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Saul Bass Redesigns the First Man

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I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.

To make, you first have
            to create materials. Re: man, we know
the rib removed. But, before — ?
            Forget ash to ash, dust
                        &c.

                        Stick a floating rib (i.e. thoracic
11–12, y’know — “Edenic”) in a glass
            of  water with the promise
                        it’ll grow
            roots like leek or fur

                        like chia. The joke’s Crusoe
            astride the bone or   Jim & Huck paddling
rustic as a ballpoint pen will go.
            — Nn-o.
                       (That’s not a plank
                                              in your peeper!)

           It’s a hollow; cue: running

faucet, a Pabst-crack opening
                      into seraphic
           choir. (Risk Handel’s?
   A perfect major? root, third, & fifth?) With aesthetics,
                      like a bad comb-

                                            over, you don’t
           need a mirror to know what you are
   missing. Now that you have this
                                 thing, you’ve got to

   feed, roof, & rock-

                      a-bye baby. You’re the big boss, head honch-

    o, but watch out, foreman, Little Evie
                      & Adam were the first
organized union. (1-2-3-4    ...    don’t give us pain in labor!)

                      So what’ll you give him in return?

    Latin and genus?
                      Genius?
                                            . . .  Medicinal plants?

                      (I call this “Vladimir
                                 Nabo-cough,” man.)

Or do we let him take for him-
           self   by fount,
fin, & medium — language. Though from this,
                      we know
           creation is only

myth; destruction, narrative.

Source: Poetry (December 2013)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

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Saul Bass Redesigns the First Man

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