Oh, Kim isn't here. Kim is absent from work today.
All day long, when Kim is here,
it's his radio, ten until four, same
station, all talk. Today Kim
isn't here and it's silence, at work,
in this cubicle, within this sentence,
and I get so nervous and
comfortable—I feel safe—within a sentence because I know not where or how or if

the momentum will come—after the period—
to begin a sentence again. A poet is a novelist
with a fragmented gift (three quarters good
and knowing which quarter to omit), loathing
illusion as if it could capture one's name, unable to

leap—to hang

long enough in the air—to let
the sound come down. Too nervous about
subjects, thinking them pale. Always vaulting.
Time to go home. And tomorrow Kim will be back

and all will be shot, this
chance at a courteous hell,

a moment to
interrogate death,
or cleave to a
symptom of well.


But within...?


It was. I don't know how else to put it.


A rattle in the chest can obfuscate...


—...And that's the thing, see, I remember all of this. And before I began...when I first took this job, at the City University of New York, I thought...I remember that. That book. See I was reading a book, a few years back, when I was younger and growing fond of nihilism...and communism—not communism, really...at that point I mean it was, it was Stalinism, almost, I mean, something sick in me, or maybe something Sartre in me, seized upon a sort of Stalinism of the soul...an overwhelming embrace of a universal Eros, a purging of my entire personality, a paranoia really, for I was reading this book, by that saucy French novelist, Michel Houellebecq, because my superior, at work, came by my