissure
is as deep as those wrinkles. "Yes, you can
exchange my life for yours, if you want."
Head-sail, I called you. On an old slipway
you still sleep, stagger a little,
draw nine and a half meters with a free body.
Harsh begging
is the sign of twins...the migrating daughter,
the taciturn one from the hills: then the pollen
entered the dead and a supper appeared
in the dark, with friends.
She was there again,
in December, and it was the same one, we could recognize her.

Used by permission of Story Line Press.

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