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The Illustrated Gazetteer

ISSUE:  Autumn 1975

ACROSS the walled continent
at the back of the rainy horn-white mountains
reading the names of the rainsmoking towns over and over

at last my name dampens and slips away
from the motionless figure on the sofa
tonnage of thumb and forefinger slanting down

each morning this body for raising bodies
thoughts of leaden coffee iron pans
how I am heavy heavy to get up

always dreaming more lonely and minimal lives
as Mercator shrinks the knownworld and the North
snows over mammoth continents

“the irrational punishments of matter” . . .
such I imagine the old age of the world
cracked walls the plumbline and its shadow

for me it’s this damned mule of a life bloodshot eye
aiming body in jerks—lift the roof of any house
and you’ll find six people brooding on the age

these names from the Gazetteer
came floating back like loose canoes
the cities closed their eyes

now each man seeks himself a hermitage
faraway deserts mountains and shores and you
you too have come to long for these things


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