Heir Apparent

Issue #45 April 2017

Intricate Tissue | Bin Ramke

“…textile conservators discovered fragments of medieval manuscripts lining the hems of dresses at the Cistercian convent of Wienhausen in Northern Germany. The dresses in question, made by nuns in the late fifteenth century, clothed the convent’s statues.”  Nora Wilkinson


“What need does matter have to be witnessed by anyone?”
            Levi Bryant

Since the invention

of civilian airlines

we have this ability

as of clouds to be

there, above

against culture

watch an alternate

self in the mirror

not as light but as vapor

not a percentage of water

but a pure trace


to solve a life



a wavery engagement

whisper is erosion at

last is vapor is as if


the passage directly from solid to gaseous form


to become our own ghosts

we live shambling into shadow

years of adult life recalling

trying to call back a self never

lived a happy adulthood

is farcical he said to himself

his ghost overhearing mind and matter

alike in the clattering spring

and fall all full of flowering

flowing river as entrance

transiently entrancing

choosing a decorative form

against the decaying self

beneath—no harm in that


“the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns
just as the Jacquard–loom weaves flowers and leaves”
        Ada Lovelace

whatever lives lives long

enough to die—two acts guaranteed

late in life

the necessary fraud, a calling not a

voice of cold sirens from the rocks

but a hopeful lie whispered

a brief needful articulation

from within

where the hand manipulates

the dummy mouth

sly silence

Speak up like vapor

rising from the candle

or the cauldron

vapor thinning three

dimensionally against

blue: all this from

the window seat

all gone ungainly

we deplane in order

grumbling against each

others’ backs watching


Later in the large city

I visit I walk along

the edge of the

Conservatory Water

where the child watching

and being watched does

does not sing to himself

My ship my little ship

my shape of ship in water

in air in mist in mind


The sister took over the father’s shop.

Tools and a turtle’s shell bleached by

death and sun across a workbench awaited

me after my sister died. I kept the shell;

ours an earth humped doglike,

like a box turtle’s dorsum, like a planet

not like a star, the shape of star being fire

being liquid furious shape of time

of time not space. A sister dead leaves

family a function of time stretched

overlay of skin shallow

life after the last conversation

with a sister engineer who made

electrical things with her fingers, live.


Bejeweled momentary artifact, beaded

with insect beyond aesthetic unearthed

earthen remains. A dog learns to stay

and does love us who teach (who deserve

obedience?) My sister left me her dog

alive the color of amber is remainder

reminder. Dogs intercept line of sight

to engage eye to eye of our kind.

A dead sister a world ruined. In ruins a

world sparks spasmodic, in the night

might glow and signal itself as itself

ember–like emanating loss and love in–

distinguishable. Generous, what she watched

contains her watching, shared loss.


In a golden glow the plastic

puddled too soon she was doing her job

touching things, testing things. Objects

and arrows, process is progress.

We call the young girls beautiful we call

only the young girls we call our old

selves otherwise; anticipations

do not amuse us long but eros

lived there. Her work took her where

her brothers could not go, would not.

She knew things and did things with numbers

and matter, mattered into matter.

Engines make engineers and vice

versa. Wool on amber makes electrical.


Haldor Laxness: I got the notion that in this clock there lived

a strange creature, which was Eternity

I age I feel again as others die

not planned or feigned or formed from thought

from before—it was then when

the body felt not only body but not

only other body but the outer in

interior. Like a skin removed and tossed

a skin snake skin found in the forest electric

translucent. ((Who did you see die said my sister

in the dark after the funeral, both of us thinking

necessary thoughts in the night not dreams) (dreams

explain the world as (long as) you remain asleep)

Who did she see die so young

as that? Only one) no one ever we

said to each other each to the other.


rove        (rob)

    rave        (wrath)



rack, clouds driven before the wind

wrack, seaweed driven upon shore

where arose a wreath of writhing roses

and silent the family standing


To know something climb

climb meaning something different

difference being being

to see difference look closely

or not look with one eye closed or


climb as for instance something sloped

gradually engage gravity

grace      rope or mountain or ladder

only for perspective or to get above


grace and gratitude are not tools

or are

grace and gratitude names

a debt to animals

for instance mountain goat grackel grasshopper

imagine elk climbing

the other side will we meet at the apex

me carrying a burden for them

I am the burden. For them.


The etymology of brown includes bright,

see for instance burnish

is bronze a color or only a metalish wish

watching testimony in the sentencing phase

we recall events in a life of terror

es brennt in der ferne

all interior, all contained as homework

memorize your part

the horizon where hope

consolations of monasticism include mortality

“it ends” the young girl cried

running down the echoing colonnade

es endet or det ender or elle se termine


and yet as smoke rose from its moorings

the string produced the balloon

on the child’s hand flare of combustion

a ring flashed bright burning a hand

string and buoyancy, helium–

filled shape of sun

the smoke disconnects itself from both

fire and fuel

the smoke desires, a sign of desire

dissipation, oblivion

I was a child running

down a reflective corridor of

bright waxed linoleum

marble walls

discomfiting ceiling

defeated, fallen apart, dark

smoke–stained rafters

a balloon trailing its string

bumping among the beams.

Likely something worth fearing

is a reason to run

the flapping of the girl’s skirt

an engagement of force and friction



wending against the wind the wild

bird flutters few feathers

lands along the lake

I am watching reflections

of herons wading

they stab whatever shines beneath them

hoping for fish or fire.


“I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send
an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.”
  — “Ingmar Bergman Confides in Students,”
                New York Times, May 7, 1981

“Spear”—my grandfather harpooned gar, primitive fish, to eat—

is a sleek word, a concept, too. Ching–chu produced

a set of five pictures in which a black ox gradually whitens

then disappears in the fifth picture. Thrown spear–like (spark)

against the future, dark against the light.

An early physicist asked, if one reaches the edge

then throws a spear where does it go: my first

morning at college I found the track to run but watched

a woman on the team throw the javelin. Odd word,

Celtic in origin, ultimately the fork of a tree. Nothing is less

like a fork than a javelin, straight and sleek, unambiguous.

I too knew new boundaries—threw the spear from the edge

and watched the edge retreat before the sharpened point.

Before our eyes thing seems to limit thing,  Bk.1, De Rerum Natura

air bounds the hills and forest borders air, earth sea

and sea earth, but add them up

and nothing limits the sum. Such calculus confounds

yet opens a grandfather’s past into my dreams

of sharp–pointed fish nosing hooks and thrashing

selves eelish into knots; knowledge of knots

not nothing, but nature witholds the sum

of existing things from providing a limit for itself

because she compels body to be bounded by void

and that again which is void to be bounded by body

and tonight I might again look up to see

what I read in the science section one Sunday

about the discovery of the largest known nothing

in the universe and how a photon takes

a billion years to cross it, nothing as/is structure,

a structure, and very cold. Bounded by warmth.

I love the time it takes a streak of light to cross the void

a love a lingering learned. Light light dark.


The moon viewed from above by us on earth is cause for
celebration. Both from moon and from earth looking up is the same
as looking down.

Some see on the moon a shadow of a tree. The tree was how gods
commuted with earth. The Katsura connected earth to sky.

A man was told to cut down this giant tree on the moon.
But because the Katsura continually grows back the man was trapped on
the moon forever.

Leaves of Katsura resemble leaves of the Judas tree, Cercis
from which Judas Iscariot hanged himself early Saturday,
April 4, 33AD.

The shadow on the moon must be distinguished from the shadow of
the moon, and yet the accident that sisters and brothers may see
from different continents at the same moment the same moon gave
rise to geometry as well as astronomy.


The conflicted world devised

                the diligence of spider to try

the trust of the rest of us. Gentle

                in her swaying self–expressed

trap spends carnivorous days in

                summer filled with flesh

(gossamer days and

                dangerous to the small).

Little lasts nothing lingers long—

                if a life is measurable it is

dying. Then done. Some flies alight

                on carrion, some on dung.

The lucky ones.