Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"On the Absence of Context"

“On the Absence of Context”

what do you think about the experiment long ago

a literary one that is

not using vials and flasks and sulphurous fumes

done by a teacher in colonial Ceylon

teaching or trying to teach his

colonial charges

the upper crust of the overseen population

how to read poetry

important poetry that is

poetry in the imperial words

how to read those things


so he distributed to them

the poem about the Emperor

and ice cream

and asked them to write their thoughts

it is about

they said

an immensely powerful


an abode of frozenness

where all bow down

in humbleness

and awe

before the Mandate of Heaven

when I first


the sunlight was inside of me

not from the window


was a book

opened on the shelf

wrinkles on my toes


those of the caiman

its shy teeth


in the sunlight

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