Autobiography 2 (hellogoodby)

The Book of Company which
I put down and can’t pick up


The Trans-Siberian disappearing,

the Blue Train and the Shadow Train


Her body with ridges like my skull

Two children are running through the Lion Cemetery


Five travelers are crossing the Lion Bridge

A philosopher in a doorway insists


that there are no images

He whispers instead: Possible Worlds


The Mind-Body Problem

The Tale of the Color Harpsichord


Skeleton of the World’s Oldest Horse

The ring of O dwindles


sizzling around the hole until gone

False spring is laughing at the snow


and just beyond each window

immense pines weighted with snow


A philosopher spreadeagled in the snow

holds out his Third Meditation


like a necrotic star. He whispers:

archery is everywhere in decline,


photography the first perversion of our time

Reach to the milky bottom of this pond


to know the feel of bone,

a knuckle from your grandfather’s thumb,


the maternal clavicle, the familiar

arch of a brother’s brow


He was your twin, no doubt,

forger of the unicursal maze


My dearest Tania, When I get a good position in the courtyard

I study their faces through the haze


Dear Tania, Don’t be annoyed,

please, at these digressions


They are soldering the generals

back onto their pedestals



                                                                                                          for A. C.

Michael Palmer, "Autobiography 2 (hellogoodby)" from The Promises of Glass. Copyright © 2000 by Michael Palmer.  Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
Source: The Promises of Glass (New Directions, 2000)
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