Sung-san Hong
from A Phase of Asia

neither sense nor censor
sequence of gutturals renouncing nouns


the thing about things   they’re so there
names don’t stand a chance
the spider tunes its thread    spins its song in our mouths
you have eyes but do not ear
you have see but do not hear

instruments of torture set on a table like stage props
enter human hands


the understudy    twice removed
the repeated resemblance to persons living or dead

she doesn’t speak for some time
then she says nothing
pay attention
behind the mask lie layers of asking
the hand’s gesture-image
still shimmering in space    as trace/trance
motes of dust in menacing formation
fighting for air time


please de-scribe yourself in one word or less
glottis gutted    polyglut
the right to remain silent by a margin of majority

this is just a phrase not a phase
sign here    and here    and here
fractured factions of fact

the chair says    who has the floor
please show him the door


it’s time you crawled out of your ear
and tell me the story that ends
the way it begins    ends then begins
whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be

now null me to sleep

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