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Repass & Imwold – Nov.13

William Repass and Lorraine Imwold traded art and words. Lorraine shared this wood cut, “Aspen,” with William:

Lorraine_Imwold-AspenIn response, William wrote this poem:

550 Foot-Pounds Per Second:

a keyed-up glance––flash &
we think: rhythm of hooves & heart
pounding as nostrils flare
into wild vents; straining of the
sinews that dress a skeleton
for speed; sheet
of mane, wound up in the
horseman’s hand; the drift
of tail; reek of shit, nostalgia,
& lather––faster than a
split photograph, on powerful
limbs, like pistons, we can tame
& put to use; this beast, this load
bearer, also of beauty, with perfect
curvature of spine: such are
the thoughts we still saddle
with frames––but, in order

to properly fit
our ikon, we’ve cut
the stubborn head
off its body; as a utility,
the horse as mere horse is
dead: maladapted to endure
the wood panel––but still
more useful in death: as a form

perfectly adaptable to our new
ideas, a quantitative & economic
community of symbols: the engine
of a city bus is measured still
in units of horse
power & even if the mogul rides
a chromium-charger now, spurs switched
for a key, in moulded leather he conforms
to the horseman’s business-model, up
lifted from the herd, the ordinary

people, who still see the horse
stuck in traffic––quite dead,
flat on a steel panel, in the ad
selling condoms, plastered
on the side of a bus––& we think
of high walls, of entrypoints
unlocked & insinuated
by a symbol, charged
with gasoline or sperm––then go
on with the ordinary.

* * * * *

William shared this poem with Lorraine:

2 Books; 2 Moons

I. (for E––)
Sometimes when I’m alone, I feel the old
compulsion for a book––I want to crack
a spine open & nose my way inside.
My shelves heave with fascinating books
I haven’t read. Because nostalgia makes me
ache for my faded, kink-wrinkled copy
of Women in Love. I know these pages well

enough to turn straight to my favorite chapter.
Again I read of Birkin stooping, scooping
a stone up & casting it through the white
reflected moon––the arms of fire shot
in a cuttlefish of light, & palpitating
with yin&yang of dark&bright; the violent
pangs of a drawn-togetherness––& then,

remembering our walks-around––by light
of moon––the pond, like Birkin’s pond: our shoes
crunch on the gravel path that traces
the water’s flanks. A spider scuttles herself
in your hair. You (who hate eight-legged things)
promise to crush her between the bruised fists
of paradox––the subject we exhaust

like Lawrence, in his novel. Lawrence called
Platonic Dialogues a funny sort of
novel, & wrote his books as conversations
with himself, as fierce arguments between
dichotomies & opposites––without
a reconciliation. What are we
if not a novel, then, talking & walking?

Opposing poles of a magnet pulling at
each other’s minds, our single-thinking, almost
telepathic feedback-loop has made us
full & empty of ourselves, like one mind;
when I proclaim that “nothings look at nothing,
& call nothing something,” you look at me,
& we laugh in our absurd jade-laughter.

I think I might be Birkin––think you might
be Gerald when we wrestle with each other;
you with your close-cropped golden curls & mind
so Apolline; & me, luxuriant in
primordial pain & the sleek black lust
of a sprung jaguar, Dionysian; paired
like moon&water, you&I, despairing.

I think a pool of moonlight is a drug
that shows us mystical again, where we
inflated, inhaled, dissolved across the banks,
thrown from our heads inside a pungent haze––
& ate each other––ate ourselves disguised
as peaches, juice on the tongue, flesh-to-flesh
(we saved the pits as spiritless mementos).

II. (for C––)
Now, stretched-out next to you, I read The Rainbow,
& I scan the anapestic prose––not
because the Biblic moves me; but because
scudding rhythms remind me of what we share:
a thirst for language, a zest for prosody,
each other’s bodies––when we finish reading
& knit our limbs together in soft darkness.

I compose my marginalia as if
expecting you to read it (knowing you,
you’ll want to analyze how Ursula feels,
as her mistress, firm-bodied as Diana,
flings herself into the bath––if the pure
& genuine attraction of the moment
balances her ugly sense of shame.

I read aloud my favorite paragraph––
& realize you’re almost Ursula;
like a pillar of salt, sometimes, corrosive,
you melt me to a nothing, & crystallize
with potency: a colossus over me.
I’m jealous, jealous of your body: burnished,
& burning out my ego (like the peach).

But I am not Skrebensky, as you know;
I live to feel like a dark cavern hollowed
out in your close embrace, to hear my echo
bubbling up to the surface, on your lips.
Sometimes (inspired by the text) we pretend
that I’m the monument, a herm perhaps:
substantial in my rigid form, & fixed.

& the great white watcher fills you in;
moonlight compels the anapestic ebb
& flow of your blood. You turn your moon-face
back––half-veiled by spirals of night-black hair––
& watch the watcher. Then compose a poem:
translating phases into shells, & horns, & smiles;
as your pupils dilate into black oblivion.

You’re not a diamond, steel blade, or bullet;
our pillow-talk has made us yearn to know
what we cannot: each other’s carbon: how
to form a bond between that will not break
with time––as gradually, it must; we have
a lunar cycle left before we’re forced
to part––attend to each our separate selves

again. But in the interim, I look
to you to see myself reflected as
the moon reflects an image of the sun.
I’ll read The Rainbow to remind myself
of our connection, when we’re separated
out, & remember how you formed an arch
to let me through. & I an arch for you.

In response, Lorraine made this wood cut, “Hidden Not Gone”:

photo 2

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