This morning in an alleyway I was startled by a face
I seemed to recognize, in a dormer above a garage
and so slunk up to him, who was ranting quietly,
mauling the mind of some imagined ear out the pane
as if maligned, or high, like one
moony and almost witless in a poppy ditch,
or one waking ill and supine
in a wet bed of opening mullein:
"I have no desire to theorize language--
I was raised modestly and have sinned unspeakably.
I would rather waylay and destroy
whose voice molests me."
On his desk a thin book I knew, a tragedy
whose residue was a Sentry's couplet I half-knew
and began to recite--startling him who turning was outwardly
unknown to me--, "'Does it hurt in your ears--'"
"Fuck Antigone--I detest language, I detest artifice,
I would rather waylay and molest
the beast that has imagined and pent me here."
From The Little Door Slides Back by Jeff Clark, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004. Copyright © 1997 by Jeff Clark. Originally published in 1997 by Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles. Reprinted by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. All rights reserved.