Issue 6: Carla Harryman

'Cutting Corners' Sound file: For Drum and Voice

Cutting Corners

(a score)


must one be direct, sense without reason

tree branch thugs the wall of a house, teases

body with ten error units freezes, what thought parts

leaves batched in falling wind, wither a rigid field

the protagonist of this call had believed, a borrowed quarrel


is a distant relative of the abstract behavior, among branches’

punctuation is the domain of the fishing line. Therefore stir

the feelings for a native world, a false habitus and earthly ploys

cement the striking constellation. The sun is earth in bone’s frisson


intersections intersecting, interstices sowed low

sound science, a bellow in reverse, a not being present

a not being and posit, which the cut will require

triage, then a satisfying swallow between graphic details

the surround shared among you, me and the lazy fear


signals the small narrative, magnified beyond the scrape

reveals its parts, an obscene procedure folded toward a bare

duration, which the speaking body stills

from this point forward, one stalling reach and a hoop


you knew, right? This science is a vein extracted as a pulsing

metric,  fissures the name that names a point where we stood

without  food, disposed said the diminished

frame knowledge insisted, words came faster and hunger couldn’t hang

that hat,  was a fact on the hard fasting of sleeping codes


a missing performance still expected you had earned your

what? The body was unwilling to speak

at the accusation, and dumbfounded expectations covered

expenses, the betting fathers graveside bestiary


quilts purchased while animals’ bodies slaved with grace

they could not help but dignify, for the form was amenable

to modification, only nut-warn rings gave heaven a chance

to withdraw sense, and make note of nothing written

a tone given in the world, and not perceived without a veil


the corner formed by the eye, the code for proximity hidden in the open

lines of pressure, oil-flamed assemblies slather

careful observation, pressed upon torrential lightness

as symbols obliterate facts, but the early bird trespasses the grounds

for proper discernment, that power muffle abutted by crows


ducks give an alert, braving the leaf blower machines pollution

someone in situ, preparing the document in time, of time

“this is the decision,” but with what cause? Undiscussable

the ground given to cancellation, can’t rise above and see the misfit


detail or duty,  torn around the knees

the mix of particulars, local plus soldier rattles

the one protagonist story, the no protagonist lowered to the earthly

level, flies cover over deposits in a fury of mine-shrapnel, limb, and memory

in a singular wrecking, what’s left is not human or mastered


but taped to a document, far from the lavish

elsewhere, an imaginary thing the frozen monied enjoy

bucks lamely, salving injuries with news left ajar

on a mantle, unseen condemnation of the loose note


must one be direct, sense without reason

tree branch thugs the wall of a house, chastens

body with ten terror units freezes, what thought powers

leaves batched in falling wind, wither a rigid tone

the protagonist of that call had wrested, a borrowed quarrel

Carla Harryman’s most recent works include a collection of conceptual and experimental essays Adorno’s Noise (Essay Press, 2008), the book length poem Open Box (Belladonna, 2007), and a sequence of essays in The Grand Piano, a multi-authored serial work that locates its project in the San Francisco Bay Area writing scene between 1975-1980 (Mode D, 2006-2010). The Wide Road, a novella in poetry and prose co-authored with Lyn Hejinian, is forthcoming from Belladonna in 2011. She is co-editor of Lust for Life: On the Writings of Kathy Acker (Verso, 2006) and she is the special issue editor on “Non/Narrative” for the Journal of Narrative Theory (Eastern Michigan University, forthcoming, 2011). Recent performance works have emphasized polyvocal text, bilingualism, choral speaking voices, and music improvisation.