By Rae Armantrout b. 1947 Rae Armantrout
Light was on its way
from nothing
to nowhere.

Light was all business

        Light was full speed

when it got interrupted.

Interrupted by what?

When it got tangled up
and broke
into opposite

       broke into brand new things.
       What kinds of things?

       Drinking Cup

              “Thinking of you!
                          Convenience Valet”

How could speed take shape?


Do you want me to start over?


The fading laser pulse

        Information describing the fading laser pulse

is stored

        is encoded

in the spin states
of atoms.

is balancing his checkbook

        God is encrypting his account.

This is taking forever!

Source: Poetry (January 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2011
 Rae  Armantrout


Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics


SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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