ELENI SIKELIANOS

excerpt from “ORACLE OR,    UTOPIA” (MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY)


some crows lost their caw
their predator warning
(their predators were gone)
we lost some vowels
down in the bowels, the organ-chambers where meaning
rounds itself toward night, a light
 




*


 

[what can no longer be held in language]
[sieve]
[sieve]
[where does the future take place]
[words were sent through the collider]
[letters atomize, chinks in the particles]
[water is not money]
[wht is not money]
[pouring through]
[the ey/e fell apart from its word]
[then the m     then the      o]
[it does not accelerate]
[does it]
[i  agination   ny]
[it slows and]
[accelerates]

[do a biosphere]
[do a new biosphere]
[do a new]
[money word]
[worldview]
[your like-body][(lĭc-shape)]                                                                                                 [OE: body]
feorhbold, feorhhold                                                                                                                 [OE: body, body]
you were once
fear-hold
                                 feather-bold
                                                                    father
going earsgang first                                                                                                                   [OE: arse]
till shape shook out your creature
with the many words for face                                                                                                 [OE: ondwlita, onsīen]



*


 

she was having her language hold money
                      I don’t want any money in my language I said
Imagination money

P U R G E





*




                                 put the originals
namely, the animals around us,                  all the plants
back into time                                                                (somewhere for safekeeping)
(we had taken them out)
(first the animals disappeared, their sounds, then their names )
we had forgotten their faces
their faces are not our faces

so the likeness is to the thing that it is like                    I like                    like
having lions around

onli lions can lie here
on this part of other Erthe

our last zebra                                                                         Hypertext transfer Not found
our last long-fingered frog                                               Hypertext transfer Not found
our last fruit bat                                                                   Hypertext transfer
our last angel shark                                                            Not Found Not Found

put them in the oracle
                                                                    shark        h  ark         ark

put them in the leaky coracle

put the letters in the tin can and rattle them around
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
angel-sounds like a loud shark
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
gathering up the atoms to find a woman who rhymes with time
to find all the letters in the t
                                                                    g   r   r

 


*




Sun was a power
an overflapping treasury we tapped

That’s a short time you’re talking about!
It’s nothing compared to the whole of time.

                                                        Isn’t that so?
It is.
Then, if the past
                     comes busting in like a band of cocked revolvers
                                                  takes the color apple-pale out of sound
                                                  and arguing about human beings
                                                  takes the you out of future
                                                  fture words out of lĭc-shape
                                                             scarring across the language
                                                  and puts the thing back in their things
                                                  how say

                                                  What do you mean?

The Sun is not sight but is seen
That’s right.
The words are not things but they mean.
Not true.
Find a sound as resilient and rigid as a flight feather.
Break open the words and shake out all their money.





*





Eleni Sikelianos is the author of seven books of poetry, including The Loving Detail of the Living & the Dead (among Library Journal and The Volta’s best books of the year) and The California Poem (a Barnes & Noble Best of the Year), as well as hybrid memoirs, The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine (The Golden Greek). Sikelianos teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver and in Naropa’s Summer Writing Program. A California native, former New Yorker, and world traveler, she now lives in Boulder with her husband, the novelist Laird Hunt, and their daughter, Eva Grace.



(Note: An earlier version of this poem originally appeared in the chapbook Oracle, Or    Utopia from Horse Less Press)

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