I remember reading it on the commuter plane that took me from Toronto to, where, Pittsburgh? after the 1997 MLA convention, the one where we had a book party for the Bad Subjects anthology.
I'd been staying at Peter's place. Jillian too. Peter and Claire's enormous
"ginger" tabby had been alternately compressing the two of us with its sleep-dense form.
The morning I left was very cold. I remember having to walk across the tarmac to the plane. But I was wearing my redoubtable "Norwegian wolf sweater" and experienced the bite of the air as pure exhilaration.
This is the first of several passages I'll be bringing to your attention that are problematic from a gender standpoint, yet intensely appealing to me. I'd like to find some middle ground between negative critique -- "This is sexist bullshit: end of story" -- and mindless idealism -- "Isn't it great to conflate the female body with landscape!" But I'll have to write my way into this space of compromise over time.
Here's the poem:
Into the closed air of the slowI await your input. . .
Warmth comes, a slow going down of the Morning Land
She is warm. Into the vast closed air of the slow
Going down of the Morning Land
One vast under pinning trembles doom ice
Spreads beneath the mud troubled ice
Smother of a sword
Into her quick weak heat. She
Is introspection. One vast ice laden
Vast seas of doom and mud spread across the lake. Quick heat,
Of her vast ice laden self under introspective heat.
White lake trembles down to green goings
On, shades of a Chinese wall, itself "a signal."
It is a Chinese signal.