There is much to be said for space, for letting the space be

filling; for letting the drawing in the mind be the faintly stated

thing; yet the very thing one wanted to state. A world of lives is

inscribed here, in under forty lines. It is not the same as

description. It is not the beginning, middle, and end.

It is in the act of thinking and writing. In the act of living.

One thinks of other poets who have managed much

significance with much restraint. Oppen, Niedecker. These lines

are not those lines, but an affinity with Objectivism is fairly

evoked. Yet here is more affinity for story, for stories,

present as much in their missing parts as in their suggested dramas.

One thinks of the horizon, and of music in single notes

moving toward it. The score is improvised; so the destination

is just beyond the horizon. That’s why I selected these poems by Marc Gaba.


—C.D. Wright


Study of Linearity

He tasted his tear, tiny orchestra, it fled

itself down his face to the tongue which could not

hold that rapid taste, the lives that quote each other

streamed below his placard, all day and later

the sun pulled out like an ending, it pointed

away from its answers, at us whom it missed,

word by word, the holes in the net we make.


Study of Linearity

betrayal white        subtitle white        20th century
                                                                                                   red no one’s indigo default blue,
glass black
                                                                    (threads for whom color stashed from
all innocence, dart to another grey

knot of invisible children, wait in you as what freedom is dealt the free).


Three Lines

Years after the accident, she asked in the middle of the night if his hand was on her dead hand
The time it took to answer as he felt it there, thinking she, who still sees, should have seen that.


Study of Linearity

The hounds opening on the scent we gave them

                               to memorize, memorized
the scent and cut

a path through the thicket for us between air

and air, a wound slipping in like a flag, dripping

its blindfolds on your body, sleeping without you.


Water Understood

Can I use the word we to mean those waters we have seen

fall round in parts that keep to themselves falling
as in rain we can

slow down, , you know, in our minds each like parts of it perhaps
you or I have watched fall, maybe, once or never, crossing:

a sea, small enough, deep enough to cross, sending and sending

its white eyelids nowhere along with a small boat,

its one mouth travelling filled
with letters accepting rain, the word We for them

as We have stood here for long We have not
known joy we are dumb and can be envied our coldness we can freeze

whitely over eyes and melt without music

till we see without music:the boat ashore with our letters
ruined, and he

whose work was to bring them, is dead there and rotting

while we say as water that water understood, we are not words,
we are not water.