Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Invocation of the Second Person by Jeff Carpenter

The Invocation of the Second Person: An Archæological Report

Middleman B knowing he would know the slow gouge into Great Lakes &c. whiles the Ice Age afoot. Signs of life archive H2O pentimento Middleman B’s glacial walks.

Like a riddle intermedia: here the telltale script of a sidewinder; here the gooney dance steps of a harrier robbing the scribe to elide his buxom cursive; here the discrete pulse of a biped; here a ghost; here a reader.

He can see the future through spates of cold & warm coordinate skin & hair & hands & teeth for shedding, once & future winters without snakes, brackish syntax meet parsed lifespan, handspan, attention span all of a sudden a dread of ¶ilcrows taking over, &c.

Middleman B has not seen another mammal in about ten thousand years: called him grandson & watched him suicide off new mountain in the jagged dusk; grandfathered him again; his Ice Age fraternized with Nextman Ago enough to second guess his own phylogeny.

His walking conveys fractal-seven shivers up the tumid length of Nova Scotia, to total in the tittle of Cape Breton as hungry as food his spit sediments the ocean. His drumming up a whole nother footfallen grammar sky to breathe its feathery compass.

Hawk mar snow still in cloud cast thermalling shadow to the surface of the sun. Thirsty circle mimic random walk. Word guilty of water & vice versa. Still still. Flock to an economy of prey.

Jealously, innocent, resolute, abides Middleman B’s dream of a whom nother. Much as he would like to be her, while her warmth in early poetry, she is so little compared to Middleman B (there she is cosy in his navel; he could put her to his eye like a soft contact lens), a better size for another, a not her.

Like the ice, Middleman B is receding, ablating, somedays just sublimating into air, water, dust, silt, &c. So is sense while understanding. So he is not sad or angry.

Language is a sleight of longevity. Your words will rue your words. Your words will squander you in enumerating Middleman B’s walk. There is the dream beside you, a not her, all over, a gain*. Why do you harry desire when its source is both with you & you.

You are here, like a riddle. Both here & on the far side of the world, refracted. Both of you. A shadow & its die.

* [Footnote missing.]

Jeff Carpenter lives and writes in Edmonton, Alberta. In addition to a growing number of juvenilia and ephemera, he is author of malachi on foot (Red Nettle Press, 2008); and, with glenN robsoN, as the sound poetry duo Tonguebath, he authored and performed Dun John & Dr Agon (Extra Virgin Press, 2010). He enjoys collaborating with poets, dancers, and musicians to create rich multimedia performances. “Invocation of the Second Person” is a random encounter from the “choose-your-own” type poem, booklung (unpublished), written with the financial support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Carpenter is acting Acting Director of the Alberta Research Group (ARG), an award-winning ”pataphysical think tank.


  1. Magnificent, Jeff! I love this piece for its language and its power! Great to see you recently, as well.

  2. Thanks very much, Sheila--so good to see, and to HEAR, you again!