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  Lyn Hejinian
Lyn Hejinian
Lyn Hejinian is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her most recent books include A Border Comedy (Granary Books, 2001), Slowly and The Beginner (both published by Tuumba Press, 2002), and The Fatalist (Omnidawn, 2003). The University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry in 2000. Hejinian is also actively involved in collaboratively written works, the most recent examples of which include a major collection of poems by Hejinian and Jack Collom titled Situations, Sings (Adventures in Poetry, 2008). Since 1976 Hejinian has been the editor of Tuumba Press and from 1981 to 1999 she was the co-editor (with Barrett Watten) of Poetics Journal. She is currently the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets. Other collaborative projects include two mixed media books (The Traveler and the Hill and the Hill and The Lake) created with the painter Emilie Clark; the award-winning experimental documentary film Letters Not About Love, directed by Jacki Ochs; and The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography, co-written with nine other poets. In the spring of 2007, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

Five Elegies (The Unfollowing)

Lyn Hejinian
Out comes a girl from the quick damnation that brings her forth
I love my eyelids and lips—I, a denizen of the interstitial crack thats home to dreams that half a
hundred hunters have pursued to no avail
Between having to live and having to die, a rabbit has no means of despising the present
The horizon is lidded
Shes moving forward, pushing the shopping cart with the tiger that has temporarily adopted her
but isnt hers riding in it, its jaws slightly open, its tail twitching as it looks back up the
street toward the distance from which theyve come
Theres resemblance, but its sweeter, like early carrots
The cow has fallen overboard and its only thanks to Claras quick thinking that the Captain
doesnt follow
Next to come onto the market is a kind of panty condom for women to wear
The two are shaking crabs from the bits of raw chicken tied to strings theyve been lowering into
the shallow waters of the lagoon and pulling up in the summer sun back into the lagoon so they can crab some more
I slide the side of the conic end of a Derwent 7B graphic pencil across a small patch of the
page, abruptly change its course, giving an angle to the deepening dimension of a lead cloud
They took everything away—the nose, the mouth, and then the ears
Why not associate small dogs with cold butter, hesitation with play, finger puppets with habit,
ogling with red buttons
Me too
Thinkers get driven past their goal by the sheer momentum of their thinking


And the poplars in the wind
Its Monday, and Tuesday is already under way, Wednesday having fled several days ago to join
yesterday in the immense realm that well one day know as that of the adjacent-to-the-
Even the great botanist Carl L thought the fern dust he found hovering close to the ground as
puzzling as his own nature
She walks awhile unreconciled a hundred miles through chamomile
The play of the imagination is violent
I see a yellow pumpkin on a dozen desert stumps
Is passion a model for patience then: patience the proof, the patch, the put on and putting upon?
The narrative zigzags but has no name though its called Assailed and then Curtailed
Chip is the name of a fallen sparrow who listens to some girls as they stack scraps of lumber at
dusk around her and declare her safe for the night
Waving a pinwheel in my enthusiasm I advance
Along comes a duck waddling by through a flock between the eyes
An serum, an man, an bad job, an bomb and then a other bomb
I first read it eleven days ago but as if unconsciously that is I
Flowers are free natural beauties but horses are not?


Three barbarians are on the bank of a river whose beauty is theatrical, so they are doing blue
things, bovine things, emitted things, sand-bottomed things, reflective things, things
leaving playful impressions
I cannot hear except with eyes
What of the boy, the house—the boy dazzled by house—and what of the unhorsed girl, you ask,
and I say, the girl is horsed again and the boy has laughed[1]
Along comes a moment—unspent, uninterrupted, arriving incognito
Always add
Then I bought the groceries today from my favorite checker Dave the union activist and
motorcyclist whos now got his gray hair pulled back in a weensy ponytail
If night were endless and the sound of a river whose current carries stones, then our travels by
bed could be perilous
We begin our investigations in a haunted house of many living creatures which, like mementos,
carry their own memory charge, lots of energy
Noise and noise shown concurrently in play, hurriedly calling for father
Lets walk under trees with people on grass toward a house invisible to everyone else
You have an egg in your hand and you are putting your toes down ahead of your heels, you are
breathing on your fingertips, you have an avocado in your hand, and against the chill of
stupidity you exercise irony
The batted particular ball goes over the wall and theres no reunification and return
And is this why we are so fond of having feelings?
Impediments fly


Ghosts are the shadows of knowledge we crave
My computers spellchecker resists thou, it wants I to proceed with though
If you pay too much attention to your feet when jumping from rock to rock youll
She tilts the pencil, draws still
Theres a small spider overhead and a paper bag of recyclable cans on the floor, a
black tote bag saying outside of a dog a book is a mans best friend and
inside a dog its too dark to read hangs from the knob of the kitchen
door, beside the toaster the coffee in the yellow cup advertising cheese
suprieure en poids et qualit is getting cold
Keep telling me
Take as a case in point a ducks noun, going around even now the islands of the separate
As privately—even secretly—as ones response to music, oneand one
What you see!
As a child I used always to read a book lying on my side continuously, head resting on palm, and
now I read upright repeatedly
To come, to go—around the lake, behind the house, into the city, over the bridge—to pass
Strike palm against pail
Monkeys zero in, were in an us place—wide—its a game ground, without lights
Now for wildlife comedy


Puddings dont have lungs, melons dont have riders
Listen—a female seal, a seaport, and a social world
Come days end the top of the tree hesitates, pauses, then sweeps on like a
blackboard eraser to clear the horizon
Sit, Shep, incognito
The lid of the sun is heavy, its lashes blink on the horizon, brushing the curve of the sea
Now they want to grant federal coal subsidies?!
I heard suspected pipe bomb as suspected python
The first nest empty and deep, at childs eye level, in a young fir tree, of twigs
Pathos is at the front line of defense against worries as they approach
I remember almost nothing, only that I am in a room with others and we are
reading through sacks of mail, trying to ferret out spies
She will never believe shes too old to join a band or make quick vertical moves on the playing
field to really quiet music—she is that still
Then the sparrow went to sleep in a lumber castle
And so we come to chapter LIX, in which I learn that I have failed
Can you believe this shit?

forthcoming in Hambone magazine

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