archives fall 2008



What Is an Antiphon

Ceiled in seven voices like a Scottish mass.  Prolation of the inevitable.  A small girl on a city square with a piece of chalk in her hand.  Either she makes a mark with it or not.

Ceiled by train, ceiled by city, ceiled by square.  A small girl in seven Scottish masses.

Egress by the train a small girl makes.  The chalk is a cliff used for writing, a sort of balloon in which the souls of drowned boys wander.  That drift, that illimitable wafting.  The cliffs close around the landscape like a wound.

Either she makes a mark with it or not:  chalk on skin, chalk on silk or gingham, chalk on flagstone.  Chalk on bark, chalk on grass.  Chalk on hair.  Chalk perhaps on chalk.

Ceiled with egress, the inevitable glistening of the eyes.  Clastic pinwheel sutra.  From her bed in the round wound of the abbey a small girl dreams of her life in the balloon.  She does not see the boys, who crowd toward and away from her, fearful, curious.

Each boy is a square city made of chalk.  To sing in such a city is to pray to a distance.

She thinks this is a kind of freedom, ceiled with the most excellent train the balloon makes in the great cut-glass oracle of the sky.  The inevitable intoxicant, mixed with bark & gall.

The train closes around the girl like a wound, like a high Scottish mass, like a bone bell.  The skin of it a velvet chain across the pastures.  The velvet is spun from the soft stomachs of bees.  The bees drink from the cliffs inside of which boys keep drowning.

Thus:  a belaying.  No space through which laughter may exclude.  There is a physical analogue to the absence of legend in landscape.  Either the train makes a mark with her or not.


What Is an Overtone

Skein of white wheat.  A bright treat.  No longer any need for windows in the palace.  No longer any palace in the noonday sun.


What Is Serialism

I’m afraid this is the film with the burning sheep in it.  Again.


What Is a Mordent

In the photos only the eyes of the horses were visible.  Haymote in the dustmow:  silk scavenger.  Bladed gnomon of each Greek night.


What Is an Oratorio

Throne.  Foil.  Joist.  Timbrel.  Indent.  Vine.  Advection.  Hook.  Reply.


What Is a Tenor

If astonishment then replica.  If porcelain than mourning.  If hero then metamorphosis.  If abstinence then flight.

Very well thank you.  If yucca then savvy then delight.


What Is Belcanto

Chiefly, a semiotic proposition.  As opposed to declamatory.  Any plowed field yields its treasure to a peasant concern.


What Is a Hemiola

I send you this Ingram, this tangram, this dancegram—O fortunate swashbuckler!  In the afterglow of midhusbandry indelible fractions hover.  


G. C. Waldrep is the author of Disclamor (BOA Editions, 2007) and Goldbeater’s Skin (Colorado Prize, 2003).  He has work in recent or forthcoming issues of APR, New England Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, and other journals.  The poems in this packet come from his third collection, Archicembalo, which won the 2008 Dorset Prize (judged by C. D. Wright) and is due out in April 2009.