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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang
Mary Jo Bang's work has been chosen three times for inclusion in the Best American Poetry series...
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FURTHER READING
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Related Prose
The World Anew: Mary Jo Bang and Jennifer K. Dick in Conversation
by Mary Jo Bang
Transcript: Mary Jo Bang in Conversation
by Mary Jo Bang
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Catastrophe Theory III

 
by Mary Jo Bang

Now we sit and play with a tiny toy
elephant that travels a taut string.
Now we are used and use in turn
each other. Our hats unravel
and that in itself is tragic.
To be lost. To have lost. Verbs

like veritable engines pulling the train
of thought forward. The hat is over-
turned and out comes a rabbit. Out comes a man
with a monocle. Out comes a Kaiser.
Yikes, it's history, that ceiling
comprised of recessed squares, each leg a lifeline,

each lie a wife's leg. A pulled velvet cord
rings a bell and everyone comes running
to watch while a year plummets
into the countdown of an open mouth. A loop of razor wire
closes around the circumference of a shaken globe
of snow. Yellowed newsprint with its watery text,

a latticework of shadow thrown
onto the clear screen of the prison wall.
From a mere idea comes the twine
that gives totality its name. What is a theory
but a tentacle reaching for a wafer of reason.
The inevitable gap tragic. Sure, tragic.





Audio Clip
November, 2007
Washington University
From the Academy Audio Archive



From The Eye Like a Strange Balloon, Poems by Mary Jo Bang. Copyright © 2004 by Mary Jo Bang. Published by Grove / Atlantic. Appears with permission of the author and Grove / Atlantic.
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