Heir Apparent

Issue #18: December 2013

Riddled (from The Unfollowing) | Lyn Hejinian

Thing now tone, aquatic tilt is real, stick and money thieve, turn the future, scratch gas, cricket


Little spider darting out from a hiding place behind a rolodex and racing to a cranny between piles of papers: something we saw, wanting it to come back, or wanting it to go, like a king when royalty is outmoded

Glenn Gould is still humming along like a Volkswagen on an autobahn

One day a mournful young man spat on a traffic cop’s shoe, but the man’s name was Ferdinando and the cop’s name was Matilda, and they lived together happily ever after

Actually, I am not addressing myself here to metaphysicians, nor to spirits, nor to pedants, because none of these know how to see the particular beauty of a rain-soaked field

I believe I have acceded with docility to aesthetic laws—so says Odilon Redon, but to what in the world around us might those laws pertain?

All good children envy mint, so tune your instruments accordingly, because mint is as obstinate as a god

A celebration takes place and in surprise my error is corrected

Parsimonious ethnicity, cowardly mind, constraining gender, uninherited class, deracinated citizenship

You are so tired and I am so timing and he is so tidy and then there are those others, all so tithed and tipped-off and titanic

Help, I’m clinging to the side of a cliff, gripping a crumpling outcropping of rock, a train is rumbling through the valley below, a passenger looks up

Then two tiny birds darted (jetted? bulleted? sped!) from one tree to another and I could see a band or spot of yellow on each, but they were too little and too fast for me and who cares about identification?

I am very busy, I have a lot of energy, I’ve got a lot of projects underway, I’ve a number of plans, I’m very active, I’m industrious, productive


Cat in the redwood, chasing pie

Now in a sequence is a consequence, right?

Fred laughs, Ferdie scowls, Finnian drums, but whatever it is that Clarissa Shirley Jemma Moore does is whatever only she knows and maybe she doesn’t

You have only to slide some sprigs of thyme after the shallot and lemon into the cavity

In the tale the dachshund wears boots and the little girl, its companion, has a purse that replenishes itself with money whenever she buys kibble, cookies, or fruit

War warrant plate daring too doesn’t didn’t sum it

An autobiography offers a gloss to a life, but it’s a translator’s gloss, full of misunderstandings

She dared to ask and get canny and deride servility and temper glass and scatter candies, and that was a mighty horsewoman indeed, and she rode with chocolate spurs

I wouldn’t say particles exactly, I couldn’t capture particles of any single lifetime, because there is no single lifetime nor solid anchor nor sweaty pathos that doesn’t end up at the bottom of some sea

Slowly she swiftly turns and all that was said is to be long considered

The present cannot decipher

Make it language then, with no pictures

The ponderous sun hangs as rose and cream white fruits must if student loans doom college graduates to poverty

A love scout, that’s the term, is he or she who sometimes finds mourners, sometimes celebrants, sometimes children, sometimes no one at all


Suppose ungainly twigs, somewhat

Lished itivity tent ample crates

You disappear into a duration, the where and while of which is called Heedlessness, Indifference, Absence, Mischief

Yesterday, let’s go out; tomorrow, we were kept indoors, now let’s eat grapes

Suppose the poet speaks and the language doesn’t answer

The passion has its turf but, whoops!—I thought it was better managed than that!

Nobody moves in the photograph, nor will they ever move

Rally roll and then the little girl went up the tree

Into an L-shaped alley the young son strolls harboring a month’s provisions in his velvet portmanteau

The radiator knocks, the jump rope knots

Digestion proceeds as we sleep, and it is for this reason that we fart upon waking

It had been raining for three days in that interstitial environment, home to local fauns, where men come out of oaks dark, smart, and with a hint of criminality

Speculate for me

One a tree, softly, two a right eye, tenderly, three a threshold, kindly, four a mallard, fortuitously


Isn’t worry wooden?

Appearances burn to perfection, the same old frolic, permanent atoms becoming astronauts and then unbecoming them again

There was never and will be never and once she was like a gazelle commanding a field

Violent is the violin, deep is the speed with which the Great Wall of China wanders, serene is the soot far up the chimney venting the smoke from the “Longlife Log”

The sun keeps its secret, the daily news is sunk in light

This is a melody played on a cock harmonica, lyrics lost in a story buried under a bellicose rock

Could she and why?

What butter!

The barefoot musician fiddles on the ice with greater weight over the years and the juggler’s jugs get lighter

It’s not from an aphorism that you’d want our memories to rise—you’d resist, persist, preside

Life is full of indubitable data, indelicate stuff

Though drawn to the claims of the sky, I duck my vertigo and devour a huge sandwich, my commitment to gravity, which holds my shadow to the ground

We are subject to the ultimate disorientation, a cloud of invisible power

The sun is surefire


She stilled cream-colored stones an eternity ago and one bird flying there too

This is a pictograph of sediment not sentiment, of unbound layers of mud not the sold ore of South African gold

It is said that seven sleepers slumbered for two centuries and then woke up

The dead have mixed

Writers dowse in books, and being one I find that the first two words on page 203 of the book are Wilfred Owen’s (bent double) and the first two on page 307 are Auden’s (amid rustle)—magic!

What might a demographer dare?

Behold the scooters and riders and divers, scooting and riding and diving up

The young woman on tiptoe said and we didn’t doubt

What’s desirable then isn’t writable—there are more walls than trees there

Clerk, haven’t you a pen with pigs in it?

Okay, I’m leaning back, as if that would help me remember from pungency and acerbic comments relegating Natasha Rostov to the makeshift stages of a sitcom, but I fall—off that stage!

Butter jumps


The autobiographical isn’t renewable—so who is she?