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About this Poem 

"I was trying to change the mental spaces within a poem, so that past and future could be more coincident—as I am my past right now."
—Alice Notley

Individual Time

Alice Notley, 1945

I'm calling out from pictures to your vision creating it
turn right, that dream building cutglass window in door.
Automatically inside their apartment, you don't have
to get there. This is before the lost sacred corpus vision,
someone says Look at my author photo. I
don't really want to I'm turning to defiant metal
not a dream part, can you see it where the movement of
images turns back towards me I want a
different, how I'm portrayed because you can't
see me, visage. Look at me please. The soul is so thick
larger than the portrait what you'd call madonnaesque,
and then there was more hoax a view as I am
the rose here. And you never wanted to be that, did I?
I was waiting to see what I would be. Blackness
eats you but your soul eats it without your knowing that
figure, because it is causing your appearance to the world.
They arrange me in clothes of Easter, or of
the first day of classes, but I'm projecting pigment
cracked gold on fire, thinking braver thoughts.
It takes courage to get to the ancient altar
of the moment where I create individual time.
The picture body untremblingly stares large-eyed
I also create the tablets of exponential seeing: it brightens
all around it, as I'm the apparatus of what there is to be;
and I am making it, my time visibly becoming me.

Copyright © 2013 by Alice Notley. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Alice Notley. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Alice Notley

Alice Notley

Born on November 8, 1945, Alice Notley is the author of many collections of verse and the recipient of the 2007 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

by this poet

poem
"I walked into" "the forest;" "for the woods were lit" "by yellow
street lamps" "along various" "dirty pathways" "I paused a moment"
"to absorb" "the texture" "of bark & needles" "The wind carried"
"with a pine scent" "the river's aura—" "delicious air" "Then a

figure" "appeared before me—" "a woman" "in a
poem
"I stood waiting" "for some minutes" "in this very" "alive darkness—"
"the air so vibrant," "the trees awake" "There were flowers," "mixed
grasses," "growing lower" "in the dark," "& I was relieved" "to be
near them" "after so much time" "where nothing grew" "Then" "I heard a

song" "faint & blurred," "a
poem
"The water" "of the river" "was mild-temperatured," "the current
gentle" "I soon began" "to swim—" "in a moonless," "starless darkness"
"The sky held no clouds—" "no luminous" "spheres existed here"
"Yet the sky was" "a sky;" "for the river air" "was fresh & sweet"

"Then," "as I swam," "the others I