Aught, no. 13 (2004)
on a Broken Leg; or, Mediation Between a Bone
and a Missing Bone (Ahab, after the Carpenter carves him
a new leg)
debt in the turning lathe’s ledger—
I’ve a hewn leg more narrow (a
marrow-profit) in mind
stand on the jawbone of the jaw
That bit me from my own.
signed me off on my severed nerve
‘s electric command: turn-to, strike top-sail, strike—.
pain-whetted mind (strike—to the Season-on-the-Line),
The pain-whetted, pulse-forged, blood-bladed mind—
to you Due
I am, I owe, I feel
An air-flesh grown unseen
On this too-much-seen bone
as if I were
I wear a bruised heel on a foot
That has no heel to bruise.
further on: cursed . . . mortal
Which will not do away with ledgers
know who I owe and who
Owe me: You:
Whale: a Sum Unknown.
Exists the sun
Cannot know: belly-deep:
tendon my thought to the Shoreless—
Wave-ridden: at depths, I am
Not-known. To myself
whisper the white whale’s name.
I square my jib into the gale, sail
Where the wind unleashed would not allow me.
When lightning struck the mast
the mast was fire-blessed to me—
a storm-lit, magnet-flame, lit on the blood-forged lance
I took the lance to lip
The God-flame out. God-like. God-like—
know the angle of flame
At breath’s bidding. I know the angle
Of the sail in wind.
bide on me source is source
Of breath inspire and no other
No other lifts this hand my hand
Into the wind I palm my sail
Myself and strike the God who strikes
is a Captain?
“What is a Captain, Captain?”
who fills the White
Ledger with Red Ink.
me how much costs
A Whaling Profit? Ask me—
“Faith, sir, I’ve———.”
“Faith? What’s that?”
“Why, faith, sir, it’s only a sort of exclamation-like—.”
me to compare:
Within the sun upon the sea
a darkling self
Who is more me than me.
I feelest tingling life; there, exactly there, there . . . do I.
In the ghost-limb, jawbone, a
in the jawbone, unutterable—
Is’t a riddle? the sun?
sum? Light begins in
A single point, a star.
And then a star expands into
A planet, my hand gestures an orbit
it dwindle—if it drowns
Let it drown
In the ocean a lamp the sun.
Strike the sun. It insults me.
Head of the Whale (an epistemology, a psychology, an
a flame, tooth, bone, a theology of the blind, a murder, a deaf ear )
thought in the brain-cask
But flame’s account: 500 gallons
those sparks that in the ocean spilled
Off the lance-lip and drowned.
profit cut from out the head
Of the whale—beneath the bone-mass
liquid thought that is not flame
But flame-promised: light, a medicinal
to coax ink to be darkness
Leaping (nightly leaping) from pages bright.
of: the unthought
Thought. Spermacetti: perfectly . . .
. . . honeycomb of oil, formed by the crossing and re-crossing, into ten thousand infiltrated cells, of tough elastic white fibres throughout its whole extent
. . fluid,
Fluid-thought locked within the
. . . plaited forehead . . .
thought locked within the
. . . innumerable strange devices for the emblematic . . .
. . . adornment of his wondrous tun.
but a prophet can speak
Behind the hieroglyph
Of the whale’s electric mind
From all into all, or—
Unsparked, calms. A
A brain waiting to light the match by thinking
The match lit.
No profit spoke from the mouth
the whale. Lower-jaw with lance-head
Cut-off. No profit
white-membraned whale-mouth, no
Profit in that papered-mouth
the tooth pulled. Ivory.
Sailor’s etch their dark stories
whale-tooth. Skrimshander. Dark
Story with their eyes they lived.
They can make a toothpick of a tooth.
head, unfolded. Uses thereof.
1. Brain-cask, to-be-flame. (A profit)
2. Papered-mouth, tooth-to-be-carved.
3. Eyes, ears (A physiology). Note
Two eyes small as foal’s
Eyes on opposite sides of the head.
forward vision is lacking.
When the God-spark strikes
white whale knows to swim furious
Nightwards, starless, blind. Stave boat.
lance, bite. Murder the unseen
Man. Between eyes a flaming
waits a match
That could not light the eyes if lit. Mustn’t
blind-thought remain blind? ink
Unspoiled by the page? keep the book
The ears of the whale are (Dumb
God) small enough to plug with a quill-pen.
of the Whale; or, An Epidermal Inquiry (an analytic glance, moving from
the deepest depth of skin to the shallowest)
By knife’s honed tongue—
By fluent edge is:
dumb-speech is: a
Tongue licking the page to read
The page is:
speech at all. Unsilence
the blubber-profit on the whale again,
unboil that 100-barrelled profit,
unspark that flame
Back to light not yet cast out. We’ve a page
The question is, what and where is the skin of the whale?
An innermost layer (of skin) cannot be
until blade strikes
Solid as bone. Subject: skin, a depth unknown:
A substance oil-filled but not oil
Until touched flame cannot be flame.
2) A surface
with innumerable crosses
And recrosses of straight lines—
A surface engraved, mystic-marked skin—a
First page to read
on a volume
Opened, but of
in language that is
no language we know. 3) Surface-of-
a transparent Skin-of-Skin: a
A finger’s strength removes, that
On the leaf of a book I use as bookmark
put you on a word
and the word darkens-out
the ink (I’m thinking) grows. A word grows
Larger a word—through whale-skin—more seen.
Copyright © 2004, by the author.
All rights reserved.
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