Ron Silliman – Sentence That Each Time You Read It C

Ron Silliman

Sentence That Each Time You Read It Changes

                                                                          From VOG

Dream in which I
dream in which I
dream I wake

in a forest
in a gale

barely visible
above the struggling
clattering branches
blotting out the sky

birds not
visible not
where do they go

before the start of rain
so humid
we can barely walk through
these vast but wild

gardens before we wake


The busboy’s cologne is thick as he reaches across the table, jasmine in the Earl Gray
suddenly clouded, the sound of ice as it tumbles from the pitcher into glass. Ibis or ibex,
which one? Gold fish strangle in tap water. The tab of your shirt peeking up over the
collar’s edge. Pawnshop saxophone window display. “Internal mosh pit,” writes Drew
Gardner. Sarcophogal hernia. Tennis sea.


Lower Manhattan sunset
as a quality of light
without glare, deepening
these shades of brick

Inside of the bodega
crowded, cluttered
gradually becoming visible
out on the street

Your smile as you lean
into me in that
low cut gown,
wanting me to look

This week it’s El Duque
but it could be anything
just so long as
we stay distracted

In dream San Francisco
stretched outward
from the true spine

Out toward a never
to be arrived at
sea – always it’s twilight
and this search feels twisted

Never understanding
precisely the object
pause instead
before the unlit storefront

To catch your reflection
uncertain at first
which one is you,
accusatory pronoun


L-shaped room. The sound of birds before light first become apparent, pale horizon,
within the oak forest. Last night’s orgasm a pleasant tug at the muscles of the groin. Able
to discern the dove’s call amid the chatter of the finches. The colorblind boy unable to
find the rainbow against the pale gray sky. Picking April’s newspaper from the lawn in
September. Sentences in search of a poem. Jurassic perk. The light barely shimmers off
the still pool in the saliva bed, the smallest sense of motion beneath the thick mass of
tongue overhead, long shadows cast by the wrecked enamel wall at lip’s edge, a dike, a
wedge of burnt chicken poised on the tines of a fork held there, as if unable to come
closer. Dweezle’s easel. The Pew, the proud. Rhythm of a young boy descending the
stairs, midway between running and tumbling, footfalls in my bedroom in my
grandparents’ house – it’s night but my mother calls to me to come into the hall – I can
glimpse my grandfather through the open door to his bedroom, which means he’s still
alive and this is a long time ago. Dialog box. Scheme for reducing decoherence in
quantum memory. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of fireflies amid the tall white oaks, the
dusk turning gray again. Gently, my fingers part the lips, pink within pink, until you start
moving. Twirling the paper cone about the rim of the large cotton candy machine bowl,
while above the tall oaks in the shimmering heat of the summer sky, a handful of
balloons, still tied together, becomes smaller and smaller, every color of the rainbow.
What did you write today? After the thunderstorm, the temperature drops ten degrees, the
humidity sucked from the air. The weight room almost empty on a Friday night. Dry
lightning illumines the forests, between flashes of which all that lingers in the suddenly
deeper dark is the twinkling of the June bugs.


with your back
up against
pillow-cushioned wall,
(the room bathed
in afternoon light),
legs raised high
the deeper
I might enter

It is the third time
we make love

that day


of you

standing over me
arms crossed, pulling

the shirt up
over your head

then stepping
one leg at a time

from your trousers

the night before


It panics you
to be hugged
in an enclosed place,
an embrace in the closet
while dressing
(I learn this
more slowly)


In the morning
the neighbors
washing their car
too noisily
just inches
from the bedroom window,
our attempt
at orgasms
in silence


under the right
shoulder blade
where you


Cum drips
from your lips
onto my stomach


Thickest, richest
head of
deep black hair
aflame now
with silver


The official
the spontaneous grin


Baby toe
of the right foot
with these years


the balls of
your feet
you claim
makes your scalp


Hilltop window
high over the wide
through which
only helicopter pilots
could watch


You relax
as I oil
and kiss these lips
nibbling, nuzzling
the inner thigh
flesh of all


In your sleep
at times I hear
the incessant
of your teeth


“It’s okay,”
you say,
“you can come
anytime you want”


Towers of Duplos cover the rug. Cushions understood as objects of war. The TV we never
use. Poodle, poodle, pumpkinoodle. A collection of Foxtrot left open on the floor, Post-its
marking the “good ones.” Actress employed to portray a mental patient in the music
video years later has become famous in her own right. The gymnasium of lies offers too
much light, too many mirrors. These two back teeth, between which, whenever I floss,
the most foul odor erupts. This fresh t-shirt, pulled over my head, with a slightly different
cut to its collar, clings as if to choke me. A faint but industrial tone to the air
conditioning. In the dream, my lip is swollen, disfigured – but when I wake, it’s fine, the
flesh smooth, nothing puffy, and when I start to write I remember an earlier piece of
writing, referring there to my lip as it really was swollen, 1966. The distance the
chocolate bar falls in the vending machine, once it has been chosen, cracks the chocolate
right by the lone almond. Ad banners across dreamscapes – what would they give to
achieve that? Never flowchart level two.

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