Poems from “The Strugglers”


The strugglers with their claws reach in but are snatched by – or they snatch –
From the streaming crowds of superannuated people in
blistering cold with their nystagmic impulses
Aggressive and violent, darkly arrayed among the streets
and towers destruct and self-destruct blindly
Without words for this, concepts or knowledge,
impressions, images, to reach with such red claws
All innocent, brutally dumb, they extract hearts, blue hearts
What do they want them for? What do they do with them?


The girls in their frocks across the crowds or in them
As a parade, a wave, the crowd not as blood in blood vessels exposing parts to wholes
But alone standing in their midst as victims of them the red claws reaching into them
The girls’ plumes as their blue hearts where the violent man reaching into
The lining of the stomach eroded already by acidic/corrosive emotion
Action to swirl or choke, thrust down, burbling up the girls bursting out of that
In a pink blossom to extract blue hearts from them


Memory in the brain as here (at once as they occur) the origin of the events but in their middle
So in the brain the occurrences as if they were occurring or now are or did occur (as memory/now)
In middle, not crawling out to the end of them where one’s self falls off, no grounding,
Or their stems, at the beginning, where there was(before that then)light, brutal pressing upward growth
Then illuminated by their past parts action and reaction at the same time –
Time – that there is none –
Events arising – the time of the pink
Swirl of the girls, their pain which is also now, recollected in tranquility
Sharpness of the occurrence then, pain that our hearts pulse with it, sharp jut in left chest
That it’s the living pain, the moving blood that it splashes into the middle of each memory


Seeming to flow in the reverse direction picture of veins, stained blue
When the terrorists attack the cricket players there’s moon or heart in the lake
Shining or reflected because of time’s pressing spinning that that’s now – it was then included in it –
My memory all the spinning that occurs in that stuffed into the basket high above the court
At the buzzer shot made madly at that time as game played according to the mechanical clock
Blood moving according to moon in the lake not that clock there’s charity, organizations made for that
Here recollected in tranquility as a feeling, an image vaguely occurringthen/now, here/there
Won’t give money if there’s no sympathy or resonance with that now pulling near the cricketeers who lie dead, there’s no movement
In the crowd as crowd’s gore, extrusion of it
Their feeling for own blood safely they can’t see


Brought first fruits in baskets
Waved them about and prostrated
Burning their underwear in a giant conflagration
Not at all organized instead it went by feeling of the moment
The images of that in a colorful passionate unanalyzed no-comment world
And the water constant rising inundating
The roads washing out the bridges and the cotton fields
There isn’t talk of one time succeeding another
As ifmoments lined up in succession as cars to a train
Or clouds stacked together in a darkened sky
Why assume looting then?
For they passed between two mountains
Which wouldn’t actually have occurred in a distinctive past
But would have been in the past written as an occurrence
In the past beyond the time of that present writing
As pointing to a future that would have occurred
Which would [now] be in the past
Or a choice one would have to make
Between a blessing and a curse
In midst offire and flooding in sacred time
The lack of food no shelter
Not having a house having to be rescued
Dropping off food at a drop off point
And having to live up to to receive the food
But the passions dull due to the deprivation
The Hunger, the Loss prevent that and there’s anguish


The only thing that’s real’s the grief one writes of what’s the case
Even if not [the not no words in]
In the imagination had to figure out what’s played out nice fish pieces carefully arranged
Photos of that taken at any earlier time what’s lined up sensibly to be the world
Of Events, People, Place, like mercury adhering then not that would be any religion that says,
THIS IS HAPPENING AND THEN NOT so as they say you are dead it’s the end of the story
And what about the one
Who actually is dead
Not now writing this
As you read
Having been dead now having written
As always inspired by grief
The general grief
Of the one who’s living not yet having died while others die, always others
Or the writing as the creation of that, words as memorials inevitable
What about this that can be said, that’s felt
What about that way of putting it’s not the case


As if in a panic when the election was rigged
As the Han rushed through Uighers’ factories killing them
As if in a panic, a frenzied agitation, as a tick, as ifhaving to decide suddenly
Whether to kill or be killed these actions not events outside
But inside – the pressure of their feeling – as if outside
Had burst in in the mobs rushing through factories
Leaving the orphan girls as slaves almost from birth, to be prostitutes for them because of their terror
Seemingly urgently needing some kind of violence in sex that themselves they’d never do but because of the terror & panic
Do do flashing messages to one another to gather in the square to protest non-violently but the government
With superior force of arms as if protecting each person from the emotion inside that person
Or fear or terror of what could happen monstrously imagined when things are completely out of control
Smashing their heads open – is thrilling – to see their glistening blood is calming them the next day


Then the stream rushing by is young girls it’s not water
Rushing by with history’s full force everything’s so dysfunctional
Violence is normal, violation’s normal, this is what
They make TV shows about because it’s the water we drink therefore
Of the passion the girls become water not people yet not yet that
Because of the trauma that’s common as water, as dirt
They wear dog-tags they commune with dogs who are kind to them
Understand them, growing on trees, pulling the fruit from trees
As if monkeys but they’re lost in the branches
Can’t see, can’t feel earth beneath their feet, they’re nowhere
They swing from branch to branch implicitly fearing a fall
That will end their servitude as a cake-walk
Without mercy, the words mercy, repentance, confusion, sin
Having no longer any meaning, nor violence, violation, servitude
As far as the skateboarders are concerned there’s no sense at all
Beyond speed and the need to ride up walls defying gravity


When they took to the streets due to Twitter-feeds
Facebook posts the square crowded with cattle-people, their ribbons
Painted as floats in a parade bright green leaves, plumes
Subject to perspectives of the onlookers who see only the insides of their own veins, the impulses
Twitter-feed servers being carnival-like what matters injurious to their rising
When the men on horses and camels (as with the young girls perpetual slaves)
To their fathers in cabinets like street stars seen on CNN looking for a savior
Having consulted experts saying that they do not understand but that they are moved to tears
All having seen in diarthria utter disregard cantankerous as to future prospects
Fray of dispirited baserunners foggy dysphemia
As if a green perfect world is possibly contained there (within the confines of the park with its rules)
Where events elsewhere seen only by others
But not as for floating through those most involved as close to one
But from books?  As events replacing times in time’s muddles?
In the probably bloodstream larger as metonymy for as large and the very small


Cattle fetuses she pointing to her vagina as the ocker moved beyond the curtain
Downhill from the green meadow soft as blood-stained weather-stumps
He wondered what that was, not knowing how to think of it, he asked
As kites, as fetuses, as raw stinking meats outdoors on tables, that quickly rot, is fetid
Living proliferation as moisture, protists, protocysts, oozing in those climates
Amber pullulates camphor or the smells of burning fuel it’s flesh
The minions or mullein gathered on the square this dream as if protists’ oppression’s ended
Pin-point seeing small butterfly on leaf is opposite of symmetry
Of creating in several works illusion that that’s beautiful
Feelings, ideals, that words determine a desired future to make it so, imagined,
Dark juices coincident insects bacteria green chrysanthemum-crickets
With multiple eyes or heads now desperate for survival
In their hatred of all speckled useless fever to them
That can’t be contained, made to be under their control


Whereas the abducent planes strafed the Libyan road whose fleers fled
When the women having yielded to their impulse in breakage
Hurled themselves off the sacred cliffs when she shouted to them, murmuring
That they could be covered as shrouded in his robes which could never be, as wings
Running from them, the ground soaked with it, blood or mud, ruddle,
As if they gathered in the square, the breakage, body parts or hair, one’s flocculent in a crisis
Yet in ordinary times aggression revives in coulis in distemper, oppression results,
The killings, not known by those in towers, corroborates fate’s determinators
So that women cluster as they falter, having no choice but to surrender to them
Yield to the black horses’ hooves among black flowers in a black meadow
To the ocker octopus whose sucking tentacles
Surrounded by paramecia induce furtive pleasure centers this quince
Frontier as is pain/pleasure in now/then as here/there so pulls possibility
Then recision when the flower-drum song’s attenuated
So there’s meaning when the planes strafe blood’s as sudden as exactly as government falls, rulers flee
What are/were the governments other than the ganglia for pleasure/pain that they disperse toward
Lashed to some time moving in space in which objects slowly rotate


When beneath sea’s surface as if to embus earth’s conatus
Rumbles with plates occurring at cross-purposes naturally not human focus
Pulse water/waters bemused that male and female rehash contradictory boojums that poke
So that that swells (no life known in them, it’s beyond that, not chordate) heave that rush
As the most silence ever was back of the related hush/crash/rumble rush dacoit to human ear
Notwithstanding lack of expectation in knowledge of root vulnerability
[They think, It’s a normal day, I have normal problems, this to get, that to get rid of]
But its speed goes beyond the word/thought/projection, cancels it, rushes toward land
Conatus incalculable numbers won’t say it
Convulsing everything in totality, mud, crushed cars, a blackened row of them afire
Stacked ship’s cargo boxes multi-colored in reds, blues, yellows, hyphenated at last
In a jumble that the force blew through northeast Japan
No one knows how many dead, this is not what to call it, in flattened rubble
But they queue orderly and quiet, kindly, to receive lancinate goods
As reactors heat then explode their poisons through innocent receivingair
Later seep into water table and into sea


Whole smarmy floral dichronics
Where there’s an opening into cavities where they say beauty lies [but they lie]
Torque inside the hole, bulbous, seen from outside, so the one outside
Is the possessor, possesses the inside as the object of the outside, in relation to it,
One’s self seen as inside the flower with its cavity in which they lie, about it,
Hole or bowl, the bawcock remains glad slaps the backs of the backers
Who supply the corporate money, friends to get things done, hearts in the right place,
You must play ball, they say, play the game to get things done, can’t sit out, no good
To be idealist, cleave ideal, eternal, essence, she’s to be Romantic not that or this
Yet the deb amid the rubble found there a nose/finger what’s
Smashed beneath plaster and steel, Saito, as the wave rises up the boatman seeing it
[He thinking the island would not have transport that without food
They’d die, stranded, would need assistance, no one would come, motivated by this
Turned the boat toward the wave against the impulse to turn away, released to it]
So sped boat into wave taller than tall Tokyo building, solid water wall, rose atop it
Through and over, saved boat and island though nearly everyone had died as they
Pieced through rubble to find photos, keepsakes, bodies, memories, to prove
They’d been there historical time’s not now as eternity so the prescient abducent moment
As transfection into the present as one’s writing, the ordinary’s
Not so ordinary as it seems, smeared with conceptators’blood,
To make it strange isn’t – it’s already that, stained with it,
This/that as one mountain here and another there, one moves from one
Is the other simultaneous, they are simultaneous, the deb remembered tore down the dress
They kissed twice on the terrace she in white in the Cathedral they pierced by stars that fell
(If and when they fell into another day, stars, everything would be over suddenly then all
Cultural production’s cavity, a spur, a spire, stalled in memory but no one’s memory, record
Notations holding sounds requiring sensible ears


The lost orphan/child in rubble is never so bad as imagined from Boston, from image [it is
Not image because not contextualized] the earthquake seemed so much worse in Boston, James said,
Though there were fires in buildings, streets smashed, rubble, debris, corpses, but that was merely
Present, surrounding scene becoming ordinary the difference between being and not
That you saw cadavers was ordinary, corpse is ordinary/flesh mundane
So a hollow concavity is dawn the tanks’ shooting of Qadaffi that took the city
Hemmed it in then not as drone took out tanks become adductions of rubble, chemical
Rebels ran shooting aimlessly as xylum through time’s sense in language
Flowing through as yesterday flows to them as food for today
That events happen one at a time in separate places/not so/also so/as existing
Then as if such could be the case there, that the PEOPLE say so
But no way to find out what PEOPLE
In Twitter-feed nightmare they don’t say what they feel they don’t exist there
In tranquility they excited feel taking on Twitter personna
For there’s no inside they can find they find only outside as soon as
Inside’s seen or known it’s outside something to clutch
So self-aggression, mutilation, suicide, despair’s inevitable condition of speech/soul


Inside the dilemma of gender though the he or she of it’s obscure
In narrow glide as plane remakes its path through gears in air
That in State Department there’s women’s perspective wanting“soft” power, society,
Taking on poverty, education, saving women from slavery versus
The males who favor “hard” power of states, weapons, threats, “realism,”
But women’s urge to power to prevent protuberance
Elephant-foot tree, grass-tree, century plant, in cold wind in spiral, life’s
Urging upward, pushing through, setting heart-urge on this or that it becomes
Daily sorrow not comic why she feels all that, there’s no reason for it,
Wounds of the past, that doesn’t matter, there it is, it’s now, there’s no past,
Slavery, there are millions, actual millions, prostitutes, children, boy-soldiers, they’re killing at that age
Not knowing what they’re doing it doesn’t register, as if games, “positive
Psychology” in US Army says killing can be growth experience you get over it soon and are grateful
You have army, trainers, in this, if you keep in mind the mission, glory of
The nation, duty, that it is yourself, wedded to it as if spirit animates flesh
So the caird determines the plucking, plucking them off of what feeds them,
Pluck a string softly the debs in their dresses, the solemn vows [but not “obey,” there’s no longer that]
Each one takes up inside/outside now/then identity/oneness
Takes it hard for being soaked in brine removing the astringency and the poison
In asterisms delineated by tremendous drama occasioned thereby
For the days that go by, the passing times

        [for (fore) & after Leslie Scalapino’s The Diehedrons Gazelle-Diehedrals Zoom]

These poems appear in Norman Fischer, The Strugglers (San Diego, CA: Singing Horse Press, 2013).

See also:

Books of Poetry