Bruce Beasley

Elliptic Apologia and Ars Poetica
(cover of George Herbert's
"The Forerunners")

Body's thud
on the hood, in the sun- and fog-glare,
where the light's green, or red, or stuck
throbbing both at once, who
can tell:

scuff over scraped-ice
streaks of the visible, torso's
crash and drub across the breath-
filmed windshield)

And how can I tell you

what happened to that hit
body, now the circle's
punctured with erasures,
ellipses coiling around a hollow core
            .      .
      .                  .
        .              .

—The gnarus, the knowing, in every narrative, gnawed
down, into gristle,
marrow, and shard:

the poetics, the supplicative
apologia for the
punctation, the rending-away of sense:

                      —The tell, the slant-
                      ways saying, through
                      elision, through
                      backslash (\) and gash, Make It

From oblique angles, the occluded view
deepens in its distortion, subject
always closer than it appears (close
as my inner eyelids'
layers of tear-
tissue), object
disappearing at will (slam
the car door and scan the street,
dogwalker, bus's brake-grind, exhaust-gasp,
no body under the wheels, no body in the gutter)
subject and object (striker
and struck) indis-
crete, willed-
to-blur, and therefore

woebegone, and gone:

Or who am I con-
vincing, who even
talking to:
the Reader who writes
"You need to write a glossary
so people'll be able to tell
what the hell
you're talking about, man . . ."

Beyond the Dip-of Bell-

Review: Modernity's
victory over faith
goes unacknowledged in Beasley's poems—

            Sweet phrases, lovely metaphors
            Will ye leave me thus?
            Wilt thou leave the Church, and love a stie?

because discreet ≠ discrete
Displaying a judicious reserve
Made up of unconnected distinct parts

Because inside every word is the unconnected, the reserved, the dis-tinct, the

pointillist canvas

Buber: Everything
broken points to the unbroken

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Because ellipsis means
to leave in, not
like eclipse, ek leipein, to leave


Because the elliptic's
an in-
visible leaving-in

(cones overlapping cones)
in the gashed-out

Holy trace

victory over representation, over the illusion
of the Real
           —over the epiphanic's
shrunk apocalypses—it's now, it's now, it's now
me forward in the last line, rapture me
out, and

(Honey of roses, whither wilt thou flie)

It used
to seem so easy:
image leap image leap image leap and I

coming to give you some thing I've come to know

coming to compel you to feel something I've figured
out how to feel
body's thud in the fog-
and frost-flash)

What residual
longing to "work": that workshop
Oooooh, nice image, that
, that
culture of earned praise, you

caught it, I know just what you mean, you got just the right words, I feel that way too,

that language of hunt and capture, stalking
the image (hips'
crash on windshield), the happening
trailing its Meaning like an ungainly tail,

and the language: zoo-keeper's
stun-gun, and the drugged
beast dragged behind bars

(a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no world)

               What fearful symmetry

.                           . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Farewell sweet phrases, lovely metaphors

spangled victory
over Faith, what
so proudly we hailed,
and the red

Spiritual, quiet, careful
Divines the ancient mysteries/reinvigorates
the religious imagination
Linguistically crystallized/spiritual and familial Armageddons

               You're just an intellectual snob

The soul's deformity/and its beauty

               You poets are all just writing for yourselves nobody else can understand
               a thing you say

Beauty must be difficult?
               I hope just once before I die you'll write a poem I know how to read

—Opening aperture gap slit
a way of shrinking and refracting the light
so the refocused
converges on the axis of symmetry

Can the circle
be unbroken, the crystal
be languified,
cumference, thou Bride of Awe

. . . Points
to the unbroken . . .

And the medicine bottle
soothes, Take

u     i
 i   e
u   i

Hermetic, -ally
sealed, it has to be, Hermes
being both messenger, and thief,
deliverer, and taker-
crunch and scramble over wiper blade)

Elleiptikos, defective
Elleipein, to fall short

Ellipse: conic sections,
loci of points,
circles inside circles, Dante's
inward-coiling hell.

from me what I don't know
I know, take
what condenses off lip and tongue, what's
sealed inside the eyelids' wet,
the brain's
convolving fat,

and give them
somneloquence, give them
tremolo (stuck
and punctured), give them
garble, give them

hum . . .

Take, and take
until dis-

Lovely enchanting language, wither
away (wilt

wither, and Fly . . .

EPR #5:


© 2003 Electronic Poetry Review