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Economy of the Untamable

June 19, 2009


I know the road
hangs by a thread

swiftly moss, sudden trees

pieces of sound
come like fish when called

say rain, say spiral
eyes murmur
so it is

breath can’t be simple, can it
everydayness of afternoon

breath can’t find
can’t be simple, can it

roots on a slant
get used to loneliness

salt, hemispheres, glass
break into sky

taste extends
as avalanche
quiet network of hieroglyphs


Night seasons
I speak a streaming wind

thrash, throw myself at corners
far off, hidden, lurking

under this lid of cloth, this flap of lawn

how hard to say
only what’s inside

every step sinks
myriad bees

widen my mouth
do you hear me

awake at the bottom of the glass


Why do I
speak hard things

days consume
let the sea

why do I
almost dwell in silence
speak hard things

easy isn’t simple

without the sea
noise melts into hills


Any minute
is there then a world
night speck
what distracts me
is there then
a world
are these grains or dust
a world
how far can I fling
myself from sleep
how far
any minute
myself from sleep
effort coils
without face
without road
neither grain nor dust
any minute
a world


Underwater thickens sky

let me lie here
alphabetize myself

whatever you do, please, don’t come and go
whatever you do, please

thoughts ridge

what if part of me all of me
into matchbooks

underwater thickens
part of me all of me

can’t stay like this

here the absence
here the drums

by Jane Rice

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  1. June 20, 2009 at 7:17 am

    I love the way this poem feels, reading;for me, the syntactic repetitions and lyricism create an obsessive tension between the domestic and the undomesticated.

    Beautiful, thank you.

  2. Jane Rice
    June 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Jessamyn.

  3. Vivian Margulies
    June 23, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    A beautiful poem. Tender. The solitariness of human beings as opposed to the grandeur of nature. “Alphabetize myself” – create oneself as God created the world with the letters according to Kabalah.

  4. September 14, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Saw someone reading this on a BART train this evening. Beautiful poem, I especially like the title — it’s what stuck in my mind and caused me to looked it up once I got home.

  1. November 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm
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