Noah Eli Gordon

And all the sky does is wait around for weather to consume it.
Although, one could argue that it’s simply an extension of itself,
that one form describes another in the sails of outrigger canoes
before a landward breeze blows them toward the Philippine coast.

If I stand still long enough, the painting will go on without me.
Forget the mechanics of rainfall; Plutarch said it was war caused
a cloudburst. I say the only thing in the air is an evolving suspicion
that the laws of the atmosphere have accumulated out of a desire

to turn judiciousness on top of its Draconian head, reclaiming
sound judgment from the silver gavel affixed to our internalized sense
of fanciful reasoning taken for fact. All Galileo does is build a thermometer
and immediately-you believe him. Trade winds and doldrums in the tropics.

Delicate mobility in the deer. I love the tiny molecules that make up matter,
the tinier atoms inside them. If I stand still long enough, someone will walk around me.

The Laughing Alphabet

This is my memory of the form of fox: that I was lost as in a boat with oiled gauges & oil lamps, veering, a vexed to-fro left by an impossible wake on the line of water rendered with a blue crayon & lacking depth. The fox crosses a threshold & establishes congruency. The edge of an environment & also an imaginary pain scale. The impulse below a choice that one has where an ideograph will embrace our animal other. So we are entered in the Guestbook of Boundaries, where the margins of a page & the pads of each paw, in appearance & atmosphere, void, like a white tourniquet, the stratum cast as a theoretical ax in the actual air.

The form of fox which wounds in moving from our roles lines of negation, unwritten words, an actor’s empty mouth & also the age of all trees. The spark that ignites the form of fox as ineffable: the shouting of timber & that of tallyho, the twisting of tarred yard into cordage. A crayon containing a house, seascape & an infinite edge of forest, where blue leaves & blue bark influence the translucence the house that I was lost in looking at takes on & also the water & the number three.

This is my memory of form as that which suffers light when information is passed from edge to outline, where fox procedure congeals in selective inspiration: the craft of fox & also the crafty fox. The intellect that will arrange a boat & intellectualism’s buoyancy. A fox intelligence placing us outside the frame, a master/student dynamic & the full use of the page marking one as intelligent. The number seven on a scale & also its opposite, anti-shadow, equation, Libra & libretto, a ballroom dance & the broken gait of a mare, flowering spikes, refuge from enemy fire, phosphorescence, the use of gloves subsequent to discoloration, the gauges & generators assumed to belong though absent from the surface, a formlessness taken on when the fox moves from the blue forest.

Pointillism Makes of Me an Outdoor Poem

To have a red thing unrestrained by red & having dreamt a wilderness its nonchalant equilibrium & being among the first to die an astronaut of burns sustained in the ground fire of ’67 & wholly aware of the Richter scale the advice of Polonius & the proliferation of the Mormons through much of Utah or conversely to cross the street with the almost perfected music of irregular waves upon which I am learning to make an instrument for recording variations of several bodily functions simultaneously & the makeup of several mechanized responses to stimuli & the plates which push against one another & bend downward & feeling the noticeable perspiration & the lies which pass routinely amongst coworkers & the law by which actions are carried over & the electoral bodies at the local level copying the cubic shape of rock salt & the nearly four thousand miles to the solid iron core & the embarrassment of mistaking a stranger for one’s confidant or the carcinogens which pass undetected between those who would argue for a more laissez faire approach & the applicable anecdotes which cast over a body the projected rise of fourteen to eighteen degrees making the earth’s surface incommensurate with human habitation & the history of aqueducts & the many forms of vegetation one might label as weeds & the gutted carcass of an unrecognizable car already overgrown with them & as it rains in the woods one must claim ownership or belief in an engine to work abandonment into an unresponsive starter an empty gas tank or the outline of what may be an oak tree & we traveling in packs on foot & powered by hot coals find between a warped pain of glass & the broken windshield the woods otherwise untarnished.

Noah Eli Gordon is the author of six books, three of which were published this year: Novel Pictorial Noise (Harper Perennial, 2007; selected by John Ashbery for the National Poetry Series), Figures for a Darkroom Voice (Tarpaulin Sky, 2007; in collaboration with poet Joshua Marie Wilkinson and artist Noah Saterstrom) and A Fiddle Pulled from the Throat of a Sparrow (New Issues, 2007). His reviews and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Boston Review, Review of Contemporary Fiction, Poetry Project Newsletter, and the book Burning Interiors: David Shapiro’s Poetry and Poetics. He continues to write a column on chapbooks for Rain Taxi: Review of Books and teaches at the University of Colorado at Denver.