From "The Block"

by Dan Machlin

“In the flatness that results from its coordinates, the grid is the means of crowding out the dimensions of the real and replacing them with the lateral spread of a single surface.”
—Rosalind Krauss, “Grids”
 

9:43 pm
Latitude: 40° 44' 49.8336''
Longitude: -73° 59' 57.2208''

this was only the process that exposes the evening that
your intention jots itself down onto a specific location
a piece of tape this going into overdrive the subway
where we expect the evening to expand and where the
expectation categorizes the push—

it is an incredible awkwardness that
threads itself over the olfactory—where
the heart coordinates and pushes—where awkwardness
can expand itself—where the reading takes place
right here right now—I

am often categorizing it
getting through to something—not
what I am supposed to write but what I am actually
writing—ends of the island glass cannot protect you
from it—where the wild things were not able to speak
for what it was—what you became and what the pro-
posal domesticated

 

9:37 am
Latitude: 40° 44' 46.554''
Longitude: -73° 59' 58.6494''

Avoid him and go to the other side of the street

Avoids me and goes to the other side of the street

See him crossing the street and head to the other side

Sees me from the other side of the street

Look at him I see him half a block away and decide to
change directions

Sees me from the other side of the street and crosses

See him crossing the street and stall for a moment
then decide mid-block to cross the street

See him in the back courtyard try to determine which
direction he is going and then pick up speed perpen-
dicular to him to head back into the main entrance

 

11:07 am
Latitude: 40° 44' 42.7236''
Longitude: -74° 0' 1.4328''

the rectangle the square and the body
outline of the self
self becoming outline
one must outline the self to define inside us
where the boundary is where
air or traffic flows around us
where people walk
where blood traverses veins
the membrane which is sidewalk skin
how far you carry this allegory
of the body as space—a
living urban cell the cell as
living unit within the body
useful as it is useless
each rectangle never exact
despite the city planners’ dreams

 

11:29 pm
Latitude: 40° 44' 46.0284''
Longitude: -73° 59' 47.1298''

this intense little stream
between accidents
we go out
and the tree sways, feet going, a car door
shuts
because no parking 8am to 6pm
cell phone hand is cold (one
not inside pocket)
stray pieces of paper
used cigarette, darning needle
random stains on the cement
a certain hesitation
pulling forward but resisting
periodic flicker
of inexact thoughts
streetlamps that mark our pace
and occasional stars, iron gates, people
constant awareness of where you are in relationship to
the river

 

Dan Machlin is currently completing “The Block,” a book-length poetic work he began during a 2012–13 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Writing Residency. His previous books include Dear Body: (Ugly Duckling Presse), This Side Facing You (Heart Hammer Press), and In Rem (@ Press). He is the Founder and Executive Editor of Futurepoem Books.

Tags:
Global Positioning System
Chronicle
Excerpt
BOMB 129
Fall 2014
The cover of BOMB 129
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