Ben Lerner
Theory For A
New Poems From the USA
Somewhere between difference and repetition,
the play of conceits, the fall from comma
to comma, etc., I lost a contact,
then lost all contact, then reemerged
a critic, reducing topoi to tears
on the page’s face. Omnipotent,
omnimpotent, I searched the stacks
for a life of signs, losing my presence
of mind, then mind, then presence.
When she found me, there were commas
streaming down my page.

How had I failed to notice
that light draws nearer the less it is described,
that permutation gives permission,
or that the failure of signs gives light;
how had I failed to notice
that in the soft light of failure
a truce between difference
and difference could be signed?