Lisa Robertson: 'On Form' (for Jane Ellison)

In which poems & poetics come together (J.R.)

You could say that form is learning

you can see form take shape

at the coronal suture’s first arcade

it’s explaining it’s appearing

it’s unestranged from enormity’s

prick of a spiny plant like a rose as

experimenting it’s bursting and

usually it’s repeating why is form

a dog as a horse as a deer as a

fish and a bramble a grater rapacious

the second cervical vertebrae is

repeating is a question we can

ask with our bodies and what is

a tooth coccyx is the beak of an ancient

dove below the sacrum the tip of

the sacrum places in the person a

sensation of slow form repeating it

doesn’t require its own skin to repeat

fox a foxtail a lizard as psoas

a small flask of modern oil at the throat

the repeat carries between bodies

what’s made in this space are theories

and thymus a rising of beneficial

smoke as thorax as guitar the hairs

exact and between bodies form’s not

ever without a stupendous body so

the repetition is never exact

this is why form is always learning

how as it moves across surfaces

on the cleft above the lips to be

repetition is never exact this is why

form is learning or becoming or how

as it moves across timely surfaces

including the intricately folded surfaces

sucked when kissing sometimes the lower

lip has a crease like a waking girl in

the real territory of the conceptual

the liver is a crown and it is a vessel

it constitutes our life form is folding

the full part is a vase the nostril is

cartilage connecting mineral salts

the root of the belly the palate a

celestial dome a vault a sky a

nylon-like connecting dissolving

palace the tongue is a stitch a root a

complex tissue made of crystalline constituents

as freefloating folds motivating

intestines as a nest the bowel is

blind the rectum founds it all the anus

is a ring a door a precipice the

nervous system orients vast complexities

to make them even less efficient we’re

trying to solve efficiency luckily

sphincter’s a crow the liver’s a

table a summit a choir a door the

tracheal artery is a country

flute the lungs are apples each part of the

heart is named differently but

it seems to be prettily resisting

generally heart is a vase with little

ears the spinal column is a canal

out towards the periphery and also

of marrow the thorax is also a

tortoise and a stall the ribs are fronds and

these are also in the same lake

they are spades the greater ribs are boats they

are maritime together the ribs form

a kind of anywhere-ness and anyone-ness

the teeth of a comb which is not only

a grooming implement but a tool for

their role as relations in a behaviour

as weavers the ribcage then their loom the

shoulder blades are plates and they make writing

pads or little desks these desks are winged

when our hands feel empty they are not empty

the clavicles are keys and they close and

open the gate between the throat and

sweetly there was a suture there

touch is a really unstable compound

metaphor but it does have a head the

radius is a tailor or a drum

stick a brooch and historically a hinge

the hand is a rustic cheeseplate the

same for the feet the fingers are a phalanx

of snakes or of fishes the skin is treebark

in this place the voice is touching you

it comes to a physiological

work this is a representational

problem something like memory

work this is a transformational work

about the domestic nature economy

sufficient yet imperceptible

it is medicinal the cheeks are melons

are bowls or concepts or clods the stomach

is a mouth nostrils are the lairs of little

animals or fish choirmaster names them

indistinguishable from anarchy

every cell’s means of turning every

thing into transcendent operatic

the heart as well as the liver we can

compare the liver to a city or

a mansion and the intestines are the

market gardens surrounding it the veins

are roads leading up to the city gates

no proper limit no verbal chain continually altering

the cardiac veins are wee snakes the ear’s

continually altering internal conditions

a measuring cup and a conch it

is among the kitchen utensils

between our nerve endings and our motor units

like the female sex that thrives behind

the earlobe there is a bony poppy

fucking wildly at the edge of capital

this experience can constitute a break

in sincerity density and scale

the helix of the ear is a bracelet

the ear is also a hive it produces

wax which is a humour it is the nest

of a swallow as well the eye sockets

are basins for washing grain the eye is

carnival artifice intrigue

wandering’s root the eyeball like a sun

like a cheek like a breast the white of the

eye is a riverpebble the glance is

a throw of stones the iris is a rain

on this conceptual meta-membrane

ah luxuriant nomad pubis

the eyelid is skirt the eyelashes are

the outer surface of the mind that

album berry or nymph pip barleycorn hill

or sparrows completely and ardently

send their action thriving foray touch

this suture right now