1:0  Fillip

1:1  A poet finds his fillip in a poem’s flushed lips. She eats him, and he starts to work, carving psalms, like Jonah, in her taut, wet maw.

1:2  Poems’ lips are everywhere: in halls, on walls, at balls.  A poet who hears the lips a lot or who sees the lips part is a sort of sot.

1:3  A poem: part lips, part ways.

1:4  A painter’s subject can distract him from his first idea, Bonnard warned.  But poetry is distraction from the poet’s fillip, his first idea.

1:5  Poets in their ecstasy don’t channel poems.  Instead, poems in their lassitude channel-surf poets.

1:6  Poets think of parted lips, splayed legs.  But the urge to write, the fillip, is really for the propagation of poetry.  Poems understand this.

1:7  A poem is domestic, farouche. There’s nothing wild about a poem, even one through Whitman or Thomas.  Dickinson, a savage, understood this.

1:8  I recall dramatic poems at college, like Browning’s & Eliot’s, but most were psych majors. (Never English; one dorm poem sniggered at my poetics paper.)

2:0  Silence

2:1  Poems part their lips, but they aren’t hookers. Many live chaste. In fact, the best poems aren’t spoken or written, & so it will always be.

2:2  Some poems are silent from the womb, some their recalcitrant poets silence, while others have gone ineffable for the kingdom’s sake.

2:3  Even a poem, if she holds her peace, is counted wise.

3:0  Shadow

3:1  A poem is apophatic, farouche.  The paper’s the poem.

3:2  The poet sculpts paper until the paper’s poetry.  A stodge of verse breaks down at his feet.

3:3  As a lawyer, I once deposed a guy at CIA headquarters. Afterwards, agents scissored the classified words from my notes. All I kept was the poetry.

3:4  The poem’s shadow is the poem.  And what’s the poem.

.Instituto Pasteur, Lisboa, Portugal

“Instituto Pasteur, Lisboa, Portugal” by Biblioteca de Arte-Fundacao Caoluste Gulbenkian. Used by permission. “Trill” are my Twitters. Tweet suites from @slowreads.