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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 in 1945, Alice Notley received the 2007 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for her book Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems 1970-2005 (Weslyan University Press, 2006).

by this poet

poem
Why do I want to tell it
it was the afternoon of November
15th last fall and I was waiting
for it whatever it would be like

it was afternoon & raining but it
was late afternoon so dark outside my
apartment and I was special in that
I saw everything through a heightened

tear, things seemed dewy, shiny
and
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
"Presently" "we neared a pale beach," "narrow" "with trees behind it"
"thick & blue-black," "& lights" "many lights" "deep inside the"
"wooded land" "I touched bottom" "& walked ashore" "Then I saw"
"a final entity," "airy image, pass" "out of my body—" "from my

forehead" "A small shape," "perhaps