Tomb of Baudelaire

By Michael Palmer b. 1943 Michael Palmer
At the end of the bridge is a state of prison. Then
it goes back into my throat drying my throat.

Miracle of Sicilian weeping. Bleeds in one of his many

He announced that he was about to give a free ‘poetry
suicide’—a free ‘poultry recital.’ Everyone be-
lieved him.


At the end of the bridge is a state of prison. A
voyage will hide itself in your heart, bleeding from the   
left eye, the organ of sight. A voyage will hide
itself in someone unfamiliar like a heap of salt.
Mingled with the ordinary blueness would be waves of
foreheads shaped like cups.

She thought he could hear her.

To dance is to live.


Calm and order of an autumn sky. At the end of a
bridge is the state of prison, voyage of eye and   
throat full of the fear of night. Then all of winter
will enter like a red block, or like the calm and
order of an autumn sky.

139. Change of form. 139a. Change of colour.

122. Pitfalls. 136. Covers with a lid.


It doesn’t matter what you say but how you say it. By
pronouncing the words they become different. It comes
from above (pointing to his head). Then it goes all
sorts of ways down. Then it goes back into my throat
drying my throat.

Tonight it’s a certainty that the President will resign
(‘a virtual certainty’).

After the party they drove back to her house where she
sucked him off while he spoke to someone on the tele-
phone about the possibility of a job.


Plato’s warning against telling stories, mython
tina diēgeisthai.

Or the certainty of the ten fingers and ten feet. You
laugh a lot because during the first phase someone
who has taken hasheesh is ‘gifted with a marvelous
comic sense’ which contains its own opposite like the
end of a bridge.

The verb divides us evenly into two objects.


A pretty girl is like a melody.

You must be more confident now that you’ve won the

And if you listen. And if you listen hearing, if you   
listen thought. I’ve been thinking about the whole
trouble about how I got lost in the woods.   A man my-
self is lying in a house. Or alone among myself answering
a house. To be calm and voluptuous conjuring a house.
To be eligible for the house. If you listen image, if you
listen house. Ordinary calm and order of the house.
Coffee comma parentheses. Coffee parentheses order.
Coffee parentheses coffee. 131. Untrodden. 136. Covers
with a lid.


137. Combination. 138. Arrangement.

Plato’s admonition against telling stories about   
being, mython tina diēgeisthai.

Dear Apollinaire: We drove 500 miles to attend the
wedding of a relative. Our son was to be in the
bridal party. The wedding was to take place at 4 p.m.
on Saturday. On the Friday night before the wedding,
the bride and groom got into a fight and the groom
broke the bride’s nose so the wedding was canceled.
          What do we do with the wedding gift we were
going to take to the church? Who pays for the
tuxedo our son rented for the occasion and never got
to wear? And how about the motel bill?

“Tomb of Baudelaire” by Michael Palmer, from The Lion Bridge. Copyright © 1998 by Michael Palmer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: The Lion Bridge (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1998)

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Poet Michael Palmer b. 1943


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he encountered Confessional poetry. His opposition to Confessionalism found root in a developing poetics when he attended the landmark 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, a three-week gathering where he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Clark Coolidge. Correspondence with those three poets greatly influenced Palmer’s early development . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Philosophy, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Language & Linguistics


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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