Alice Notley


Congratulating Wedge

All things belie me, I think, but I
look at them though. Well boys, at
least you’ re not dead, right? What’ s
the date today? Until something. What?
Of the lady of the whitening blow.
I’ m ashamed to keep on babbling
as if I’ ve always been oneself,
diamond flow through. Humble
flannel skeleton. Grin, laugh unbecoming
Living at the bottom of the water may
have been obvious all the time. But
I forget. What’ s my plot? Hand
of a child, paw of an animal. Paint
it red & make a pawprint in the psalter.

from White Phosphorus

“Flowery mantle.” “Homeric sacrifice?” “noise of darkness” “fear of
darkness” “now mantle of innocence” “King of his death now” “Home”
“I’ ve come home” “He said, ‘I’ ve come home’” “They were sacrificed for
nothing, for distant” “instants of thought” “All for your thinking”
“He said, ‘I’ ve come home; I've finally come home’ then he died” “flowers”
“Magnolias & lilies” “innocent now” “I’ ve come home. Who’ s there?
at home? all the dead?” “To come home from the war” “years after” “To die” “To

Millions of Us

Purportedly a chain of civilians, soldiers, voices
lice they were called. It is sometimes sufficient to beg
Lice creeping over one, kill them with a chemical;
then there are lice-ghosts everywhere. Glints of pearly
nails. The light of my beloved will keep me from noticing.
Trailer to keep her in; he asked me if I knew her ‘auction name.’
Walked over the scorch; what are values when there’ s nothing here?
The wing of a dead soul grows into all the lace you see through,
foreigner, lice-ridden article of divestment. Splendid vices