Don’t fall in love / with this face—Lorine Niedecker




the aperture tries to see

the diorama packed in there

the sun is the word sunset now


surface is the dream of a name

with our heels against the moon say

we ask why


the answer is three letters long

why must we unwind the thing

to hold our lips around an annunciation


what kind of pen is that

that writes nothing but stresses with these

commas are the end of the sun


how old is the arm

what clause is unnecessary




just some coins and some panthers

a palm and a dish and a noose

that grows on trees

I tell you I love you


I did not come here looking for you

I am the chest that breathed

a fresh gulf of faces, mouthing light

I am the last great steamboat, I am like a policeman

at the gate in the deep mean blue


I cared for a deaf animal far from the trees

and I was its only friend

and I have your wristwatch

you never had a wristwatch

don’t forget me when I’m young




how you lose it is

by sinking a glimpse into the fire

by telling it it is consumed

calming a body in the shower


say the kid holds a sentence

say he can hold it

and he says it again

by measuring the delay

light that sneaks past  him


listen to this number

I conceal as threshold

to the cash


I am 26-years-old with no career

what do you want from me, 27




no, no, the delusion could be an emotion

actually a figure is an open space

a candle    in a glass


between heading out


staying put   staying


the tickle of smoke turns a dial

and solves the sound

passes behind a country square

tangoes silently like

little proud faces in the dark


seek perfection under the paper

every corporeal pen

every sketch-size of trust

damn too




why you work

why do you work

you are the silent percentile

the blooming hand

high over the ocean

roaring a simplistic fare


“I think about it too much, isn’t it?”


carry up the work

is never the same as myths


“Well I’m sorry you think about it”


ever gone blinking like a beauty

winged warm small season

jealous of every natural thing

thank yourself




I’m sitting in for another man

but he thinks I’m a boy

so you think I’m a man

am I a man

what’s a man to you?

is this stealing if I say this?

I feel like a boy and a man

my nose is in the dirt

I sit and react like a dog

to an innocent trick:

that skyscraper

and that one

and that one is lying down

but it is not asleep




you never called me or beat me

called me into question, despite my panic

never doubted me

a name, never waited awkwardly on the stair

for an act to follow never

has cared more deeply and carefully

as a care muted now, you are mute as I speak

a sense to exonerate another

that kneels in the beloved phrase

that cleaved sound without purpose

true, true beautiful grassy song

careful song, “song” from the word

“to sleep like a stone”

trouble me now with your sleep




I count the ahistorical frames

what you might call doors

I also call doors

but I want to call them ahistorical frames

that is the business


some careful stars and

careful designs, waking up in the designs

I remark on the night saying to you that

this all matters very deeply to me

this is all comprised in a book somewhere

but it’s not


but I’m not a troubled soul really

and you’re not a troubled soul

we are not troubled souls

we are not like they want us to be

do not fall in love with this face