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  4. proportions of a giant in monument valley by Judith Goldman
proportions of a giant in monument valley

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inside the bottle with the ship
were several Drowned sailors
elegy acts on inward skies
what you imagine about radio waves
these elegant machines bend sinister
sentience itself, disordering of the senses,
sentimental disgust, disuse, unease
by palliative measures supply
sufficient echoes to eliminate our organs
scattered bones prove the date of the body
they are rexed beyond the farthest shoal
consumed by a mosaic, a forest of saltshakers
an obstinate minor puzzle
at my bidding everything is procedural
a relative view is counterintuitive,
journalism is not written by journalists
the diaspora was juggled, then slain
intercept a preferred designator
a kernal, a Trophy
low birth fashioned a hallmark swagger
to replace geometrical dreams with scant leviathans:
is this an improvement?
where is the life that later I led
how to account for the
strategems, in what I am weakest exemplify
I am departed, protean
twinned stick figures cut
up drawings with scissors, put
the pieces in their pockets,
confidence in shapes . . .
this picture is not very accurate
inner turmoil is as oblique as
how fair realism fares the objects
of its attention; externalized
or just compacted to
a fêted untouchable Vitamin doll
exception spines boundary
what kind of skirts are outskirts
a primitive, endangered mahogany mask,
a convict’s garb, soil cleared from weeds.
these teeth sown won’t become full grown:
prey talks foreign; heads hang in the halls.
habit is only two dimensional, as with any tool
barbarous cattle, drudgery of ammunition,
improper use of artificial blue collars
I died of foliage; I died of typed patterns on carbon paper;
I died of a chief delight. fare thee well, crackpot.
I break a sweat, the dish is still cold
read my Palm, do what it says
it’s time that we get up on all fours

Judith Goldman, “proportions of a giant in monument valley” from Vocoder. Copyright © 2001 by Judith Goldman. Reprinted by permission of Roof Books.
Source: Vocoder (Roof Books, 2001)
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proportions of a giant in monument valley

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  • Judith Goldman earned a PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 2007. Her collections of poetry include Vocoder (2001), DeathStar/rico-chet (2006), and the chapbook The Dispossessions (2009).
    The poems in DeathStar/rico-chet address the political, post-9/11 world, partly through the use of found material and fragmented language. Poet Joyelle McSweeney, in a Rain Taxi review, commented on the ways in which Goldman writes about intensely contemporary culture: “one approach sets up a conceptual or formal framework that brings attentive pressure to bear on grimly mundane content; the other rejects conventional frameworks and concocts a parallel system of language at once as violent, arbitrary, and paradoxically prophetic of a fait accompli as a highlight reel of daily carnage on the evening news.”
    Goldman is a Harper Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago. She co-edits, with Leslie Scalapino, the annual journal War and Peace, and was...

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