THREE POEMS by David Wolach

Zbigniew Herbert’s Minotaur at the Indoor Pool, 2.0

Dear Seeming,

Like like, bone comparisons
Look me up and down in this

Wet holding pattern

In Krakow
In Detroit
In Warsaw
In Oak Park

He didn’t understand a thing

Do you dangle your feet
Only man with large nipples

Because you cannot swim
Because of NASDAQ undertow

Because earth may overtilt and
The unexpected

Is an ecological
Disaster, full wetness

Without witness your

Alliteration the

You wish to unlearn in a place.

And other things.
Like, your lovehandles

Like, do they inspire your
Almost certain

Alertness to infomercials
Or like, your big vehicle in the lot

Is it tonight subprime for us.

Sub merged the financial times and
The new york times

A USA today,
Mother was a sleeper in a bed through a small

Square window
And the tubes made her chest go

Up and down, spectral rhythm
Said a man

Who looked
Nothing like you.

Like, are you listening to these vessels
Expand, contract

Do you speak vessel, do you

Fiberoptic snapping
In a lighted pool,

Your footspots are
Drying riverbeds

For newborn bacteria

You create things,
Walking away like that.

Deduce me, I deduce you.

Our future luncheons are inextricably tied
Our plastic floats in the same little oceans

Our likes woke Descartes briefly
From his motor bed

He heard your keycard. Coming or
Going was the question and

Induction dreams
Of two black swans

To make more
Black swans.

Meantime, Linear Tablet A
Was deciphered.

Into which countless dreams were carved
Your name nor mine was there.

But I can taste latex days after,
My other place just up the highway

And Theseus.

Were he to swim up this river,
Like, I am sure

Were you still with me
We would laugh like idiots.


For Drill
(song for two flossing mouths)

Take up to 4
Halliburton a day

As kneaded for

I’m talking about

Our ooze-own


Able lightigation?)

I’m talking about

Rocket re–
Covery, housing

Aluminum side–


I’m talking about

Turn to
Chapter 11

Slow haven’t filed since
Last year)

They’ve got my number

(It’s 360.786.0594)

Dry yr eyes o bumpy
Day on Wall Street,
I’m Sicker than
Yr merger

I’m talking about the bill

I’m talking about footing the bill

I’m talking about your foot, my bill

Sunnier days per head (sing along)

3 down
I to go

Male’s in the mail
Paid for By

This body politik this double
Helix language,


As imprinted gene—i.e.





(1 down
none to go? )

I’m talking about
Causal spouses and

Oil’s rigged
Rigs with hats on, on caps off

Cape’s on?

“The ocean’s a funny color”

And a rental home later…
(And a lateness later)…
And a happy ending later…
And a later un-ending lateness, un-happily…

(Fizzled! Jazzed! Jacked! Jizzed!)

I see me

In the form of
For the price of
At the Time of


National just use yr

Card carrying

Member of

Less than

“Blue’s so
Out this

Year,” knot
To be Labor
The Point
Less disband

(Stern’s rapture!)

Yes We, Canned!

Substrate of
“1,500 feet down?”

Non-union dives-It’s-OK
To SAVE the Earth—


(A red arrow) Points to futures at

Zero-degree ad–




I admit, there is
Beautiful about
The Gulf Oil

Time’s arrow
Has always been
A streaming video
Lying in wait—

Mon: masturbated
To reified image of
Choked off,
Quiet orgasm
250 gallons
Later, spent

Thurs: watched
For 400 gallons
As conceptual poetry
Project, wrote
Some until bored,
Asphyxiation comes
In waves or
Bleeds in,
I slide over

Sat: went to reading
Out here where Slick
Can’t get me, good
House music & 2
Well-trained lyricists
Admitted same over
The course of approx.
1,500 gallons

Somebody said you
Smoke to imitate
Stalemate: btw breath /
Undertow, oil / water,
Life / remedy. But
The way it billows
Like a housefire, or
As if Detroit
Had been
To the sea



Beyond (or in addition to) the poem itself, how might we, as loosely but less loosely than last week, use, i.e., further activate, our affective labors in regard to this catastrophe? In the form of resistance that isn’t duplicative of, say, the essential activist work many of us are already engaged in? Poets for Living Waters is one instance, among very few, it seems to me, that brings “poetry” and “politics” together such that the terms are infected by one another, torqued, in and thru a collective/collaborative effort. How might we act on the wounds this catastrophe has imprinted on us such that the terms of woundedness themselves are re-articulated, outsourced as affective labors acting in concert with other labors? Move (maybe continue to move?) from Poets for Living Waters to People for Living Waters, hooking up (as the editors have begun to do) systematically with people/organizations from other disciplines, backgrounds, identifications. The poems here, even in terms of the volume of work, help to re-articulate (or even articulate) these terms, imbue ecological crisis with truly ecological implications (it isn’t just the fish and fisheries that are going to suffer–not that this isn’t enough to act). But from this substantial poetic collaboration to what?


David Wolach is founding editor of Wheelhouse Magazine & Press, a former union organizer, and participant in Nonsite Collective. His book, Occultations, has just been released by Black Radish Books. Other recent books are Prefab Eulogies Volume 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox [books], 2010), Hospitalogy (Scantily Clad Press, forth.), and book alter(ed) (Ungovernable Press, 2009). Critical work on the poetics of spatial practice is forthcoming from Jacket and Sibila: Poesia y Cultura (Brazil) and poetry can or will be found in Aufgabe, Ekleksographia, 5_Trope, Little Red Leaves, Dusie, and No Tell Motel. Wolach is professor of text arts, poetics, and aesthetics at The Evergreen State College, and visiting professor in Bard College’s Workshop In Language & Thinking. Visit him at

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