from The Fatalist: Home whose names are produced by motion

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
Home whose names are produced by motion   
is where people go (one following
the next as she hums to herself or he hums to himself   
at some risk to all) to stay in a family plot   
the tales of which are spinning like blades   
on a pinwheel wafted by my desire to talk to you. Fate   
and desire, chance and intention, from time to time   
converge. Most people want things to be good   
but taking a programmatic approach to getting it
would be despicable and none of it would ever get to you   
except via a raucous garage sale. The owner of the pharmacy
at this very moment is screaming in jubilation   
at a silver toaster, I want it
even if it doesn’t work! Two firemen have broken down   
mid-sentence and gone out to look, you know   
the ones. The purport comes all at once   
at the end in such a way that one is thrown back
to the poem again to carry out the ”again“ that the poem is
about. I’ll get a library card at last and I won’t pay $100 for it
feeling tired but only as tired as one would normally feel at sea level   
after, say, a five hour hike, and it was the same
when it was just getting light—a murky gray
that never brightened. I don’t know you well enough to break   
away from my conversations in order to barge in   
on yours and give the illusion that I often know   
where I’m going or where I want to go with certainty   
of motive to propel the prose
or some version of certainty of my own, not knowing   
where one is going but going anyway. Perhaps the trip
will be purposeless. Destiny is simply a good excuse for experience.   
There are birds chirping, smoke is rising
from kerosene-splattered barbecue briquettes, it is summer   
and now, humiliated (I am so damned naive
sometimes), swinging the hips to the right to avoid the edge   
of the worktable, then to the left to avoid toppling the cactus   
I shout, “Things! Things! Get out of my way!”   
I’ve never lost my capacity for being angry. I feel   
that it is justified, even necessary, though I admit that   
after the first hour my improvisations contribute nothing   
but motion to the composition.




Lyn Hejinian, “Home whose names are produced by motion ...” from The Fatalist. Copyright © 2003 by Lyn Hejinian. Reprinted with the permission of Omnidawn Publishing, www.omnidawn.com.

Source: The Fatalist (Omnidawn Publishing, 2003)

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Poet Lyn Hejinian b. 1941

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Lyn  Hejinian

Biography

A founding figure of the Language writing movement of the 1970s, and an influential force in the world of experimental and avant-garde poetics, Lyn Hejinian’s poetry is characterized by an unusual lyricism and descriptive engagement with the everyday. Like most Language writing, her work enacts a poetics that is theoretically sophisticated. While Language writing is stylistically diverse and, as a movement, difficult to reduce . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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