from The Fatalist: Come October, it's the lake not the border

By Lyn Hejinian b. 1941 Lyn Hejinian
Come October, it’s the lake not the border
that has been redrawn. Thinking
about the event afterwards, I realize how remarkably well-prepared   
the girls are. There don’t seem to be any slouches
among them. Please tell them I say hello and that we’ll need 14   
for the green salad and 14 for the apple tarts between
with some rapid washing in clear water I remember as play
and planning in childhood, preparing until the very last moment   
for a gripping narrative that was itself perpetually given over
to improvisations and asymmetrical collaborations that could run
for days. That makes another 14. It was ”the word“ or “the world” in 1981   
when we undertook to talk about the phrase
“once in a while” once in a while
noting the vagueness then named “a while” and how “once” the phrase   
recurs and therefore means more than once
the “while” is defined. We too are in “a while”   
and when “once” next occurs, if the basic design suits
you, we will need a bit of modestly biographical contextualization   
for November. I’m going to put some thought to something
implausibly contemporary which perhaps isn’t wise
since between then and now no new coincidences have been noted   
just one large color photograph of bespangled cowgirls
herding heavy bulls up the avenue that opens this week carefully   
wearing baby blue boots to take out the garbage
but it never rained. At the end of the month, Halloween should be clear.

Lyn Hejinian, “Come October, it's the lake not the border ...” 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, Living, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Holidays Halloween

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, Living, Arts & Sciences, 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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