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Peter O'Leary


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  Peter O'Leary
Peter O'Leary
What strange error of hilarity in the world made O'Leary? Peter is the author of Depth Theology (2006/Poetry); A Mystical Theology of the Limbic Fissure (2005/Poetry); Gnostic Contagion: Robert Duncan & the Poetry of Illness (2002/Literary Criticism); and Watchfulness (2001/Poetry). He is Executor for the Literary Estate of Ronald Johnson.

Steering Goes Watery



Peter O'Leary
Beyond that barrier a sucking motion keeps
collapsing. Speed falters; the water-jacket — iron hot —
grills the cylinder til the coolant
vaporizes, or plumes
into the gastank, reeking of cooked metal. I don't understand it. Drivebelts
shred like string-cheese. All of a sudden, the chassis
starts floating. There's

a liquidy trickiness to life, an entropy
of spillage. I had a breakdown. A break-
down, one of many so far this year. I-90 hummed there
for five hours. Warts of refineries. Bleak,
jammed motorway. A killdeer claimed
a greasy puddle under the armature. Its namesake call
an alarm, repeated. By midnight, each minute
was an egg deposited from the anus of the queen bee
into a waxy hexagon, sealed & remote.

Later, Chas. Olson stood in a street in Gloucester, a
smallish man. Neat. Trim. He wore a kempt beard, a clean over-
coat. I knew him as Death & called him "Father." This
made Olson laugh because he knew the poet I thought of as
a father was already dead. Soon, we are embracing. I am so moved
with affection for him, which he returns to me. Our Lady is drooping light.
A weird anxiety & certainty. I want to mention his glutinous
pace, but there was none. He could not walk. What strange error
of pride in the world made Olson? For all the wreckage out there,
a towtruck hopefully comes.


from Depth Theology � 2006 University of Georgia Press


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