Blackbox Manifold

Issue 12: Dan Encarnacion

“whirl of particles, the other,”

- Paul Celan, “Engführung”, trans. by Michael Hamburger as “The Straitening”

youth          shadowed          lobby                                                eyes          turned

sauntering                                    this scant distance                                  less than

twenty years                                                 features          blurred by          growth

marked by                    hard                              neatness                             shaking

into              paper              colorless and              cold                                     knot

of his          tie                                        rested there                            returned his

attention                              from the side of his mouth                              natured

carelessness                                                                     you’ll have to talk to me before

you’re through                                           his voice                                 bespectacled

thin-legged                              a long pale cloud                               a short guttural

verb                            shook hands                           jerked                         bulging

their clothes                    examined                             a schoolboy                    beat

it                              watched him                                    wiped his damp forehead


(an erasure poem composed from a section of chapter 10 of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon)


. . . feeling the potential interchangeability

- Robert Glück, Jack The Modernist

They arrived in a roomful of people who spent their lives in rooms.

. . . , motley encounters, for total solitude was what he feared most.

Boredom is a pleasing antidote to fear.

rising into liquid flutter, current pulling

I could hear wind wheel outside the windows and slam into the cabin walls like


Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

Everything is already dancing.

There is just as much rapture to be had in making a cocoon as in emerging from it.

Circle your torso in a wave.  How does this wave feel in your feet?

∙    ∙    ∙

My footprints found places

The marionette would never slip into affectation.

. . . that caution in which all strength is wrapped, that noiselessness . . .

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

The insect is dancing on a thin sheet of paper.

She doesn't know life is short / And you've got to dance!

Trust in God, He won't let anything disappear.

With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he too was a mere

              appearance, dreamt by another.

. . . ghosts, pockets, traces, necessary clouds:  subversion must provide its own


∙    ∙    ∙

It was like a handful of autumn.  He felt huge and wrong.

Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.

Isn't there, in every one of us, a naked man marching alone down Main Street

              playing a bass drum?

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

Their pleasure was pure because it was so restrained.

What kind of vacuum are you filling?

. . . legs that have been domesticated by floors

. . . only the motiveless tireless transactions of depersonalized organs.

The demon of amorous adventure began to stir within me.

∙    ∙    ∙

He had to look up at the bulging dragon.

I squirted them with kisses.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

To that wound!

There's devils in his jizm.

We are rubbing our faces in it like it was a soft towel and we was wet

The nose as the limit of the world.

Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.

Only touch and smell are of any use.

∙    ∙    ∙

It is, before all, to make you see!

His hands clean, smelling of soap and cigarettes.

. . . to shed the things that are daily and social, to return to the original body.

Those who had lost their shadows on the concrete.

See yourself.  Then see another self.

This . . . selective illumination that's necessary to paint . . .

"What makes the desert beautiful," said The Little Prince, "is that somewhere it

              hides a well . . ."

A fountain whose limpidness is free of any thought other than the physical

              movement of the voice.

Are the deer gods on my side?

∙    ∙    ∙

Surrealism is a bourgeois disaffection.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

A short burst of steam, the mailbox slot hot as his asshole,

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

To that wound!

. . . the grand indifference of the stars.

There's devils in his jizm.

Maybe rabbits enjoy the hunt, too.

Rabbits knew not of their falling, / Nor did the forest catch a flame.

∙    ∙    ∙

You don't want to sentence children to old age . . .

When you know you know nothing at all / you are a stone that has stopped falling.

. . . , since the cry ends at the point when one energetically blows one's nose.

To that wound!

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

"Guns never settle anything," I said.  "They are just a fast curtain to a bad second


One doesn't try to resurrect bodies with an eraser.

Even a dead fish floats to the surface.

Only touch and smell are of any use.

∙    ∙    ∙

The nose as the limit of the world.

. . . , since the cry ends at the point when one energetically blows one's nose.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM. 6

He built a vulture so as not to leave a mess.

may you sleep on the breast of your delicate friend,

Heat.  Perhaps we are all small suns.

. . . a medal would make him hunchbacked.

Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM.

To that wound!


Composed of material from the following sources:

William Gaddis, The Recognitions; Vladimir Nabokov, “Wingstroke”; Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca; Charles F. Theilman, “Hawk Cry Wedding City Jazz”; Charles Johnson, Oxherding Tale; Vachel Lindsay, “The Congo:  A Study of the Negro Race”; Atsushi Takenouchi, butoh dancer; Lyn Hejinian, “Circus”; Yoshioka Yumiko, Hanging Body (Water Bag); Mike Aspros, “Hiker’s Prayer”; Heinrich von Kleist, “On The Marionette”; Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to Clara Rilke Sept. 27 1902; Hijikata Tasumi, buto-fu: You Live Because Insects Eat You; Beni Montresor, libretto for Philip Glass’ The Witches of Venice; Roberto Bolano, 2666; Jorge Luis Borges, “The Circular Ruins”; Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text; Anne Carson, The Autobiography of Red; Pina Bausch, in the Wim Wender film Pina; Angela Carter, “A Souvenir of Japan”; Haruki Murakami, 1Q84; Tatsumi Hijikata, butoh dancer; Susan Sontag, “The Pornographic Imagination”; Yasutaka Tsutsui, “Commuter Army”; Edward Lewis Wallant, The Tenants of Moonbloom; Aaron Shurin, “Humane Immune”; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Unconsoled; Christopher Moore, Fool; Frank Stafford, The Battlefield Where The Moon Says I Love You; Julio Cortazar, Hopscotch; Kobo Abe, The Box Man; Joseph Conrad, introduction to The Nigger of The Narcissus; Kim Addonizio, “Summer in the City”; Natsu Nakajima, butoh dancer; Gerald Vizenor, The Trickster of Liberty; Harada Nobuo, Become A Wave; Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince; Jean Genet, Funeral Rites; Yannick Murphy, The Call; Susan Sontag, “Melancholy Objects”; Kevin Killian, “The Door Into Darkness”; Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet; Jean Toomer, “Nullo” from Cane; Carlos Fuentes, Vlad; Peter Klappert, “Le Bon Zigue, Quand Meme”, The Idiot Princess of the Last Dynasty; Julio Cortazar, “Instructions on How to Cry”, Cronopios and Famas; Raymond Chandler, Playback; Ben Ehrenreich, Ether; Sappho fragment #126, translated by Anne Carson; Lyn Hejinian, “Saga”; Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer.

Dan Encarnacion earned an MFA in Writing at the California College of Arts and lives in Portland, Oregon where he co-curates the Verse In Person poetry series.  The bleak of Bela Tarr, the spare of Supersilent, and the spike of quad-lattes will palpitate his palpus.  Dan has recently been published in Eleven Eleven, Upstairs at Duroc, Atlas Review, and forthcoming in Assaracus, Crab Creek Review, Whiskey Island and and/or.   He was the featured artist for Reconnaissance Magazine’s 2013 issue. His poem “Aposiopesis” was nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.