Rochelle Owens: Beloved the Aardvark, Part Three


[The third and concluding section of Owens’s major opus]


Evolution is smart

clean  clear and simple  gaps

in the sequence of


events laid down and eroded away


hungry or thirsty

eat or drink  body of data 

data of body


audible inaudible

the rhythm the rhythm of

spontaneous change


letters spell out


o b l i t e r a t e


a jaw opens and closes



vigilant the babe sucking




On a giant computer

screen  vibrating subatomic

particles shape


the contours of a skull


and in your

mammalian brain  tendons

and nerves pulsate


craving  licking

burning chunks  rupturing flesh

cinnamon  cumin and honey


five lambs

slaughtered for the feast

carnal/spiritual                                                                                                               2              





Under an occult sky                                                                                                  

of greens and yellows the tattoo

artist bites into an apple


chewing and swallowing

moisture and nutrients flow in

the tattoo artist’s brain


seized with jittery energy


chewing and swallowing

inhaling exhaling  a layer of skin 

the skin


a montage of bite marks 



chewing and swallowing

inhaling exhaling  the breath blowing

kisses along the digestive tract 


spirals of veins

pulsate from mouth to rectum 

blood in  blood out


seized with jittery energy


chewing and swallowing

inhaling exhaling  drawing zigzags

of black lines


a layer of skin the skin

the canvas absorbing sunlight 

inhaling  exhaling 


drawing zigzags

of black lines  drawing a fetal skull

sprouting tooth buds


the universe

contains everything that exists 

letters that spell out                                                                                                         3


r u i n s c a p e




After waking

and lying down trust your

instinctual senses


disturbingly informative


tears  mucus 

albumen  a goat smile

on your lips



Long ago 

an hour ago  only a minute 

in the here and now


in the zone

diverging from a course

of events


spirals of wind and fire


layers of brown dust




Out of an ant hill

curved like an embrace

a waft of air


and morning

to evening and evening

to morning


audible  inaudible

an unknown word  letters

that spell out


A m f a t t e h r



                *                                                                                                                 4


The bones that form                                                                                                                                                                                            

the Aardvark Venus  rays of light

penetrate your fingers                                                                                             


drawing black lines 

spirals of muscles  blood vessels

a long cylindrical tongue 


biomorphic  geomorphic 

polymorphic  corkscrews of white



slashes  slashes of solar light 




Long ago  an hour ago

only a minute  a black line

shapes itself 


an image on a rock

subatomic particles pulsate

the universe contracts


e x p a n d s




The warmest of mothers 

moves in circles  massive her claws

digging  searching


body of data  data

of body  the Aardvark Venus

her rabbitlike ears


heating to the

temperature of human skin 

a long cylindrical tongue


work is a binding obligation 


blood in  blood out

her breast vein as thick as a finger

mounds of sand appear 



lines of ants appear  disappear                                                                                             

a hissing sound


suffer the Aardvark children 




Listening to Willie Nelson                                                                                                         

you witness a lovely desert sunset

a goat smile on your lips


mounds of sand appear

disappear and morning to evening                                                                            

evening to morning                                                                                                 


9 breakfasts  5 lunches  6 dinners                                                                       


white the summer blossoms 

a girl in your arms  hungry or thirsty 

eat and drink




On the wall of a cave

in the Sahara  in a zone diverging

from a course of events


disease  famine  torture  war


in a sacred refuge or a tomb


Behold!  the Aardvark Venus


luminous the overlapping

charcoal drawings  charcoal fed

with wind and fire


charcoal fed with blood and sunlight




Earth  Air  Fire  Water


hormonal forces evoke                                                                                               

the rhythm of spontaneous change                                                                           6

inhaling  exhaling


moisture and nutrients

flow through your mammalian brain

inhaling  exhaling


the universe contracts  e x p a n d s


seized with jittery energy                                                                              


inhaling  exhaling

flexing  contracting  evoking

the rhythm 


the rhythm of spontaneous change


disease  famine  torture  war


rays of light

penetrate your vulva  scrotum



illuminate your heart 

your hand cupping the little god

mounds of sand appear 



out of an ant hill curved

like an embrace


Earth  Air  Fire  Water



[AUTHOR’S COMMENT: “To look at the image of an Aardvark is to take a cosmic Rorschach test, and like a cubist mural is both a microcosm and macrocosm. You understand Intuitively — a Cartesian resolution of body and spirit. The poem presented here is the third of a series of poems titled ‘Beloved the Aardvark,’ related I suppose to the poem ‘Devour Not the Elephant’ that appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics.” (Rochelle Owens). 

And Marjorie Perloff on the unique power and pitch of Owens’s exploratory work, from the 1960s to the present: ‘Rochelle Owens’s writing … is sui generis. She is, in many ways, a proto-language poet, her marked ellipses, syntactic oddities, and dense and clashing verbal surfaces recalling the long poems of Bruce Andrews and Ron Silliman. But Owens is angrier, more energetic, and more assertive than most of her Language counterparts, male and female, and she presents herself as curiously non-introspective.” 

Part One of Beloved the Aardvark can be found here on Poems and Poetics, and Part Two can be found here.]