On “The Contexture of Complaisance”


for Geoffrey Hill

Respecting memory as an architectural

force legitimizes the fantastic.

When included, hash marks deride

a passing over to teach rhythm,

also the power of numinous footnotes—

personalities like a toothpick box:

spilled moods. Whether decaying

or not, what does this leave rewarded

but presence misunderstood, reloaded

for affect or | exasperation’s |

inscrutable hatred of the affected, or

passages punctured by Christian magic?

That somewhere one cups a light

burning in an ocean shell.


People don’t care about much but cruel concept

in middle age. Art goes an evil depth

in affectation, like fire’s core

seeking oxygen it fights to win.

Middle age, animus of iron.

Majesties of flame in a copper basin,

True Temper wheelbarrow beside,

a valediction that cruelty reigns.

Sunday evening is an action of flames;

with knowledge that tomorrow brings

a job commute, the forehead tightens

to compute the good, the face melts off.

One cannot be more sorry or more sore

this is the arbor vitae that remains,


our chief misunderstanding. To bandy

otherwise is but an ornamental notion.
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