Paul Legault's "In The Zone"
IN THE ZONE
Finally, you're tired of being tired
just because the world is.
LITTLE SHEEP: We are little bridges
that are sheep.
THE EIFFEL TOWER: Virgil died.
Homer did that too.
RELIGION: I'm open to things
like Papa Pie X.
INDUSTRIAL ROAD: Come and get it.
The windows are looking at you.
Noise is a nameless bird
that is a parakeet and noon.
BABY: Mom made me be a baby.
RENÉ DALIZE: Me and the baby stayed up inappropriately
late and adorable in the profundity of our amethysts.
THE FLAMBOYANT GLORY OF CHRIST: I'm a pretty li'l lily
and a redhead
(in that my hair is on fire).
My mother is sad. The star has six branches.
I hold the world record for getting up there past the aviators.
It's that I'm god is why.
THE 20TH CENTURY: Eat your heart out, Amelia Earhart.
I'm a bird that's also an eye.
EYEBIRD: If it lifts,
it's a lifter.
THE ORIGINAL AIRPLANE: Me, Icarus, Enoch, and
Apollonius (from Tyana) are hanging out
like priestesses in an owl-swarm.
THE FLYING MACHINE: Put enough birds in it.
Get one of each of them
and the first skull of the first human machine.
A phoenix and a peacock and a dove and a flamingo
and a crow fly into a bar.
I walk out alone into Paris.
DARK MUSEUM: Look closely.
NOTRE DAME: Someone put some blood in it.
WHAT YOU CAN'T STOP SEEING: I can't sleep either, but
hover just above your face.
Let's get on a boat with our friends from everywhere,
despite the giant squids,
and hunt the imaginary fish.
SOMEWHERE NEAR PRAGUE: It's nice to not write novels
and to think about what roses would do
if you were a rosebug in the rose.
LAZARUS: I like the ghetto where the clocks move backwards
and the drunks sing.
A MILLION WATERMELONS: Marseille is nice,
because it has a million watermelons.
YOU: This hotel is for giants.
Bad taste makes things pretty.
I like Latin Cubicula locanda
and that I've visited Gouda.
THE JUDGE: Sadness is terrible,
since it's what happiness is.
LOVE: I hate twenty-somethings.
HANDS: Do not mention the hands.
like a fool
Sometimes we mentioned the hands.
ANY MOMENT: The sad things frighten you.
ANY OTHER MOMENT: There's a child at the train station
and gold in Argentina.
DIVE BAR: I've seen you in me and in a café.
NIGHT: I'm in my large restaurant tonight.
like someone named Ferdine.
They say that creatures are poor.
EVIL: I'm just a little over it.
THE UGLIEST: I'm from New Jersey.
GOD-FETISH: Let's do some shots.
The morning's about to happen.
Sun + Decapitation =
ON "IN THE ZONE"
What rises up from the literal is the dual crosses an airplane and Jesus make, and the sun over the horizon like a head from its guillotine—as this is a poem of revolution. But I don't know what that adds up to. Thus: "Sun + Decapitation = ," instead of "Soleil cou coupé," instead of "Sun cut throated," instead of "Sun slit throat," instead of "Sun a severed head," instead of...
It's pure folly to approach Apollinaire thinking to be the first to do that. Then at least "In the Zone" is 'pure' in its errors. I can do no harm to him, and mean none by this—or mean only the same harm the original meant to inflict on "this ancient world."
Paul Legault is the author of three books of poetry: The Madeleine Poems (Omnidawn, 2010), The Other Poems (Fence, 2011), and The Emily Dickinson Reader (McSweeney's, forthcoming). He co-edits the translation press Telephone Books.
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Poem reprinted with the permission of the author. All rights Reserved.