24 from GLARE by A.R. Ammons

I am so ill-stanchioned myself, you
know, just me, that I can’t get on

without like, going to work, getting
away from myself into the affairs

of others, the elevator slowing and
catching still on the remnants of

old floors, plunging easing up: I’m
always hungry for compliments, anything

to bolster me lofty: I consume compliments
like bricks tossed into a black hole

for bottom, a solid floor,
but it all oozes away, undermined

by an oily, massive slip: I
should go in the brick business: I

might help myself out a little: I
should throw chunks of old foundation

in there, the steel rods ciliating
concrete: a few bales of ginned

cotton, absorbencies: a couple of
barrels of sticky-wicky: some jungle

temples: a ridge off the top of the
Rockies: that little peninsula that

reaches out from–oh, well: sub-
continent? where there is no love

nothing will take root: the hollow
will not fill: earth’s walkabout

will not arise: steps leading up
will not surprise: dreams will

not fog off the higher elevations of
ascension: what is left, after love,

to live with? anger, guilt, anxiety:
I speak not just of the loves of

thighs but of the love of another
more, say, than of oneself: there

are those whom to lose soaks direction
out of the tree boughs, prevents

snow from settling in the granite
crevices, makes daylight an odd

visitor: the stanchions give in,
wither like sea oates in a hurricane:

and then all the world cannot fill
the hole which becomes a trillion

miles of nothing

Glare by Ammons (17)


where do poems come from, you may
want to know: have you ever wondered:

do you care about the baby, not the
fetus: if you're like many people

you don't care about the poem, so why
care where it comes from, when you

mostly do care about babies and still
would just as soon skip the phylogeny:

wonder which comes first, the motion
or the feeling, or the event, perception,

connection: oceanward, you could
say that a rift of motion starts in

the doldrums, forms a progression, 
but you can't derive what it derived

from: what unsettled a bit of air:
was it air's own weight, a change of

temperature and buoyancy, or did a
wing slice through, or a meteor, or 

surely not a neutrino, so tiny: so
what causes anything to start: when

is the beginning of anything, all
beginnings begun: well, that's it: 

there's a currency of feeling and it
flows as unformed, if noticeable, as 

a drive, and describes a form of
itself, or else its energy picks up

some body here or there and marries 
itself to that, creating narrative: 

motion, going from here to there,
describes a swerve or arc or salience

and that is form: that is the seed
of form, born in the very bosom of

its substance, which is motion: next
to that, tell me what you think of

a sonnet or some fucking cookie-cutter:
I mustn't become high-handed: I'm

okay when I'm typing like this, tho: 
I'm in motion and the worm I am

extruding has a long wiggle: it
seems to me as I look about that I

know some things well: but they are
about nothing: there is no seedcorn,

there are no potato eyes in my stuff:
my poems come out of a little tug of

rift in an oceanic doldrum: it's a 
tiny little ship, an airship: fog

could drown it, saturate its jib:
who could get to Mars with that: if

I'm not to have a life, at least let
me tell you about it, that is, that

I'm not having it: that will make
me nearly think I'm having it: imagine

a life! of words: better than
nothing, better, better, bitter-bile

better: for what I meant was love:
now, don't blubber: poor comfort,

such poor comfort: twaddle:   


Purchase Glare