Issue 7: Geoff Gilbert


Radio Voice,                and

things suggestive

to          young            imprint Agnes

using     young men.    Don’t be

like the typist, don’t

talk for your                gestures.

Let them talk, for

that                             gesture is younger,

don’t watch me, nor

that        kid, just stop it

and capture

what can happen

to all the illicit avoidance.

Don’t do it

or the kids will do it,

look at the window

and be legendary.         Please

avoid your        sista

fuckin you        husband:

blush and kiss and

lift your arms and                 don’t

gentle                sister,           don’t try

angel, little Laura.

Dull fuck love like love:

that’s how it works

and I escape.     Disciple

you bore           me, absorb

                         me       and my shame

will leave           you alone.

You will always

become             rivals or brothers

in your ear Agnes

peeled the invisible

someone barred the way

to the model,     dancer,

feeling dark.

Did you hint in my bath?

Today with your       glasses

and my tears and my dark

                                glasses have to blush. Stop

the door and build

into erotic mist.

Kundera       is          shit like this

though, and

                    that is   a metaphor,

his lens, stage, notion.

Talk of them

and those shite sun    glasses, Agnes

at her heels. The

smoking gun is neither

idol not rival nor dull.

And this is on the art

of the novel, number six-

ty eight.

                                   Cambridge, 6 May 2011, c.15:00-15:25

It’s win win Seneca

There is plenty of truth to go round.

The economy and bees betray their origins,

though honey is not what it was. An image

is a dead thing, a mask. But take bees

who gather to make a mask, and live

with traces, vibrant in their lives.

They are an absolute itch on my surface

though no anxiety is pure. I do not teach,

I give you: ‘an image is a dead thing’.

It sees you from the dark night,

sensual in my honey it is

carried off. Which face down

in my hands will words find?

All that is me is new, now testament

to that mask.


is not form, a beard of bees,

travel is not forward, some parade

of slaves makes you respect

this mask of words. I have buzz

now, and that voice. I am forgiven,

but remain beyond your rescue,

for an image is a dead thing,

and the voice is a mask of bees.

Ethics needs a metaphor:

I am forgiven but remain

beyond your rescue, wrecked

on distant shores before we launched

us off. Smash the vessel

on the same pointed topos,

icy and mostly below.

Nobody makes all face.

Nobody is all at sea. The wreck

is where we start from,

poised above the end in change

in which we drown. Your

luggage stops you as your wish forms

to swim away, and holds you there

in the beginning, hardly yet yourself.

Thus I promise part

of the animal, obscured

by the luggage which sits

between me and naked blush,

blanked like      a laden horse

                        a donkey

                        a mule.

For this was the work that was lost,

blanked like a donkey obscured

to a mule by its baggage, by weight

that is not work.

                                    Love old horses

whose flesh is thus, weighed to the

ground like literature, strained against

the wish of metaphor to have it fly.

Against the opinion of the world I raise

down my voice. I strike

the wreck of my face

down in my ocean hands,

buzzing for words in the water.

I have

a reef

in my baggage.

                        These words fold out

make men free and silent. Taking aim

at the crowd, I witness.

Thus impelled to wisdom,

you become my pupil,

a musical experience.

Receive my project through your empire,

making decisions. I learn your vowels,

for there is no shortage of truth,

only languages to make it rare.

I cannot feel desires I must resign

if I give me to you, Master.

Risk to the runner is risk on his muscles,

pop them in tension or make them grow. Risk

is empirical, and wise the thought

that comes to me tomorrow:

this is terror’s condition,

failing as a tutor, face flat

into hands, wrecked on the ocean.

Now I learn your vowels,

buzzing for words in the waves.

An image is a dead thing.

A mask made of bees.

A horse blanked to a donkey.

Blanked to a mule.

                                    16 May 2011, 09:00-11:00

Geoff Gilbert teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature, American University in Paris, where he also directs the MA in Cultural Translation. He is the author Before Modernism Was (Palgrave, 2004).