One Poem by Ian Dreiblatt

Vladimir Luppian Bomb 1

Vladimir Luppian. Revolution as a Stage of Evolution, 1924–1961, oil on canvas.

cant will

and to the republic
cartwheel grimace
skitting filmily across
a sea of culpabilities
the boy is witched
language goes out
of his mouth like a
firm red egg

the night tussles
with a skeletal
grammar emerging
from the town
in flashes people just
go missing
we don’t really talk
about it

even as our tongues
thin to water
and run into the canals
that power the city
on dislodgings of speech

drink lexicon to
darkness if not too sharp
too shaken the house
on stilts & the endless
reds of the ravine

they are a problem, of course,
the disappearances,
but they have somehow been
banished from the
sweating mouth of civic life
they are a corner of speech
that has been asked
not to hear itself

a peal of vowels
finds the sky
rooms a machinery
difference engine
torques the whole idea
of a republic of a
thing of a people

the woman speaking
outside the house is
speaking a kind of 
difference engine
torques the public
moment of speaking
forgotten face of the
thing spoken irredeemable
as if it were smashed

she is describing
the disappearances
as a theft of the
language from the
throat of a child the
torpid summer air

the polis shifts in its seat
as you try and shut
your eyes the hours
endless recitation days
a slough of scaly skin

hunger is not an emotion

the worst part is
we don’t even make
a life inside this stolen
speech flags fall 
paradigms tear
their thin membranes
on wet branches
a hole in what we’ve
learned to say

reality immaculate carries
grammar in ribbons down
the asphalt wherever this
happens we have no country
no bell gathering all the
town’s dreams into the
cycles of its reverberation

this is no country then
just a baby in a temple
knocking everything over
a language so simple
it burns others for fuel

I was a snowdrift the
tracks of ancient
wheels still visible
undressing shyly the
low light the low
give me back my face

below difference below
whatever the state
of being gone can tell
us we’re left with a
language that aches
for endless merger
that gathers against
hills brings new sleep
into stone old quarters

as tight as confession
arm unloved in
the billowing dark

below engines a
a low light blinks
and gathers itself
into the maths of
collective absence

someone will say
the hands that shaped
us have spasmed

someone will say
our names have wavered


Ian Dreiblatt is a poet, translator, and musician. Last year, he published a chapbook with DoubleCross Press and another with Metambesen. His work has also appeared in Vestiges, Web ConjunctionsThe Agriculture Reader, Entropy, and elsewhere. Recent translations include Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (Verso) and contributions to Avant-Garde Museology (e-flux Classics).

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