We are explorers of this that this
…………………………………………………………..eyes on high
descend to the page
or is it the land these portions sectioned into zones
an expanding previous to
mapping territories with curving lines, dots, sweeps.
Denude the script
………………………………………………………………………scribe for days
clouds begin to the North, dark with hillside rumbling.
A sandy color ground.
Five darkened squares that the place where before three of the
squares with lines leading away and around
Care full. Care full.
Not an easy bank
to hurdle, to pull up
and out. No twists
no barriers. This page is easy
to cross. This this
this these that those.
Arrow flows with water
separated from gray expanse
this shading on the page: color sandstone
layers of lignite
this vast country with xylotite
Village ruinated these
rives do laugh Brave!
or devoutly situated
That this town of
Palafox, as well as the rancho,
destroyed by the Indians
The land referred to,
not being necessary
to the understanding of the opinion,
Can you bathe in the space between thick shading lines segmented as if worms climb down the remains of fields or bandage criss-cross patterned bliss. In the space between care not to disturb the mass of dots in the river. These these indicate the shape of sandy islands and between them the softest of dotted lines extend. Descend from the narrowest side of the page to the open field on the East. For it is East we are mentioning, no? An arrow grows out of the compass rose. Some mention in the arrow of the Comanche. Some mention in the gloom of the clouds of violence. Some refusal to recognize the lonely straightness of lines. Timid dots, the lingering dark clouds the only remnant of the battle and the onslaught arriving from the same North.
Wander up onto the mesa,
scale the rounded dark.
All is lift and descent,
nodding, must the particular:
the camino traced on a terrain of arc and carriage
a cupboard of Mimosa, Quartz, Jazpe, Corn Stone, Chalcedony, &c.
The Comanche and Lipan
repeat the repeat
destroy the presidio, ancient
Map calm line, arc, sweeping down
a troubled corner
a deceptive moment
Page delimits the river’s flow.
Arrow float downstream
point down to begin.
Those tiny these boxes those.
*This image and poem are part of a larger book project published by Noemi Press in 2016: Ford Over. Ford Over is cut up and aggregate and mashup: made of language drawn from the multilingual chronicles of explorers who traveled through the land now known as the state of Texas. At the heart of the book is the mystery of the physical act of crossing a river; perhaps the person crossing is Juan Luis (Jean Louis) Berlandier, a Franco-Mexican botanist who traveled through Northern Mexico drawing maps, writing and collecting plants as part of the 1826 Comisión de los Limites. Or perhaps it is someone else. Perhaps it is you. Or me. Or them. Or us still trapped in the crossing of that same river.
The image is an original by Juan Luis Berlandier and Lino Sánchez y Tapia, reprinted with thanks to Yale University’s Beinecke Library Collection of Western Americana.
John Pluecker is a writer, interpreter, translator and co-founder of the language justice and literary experimentation collaborative Antena. His work is informed by experimental
Posted: April 7, 2016 at 10:54 pm