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"In June a deck of pink index cards is spread out on the dresser in a hotel room in Brighton. Sound of sea and arcade tunes from the open window. It is pleasant to construct couplets."
—Lisa Robertson

Hotel Couplets

Lisa Robertson

It was a clandestine winter of television;
We were so tired of the fashion blogs.

The moist world was doing what it could
To think at pinkish dusk.

I say this from the position of having already been emptied
That summer I heard the chora in the beergarden.

Vitality, monstrosity, sociability, anarchy—these are standing in for a kind of sensing that hasn’t happened yet.
There’s a slicing rain horizontally striping the train window.

If ornamentation can be austere
It’s a form of brutality.

I started asking questions about the sculptural values that sound has
And how authority is installed.

Describe the silence there. It’s a recording of silence
A marbling or breathing through

Of sentences coarse, heavy, and blistered
About things that weakened.

By 1650, with her outdated ruffs and loyalties, her pipes, her horses and her Roman histories
I was an overheard language. I lay down in it with my own nerves and blood.

Each has the pleasure of a new proportion.
It can’t be solved, only articulated.

Your wind, your clean sky, places, food, sleep
It all agrees brilliantly with the shape of the earth.

In this attic room with the deep blue carpet and skylight
Imagining these small actions from my chair fills me with an even calmer happiness.

I was the flexible medium of the future and the impossibility of beginning.
I was longing for the visible.

I wanted it to be real kissing, softer than god.
Thirty seconds of weightlessness as one’s inner life.

Oh breast-bone and guts
My heart’s all over my body.

Charis is the graciousness 
The discretion outside effort.

Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Robertson. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 2, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Lisa Robertson

by this poet

poem

You step from the bus into a sequencing tool that is moist and carries the scent of

      quince

You move among the eight banner-like elements and continue to the edges of either

     an object or a convention

And in Cascadia also

As in the first line of a