Heir Apparent

Issue #39: September 2015

from Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words | Bernadette Mayer


silver and clover the clover

where we sat there over

and over again

and again knee

comes sings a few

things comes

rings a

few things

were settling

the stars

were out

the lines

in the street were about

fines what

about lines

single double triple quadruple

(four times)

what about a double four

times how

about a bass a treble

and silver and gold?


   Sun’s in my eyes and

    the rest’s leaves and a few

  and a     and     s

s for more      s for pleasure

 a mean     a measure


       not miss

       but one

of them        lay down a series

     all for one    and a

       I shall

   and I leave

     that has no stem

     (a drop?)

        the en


      The nights let us have leaves

        we have them  the leaves have let us

      & then they let us


      have day

             a day


Maybe when time was and made me the time

many times could we and in time when the time came

noticed that and gave you the time of and left him the

left it open for any time and got back on time and how

the time he and served out the time and never noticed

covered up that time and said we’d see some time and kept

what time and asked for the time of and covered

we knew just what kind of time could be had


at ten at then at the edge of a moving squeezed floating boat second se second pile-up tie-up in a day a moving boat is a screaming boat sum some men say that a moving tree is not a tree, plant, resolved, action 2 men, 2 trees is a subset of the moving set A. 3 men, 3 trees is outside of the moving subset of the set of set B and set C. Underneath the set of moving trees is the surface of a solution. Saturday is the day for numbers. Sunday is the day for one, two, three and four solutions. If you say the tree is moving at the speed of light, you say the tree is moving but it is not. There was once a man from Cornwald. Who had an impossible trait. If you say I will move there is no chance of developing the will to move. If you would have moved you would have moved anyway. Every word is the same word as the word that comes before it, if it came before it. Set B is a subset of Set b. One line perpendicular to the x-axis is the y-axis and also everything that has something in common which is counted by the x-axis. If seven men are the same height, their combined height is greater than the length of the y-axis, if the x-axis measures height and the y-axis width, and vice versa. I am a Communist agent. There once was a man from Seattle, who covered all bets with his cattle. I say the tree is moving but you do not. I am a fearless agitator. Some bo boat x suck boat sum burglar float rattle in the xeams in the seams seems blue to you seminal circus whiff patter of fett feet am able to ahdn hand foot toe hell heel fell worldly the shortest distance between two points on a curved surface in a curved space is the geodesic line. The geodesic line appears in the fall and spring on Saturdays. Selectio selection in line with luck of 13 pro-football down on the corner of the letter which drowned in the pocket of the dying actor who played werewolves and his right forearm sticking supply into the dinner jacket he spoke freely of estimates and percentages, estates, etc. from the door of his drawn house, I could see the bottom of the sea and in the corner a patch of grass drawn from the line of resolved plants the electrician could have supervised even in the open and pell-mell way they were planted there. Typewriters result in a line of selection and numbers just as symposiums relish the kids in line for luck and 13 pro-football players down on the corner where the letter was drawn in the eye. From left to right on the arm of the player were seen a cartoon as if soldiers in line numbered at least ten. Another left part, this time the elbow, swampy-looking, ends in the space next to veils and jackets set aside for the preview. Another left part, this time the forearm of a man drowned in the ocean last year and the right wrist of his best friend, a girl. The space between the go-between and his hair was inside of the left thigh of the woman he saw as his mother. Nest to the air-conditioners and below what was with it was more big space and a piano stool for sale but the wider the drink the bigger the space next to skirts and dresses and some incorrect word which wasnt listed in the June edition. The end of the car was like a broad loom in the presence of the edge of the dish. The edge of the map is TV. Every sash is a church. Between yard and free came savings. The oil tank was bigger than a lunch box but looked otherwise looked the same cash is what you need. Right behind the right cheek of this woman was a series of soap bubbles. Landmark space near a waterfall for only your graduation fee and gown. A king is something supremely smash and/or festival. In stuttgart the and picture of the left eyebrow of that famous actress was to this like the edge when love began of an a


Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

      The colors:  yellow, orange, brown and green embroidery on

a yellow and orange background.                …re-

                     duced in length by the

                     diameter of one atomic


      highly energized hitting power by the world-integrated

   network of comprehensively designed industrial capability

          “I’d like to watch it”

            broadloom: woven on a wide loom

         Imagine a vast sheet of paper on which straight

                     lines, triangles,

            squares, pentagons, hexagons, and

         other figures, instead of remaining fixed in their


        move freely about, on or in the surface…

two kings

    Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

            MGM: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

                 When was the last time you had a

                          tooth pulled?

         the ever-growing Leaves of Grass

      Portrait of Mr. Golightly

                   7 min., 50 sec.

at the left eyebrow of Boris Karloff photographed as a werewolf.

caterpillar has a yellowbrown head and

a straight

Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

             back of you; plan each of your moves;

                          “You never

      told me what to do when I’m explaining to Marilyn how to play

a scene and she walks away from me in mid-sentence.”

any spontaneous changes in a physical system occur in the direction of

    increasing entropy and the final state of equilibrium corresponds

              to the maximum possible value of the


           Buckminster Fuller


             What living and buried speech is always

         vibrating here—what howls restrained by decorum;

       Meaning it! Table! Now I know! Get it?

   to lower the status of the Hierarchy by forcing them to

            submit to the pollution of color

   two aces

      Male glowworms are attracted by the dazzle of cars

           and houses, as female glowworms give

        off a relatively dim light…

     This attitude was transferred from materials to whole

continents and classes of people. Karl Marx defined the situation in a

                      Once and

                      once more! The

      heart’s, the eye’s and

      temporal separations are great distances

                Sending a chain letter through the

          mails is a Federal offense

             boy and

      The same strokes which define a falling object designate

            glass, when they are inside a rectangle such

as a windowpane.

at great distances, the four-dimensional separation between

        two events is real,

      that is, it is a real number

           between such glimpsed frames men are to



                      track: a course

                    for motion or action

     the process of introduction by contact requires care and


     two fives

Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

      this  mechanical abstraction is based on a

                stocking machine reproduced in a

catalogue borrowed from a manufacturer of ladies’ hosiery

              what’s thought of as a boundless,

continuous expanse extending in all directions or in three dimensions

              within which all material things

are contained at this moment

as a sign of the infinitive            the queen of hearts—



                  equals         in



                     time what comes next

         married a Robbie and had two children a Kenneth and

a Carol

               6,…,8, 9, 10:

     The world-line of the Planet Venus is a geodesic line.

      The theoretical conception and development of a wingless,

amphibious “jet-stilts” elevatable aircraft which would plummet

aeronautically in the tetra-vector guidance.

a full house

              by other tools.

           “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” made its

                        first appearance

                      in the New York Saturday


                      in 1859.

               When Linda and Dick came down to dinner,

        her parents were in the living room.

   also tall and even darker than Madeleine with a slightly protruding chin

            ….one straight line at a time, or a number of bits of

                    straight lines all in one straight

                        line, how can you

     ever discern any angle, and much less register angles of different


Coast and Geodetic Survey, Department of Commerce

      two ten’s, two seven’s

again sometime? Just to see you anyway. Try sometime. Try. I don’t get

Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

    Imagine a vast sheet of paper.

                Space is moving fast.

                      February 2000.

                         You take

                          your final

                  exam. What does this tell you?

                     “From the door of his

     dream house, I could see the bottom of the sea and in the

corner, a patch of grass.”

        The sculptor has faithfully rendered in marble the

car’s mechanical parts

          I Figure, Fluid Geography, The Cumulative Nature

         of Wealth, Domes—Their Long History and Recent

    Developments, Comprehensive Designing, Design for Survival—


        the tree is moving but you do not say

        two four’s, two five’s

  Jack explained that the moving boat was squeezed as it floated by the pier.

     I sing the body electric   eyes wont focus on the horizontal


         becomes larger; if he leaves us it becomes

             smaller: but still he looks like

a straight line;


     two jacks


Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words: The Early Books of Bernadette Mayer is available from SPD Books.

Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words collects for the first time Bernadette Mayer’s early poetry books and places them in chronological order.  Most were published in small editions and unavailable for decades until the Internet age.  One of the books has never before been published.  Dating from 1960 to 1978, when Mayer was between the ages of 15 and 33, these works represent an extraordinary poetic achievement for anyone of any age.

The first book, Ceremony Latin (1964), was published privately with help from a friend in 1975, 11 years after its completion. The second book, Red Book In Three Parts, dated “1965-66,” was originally published in 2002 by United Artists Books, more than 35 years after it was written.  The third book, Story, was Mayer’s first published book, appearing in 1968 as a special issue of 0 TO 9, the magazine she co-edited.

The fourth book, The Old Style Is Finding Out Something About A Whole New Set Of Possibilities, has a tangled history.  An early version was submitted for the inaugural Frank O’Hara Prize, which was awarded to Joe Ceravolo in 1968.  Mayer expanded the book during the next two years, then couldn’t find a publisher.  In 1976, a significant group of poems was removed from the manuscript and became the backbone of the first section of Poetry. Most of the rest have never been published, including such early long poems as “A Moving Boat Is a Squeezed Boat: 52 Cards” and “Complete Music of Webern (A Movie)”.  After some back and forth, Mayer and Station Hill decided to publish the original book in its entirety, including the poems from Poetry, as part of the effort to put Mayer’s early books in chronological order and clarify her poetic beginnings.

The fifth book, Moving, was published in 1971 by Angel Hair Books, which would become Mayer’s principal early publisher.  That book-length poem was quickly followed by two much longer works: Memory, written in 1971 and published in 1975 by North Atlantic Books; and Studying Hunger Journals, written from 1972 to 1974, and published in a short excerpt by Adventures in Poetry/Big Sky in 1975, and finally in its entirety by Station Hill in 2011.  These two monumental books, totaling 650 pages, stand alongside this collection of early books.  

The sixth book, Poetry, is now shorter than its 1976 publication by the Kulchur Foundation.  The poems remaining in Part I, after the removal of many older pieces, have been augmented by four contemporaneous poems first published in A Bernadette Mayer Reader by New Directions in 1992.  The seventh book, Eruditio Ex Memoria, and the eighth book, The Golden Book Of Words, were published in 1977 and 1978, respectively, by Angel Hair. This collection leaves off in the spring of 1978, a few months before Mayer would write her next book-length poem, Midwinter Day.

Assembling Eating The Colors Of A Lineup Of Words, Mayer and Station Hill have corrected unintentional misspellings, punctuation marks and spaces in earlier published editions and manuscripts.  The poet’s original spacing has been maintained as much as possible across different book formats, with the exception of the untitled poem beginning “make noise…,” which was originally a one-page, handwritten “street work” published in 0 TO 9.  When multiple versions of a poem existed—say, between Poetry and The Bernadette Mayer Reader, or between 0 TO 9 and The Old Style manuscript—Mayer decided which version to use.

Michael Ruby
Sam Truitt