August 2001

Liz Waldner


Liz Waldner's first book, A Point Is That Which Has No Part (University of Iowa Press, 2000), won the Iowa Poetry Prize and the Academy of American Poets' Laughlin Prize for 2000. Her new books are Self and Simulacra (Alice James Books' Hawley Prize for 2001), Etym(bi)ology (Omnidawn, 2002), and the forthcoming Dark Would, a winner in the University of Georgia Contemporary Poetry Series.
Can the Regime of Meaning Be      
An Extension of the Regime of Truth?

Fool: The reason why the seven stars are
           no more than seven is a pretty reason.
Lear: Because they are not eight?

Do cells in their bloodstream dream?
Do they know one another like fish in a school,
like starlings in their dark armor that,
as one, at once, dip the right wing
and sail and bank at once in their hundreds?

It is a secret.
I walk around with it.

Then I am back, having read the last few pages
of a novel in which a lover dies
and forty years pass and the wisteria she planted
frames the bedroom window. I know
my work is to reinterpret the world to myself.

It says the meaning asks, Which wing is right?
It means: don't cry, didn't-plant-any-Where.
(My native American name.)
Can't I live in my own bloodstream?
Call me Mobius… (docket here intervenes)

"We show that there is no decision procedure
that separates those first order
statements that hold almost always from those
whose negation almost always hold."
Shhh. Show me how—at once—to hold my head

so it dreams a window bound by streams of air.
Analogous air. So my analogs of fin and wing
home in on How and Where.



Bisection (cheering, vivi-)   

The flowers themselves are like knees,
not their buds, as with peonies,
the ball-peened. She calls me
from too far away for not even a kiss
yet, could be like violets, too,
that end's her spectrum. Say
lustrum, hurt one. Say I do
Teena, too. See how, too, I am
on my knees. Say I too know
what you means.



Conclude In a Moist Relentment   

-Sir Thomas Browne

I have lived a lot of palaces.
A typo's made me rich.

I have mopped a lot of floor.
Barge. Bail. Flail.

Hoop, she said.
Must I through you?

Stairway not hopeful.
Witch: to go it alone.

He called me a bitch.
The word "asymptote" is uglier.

Yet skin is torn.
I sore. I hone.



Wherein Our Bones with Stars    
Shall Make One Pyre (damper)…

There is no item of your coming.
I am sad long hope is at an end. I hate the end.
My special hatred of Death cannot such patient Sad forfend.

Had you returned even one hour early
The statute-madness of the World had died daily.
That there may be more world than my Soldier hope has hoped—

Horae combustae only. Felix esse mori?
It is a lesson to be good. I tried—try—am tried.
My wanting unabated though the insolent part of reason lied—

So the perfectest actions of earth console me
Not. Nor can such saying allay an aching punctual.
I ought perpend: the beautiful path through the stone of water…

Can the sunfish drown?
Again shall the Vessel say to the Potter
Why hast thou made me thus? Let me rather
(or more of the same) Be in love with dead Sir Thomas Browne.



Liz Waldner: Poetry
Copyright © 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 17The Cortland Review