But It Says Nothing

By Clark Coolidge b. 1939 Clark Coolidge
But it says nothing. And one is as quiet
as if to say nothing moves me. Then
there is the chair. And one speaks of
the chair sitting at the table.
Scraping against surfaces, opening the mouth.
The object is a piece of thing before. One
shifts in a chair and opens the talk.
And the time it says nothing one moves.
The table is too long as the wall. Not
a thing but it stays and one opens
as a mouth will begin. Speaking of
the table, nothing but to avoid that of
the wall. One could return over and over
to the chair, the wall one is sitting at.
Least ways it says nothing. And the
thing is, it stays still before
speaking of. The object of nothing, even
speech.

Clark Coolidge, “But It Says Nothing” from Own Face. Copyright © 2000 by Clark Coolidge. Reprinted by permission of Green Integer.

Source: Own Face (Green Integer, 2000)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Clark Coolidge b. 1939

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, experimental poet and jazz musician Clark Coolidge has been connected to both the Language movement and the New York School. His poetry utilizes syntactical and sonic patterns to engage, and generate, meaning. In a 1968 poetics statement, he noted, “Words have a universe of qualities other than those of descriptive relation: Hardness, Density, Sound-Shape, Vector-Force, & Degrees of . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.