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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


by Andrew Levy

The player is a liar when he says sometimes wind and sometimes
women, sometimes waves and sometimes seals.  The player is a liar
when he says one’s environment is a key to one’s identity, but that his
environment is a lost key.  The player is a liar when he says jealousy
in men is as good as dollars in the soul, that men’s souls are oriented not
to miss things. The player is a liar when he says one’s environment is
the key to one’s identity, and that his environment is the master key.
The player is a liar when he says an ounce of genuine interest would be
a start, and steadfast resolution is thicker than water.  The player is a liar
when he says a worm returned to soil, and wished he were it.
The player is a liar when he says I want dynamite under my car seat, but
there’s another wheel turning.  When he says all the news without fear
or favor, the kiss of death is good.  The player is a liar when he says
innumerable unseen spirits kick metaphysical footballs in a different
cemetery than the cemetery he lives in.  The player is lying when he says
no one sees a subtextual reference to scrutinizing the remotest corners
most carefully guarded secrets, to pushes into the East Siberian Sea
and the Transpolar Drift, the rocky distant rim of the Canadian Shield.
The player is lying when he looks into the world of inquisition, when
he separates one integral part of any work from another. When he says
he was promised a world of lost forests, folded mountains, and labyrinthine
hiding places, a snack, something serious to eat, a mirage of salvation,
ascension sharp enough to consume sanity.  The player is lying when
he says winter thaws to summer, the pack ice breaks up into the Chukchi Sea,
where warm Pacific waters join the gyre as it turns in its grinding cycle.
The player is a liar when he says he is falling back to earth in the form
of pine needles, that he is no better than those other clones.  The player’s
soul is at work disappearing in lies, communicating its isolation as total.
When he says that the wings of the news are a malady, and the finalist
became a doctor of philosophy.  He is a liar when the extermination
of the underclass is harvested on his tongue, when the processing line
will be cleaned and silent.  He is lying at the end of the lane, slowly turning
in the dirt.  His thoughts and actions are elegiac fragments, mechanisms
which flicker above the wrong note. When the circus in any labor wishes
to act not as a condition of membership but synthesized in underground
factories the requisite neurochemicals of cautious steps, an abyss
of crop-duster dictums spoken by twenty-first century revolutionaries
via minor routes, filth, blood, and noise.

Andrew Levy has published 14 books of poetry, including The Big Melt (Factory School), Cracking Up (Truck Books), Ashoka (Zasterle Books), Values Chauffeur You (O Books), Don’t Forget to Breathe (Chax Books), and Nothing Is in Here (EOAGH Press). His poems and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies, including Writing From the New Coast, The Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry, and Telling It Slant: Avant-Garde Poetics of the 1990s. He was editor, with Roberto Harrison, of the poetry journal Crayon. He lives in New York City.