Noah Eli Gordon

Untragic Hero of Epic Theater.


Did blanched afternoon unfastening its oiled feathers
leave a trace of warmth in scurrying hooves
or was it a display window where a bee stumbling
between bits of jewelry stopped you from dabbling
in shiny pocket change

Glorious indifference! Hapless providence!
The subtlest lion makes the loudest flower & these
knotted gaudy defeats invert another gray century
photographing a statue's features rubbed clean

But what could we do with colorized mandolins
Whispers of a secret war sound identical in electric light
& something variegated is always happening in fashions
Continue to the next page & ignore what's behind the curtain
The imperative's wax center & a magnifying glass held to the sun


My machinery has a terrible horse
There are twisted fibers, ruts
dug in the road made for mules
bricks rearranged to create a "sense of place"
& this cloud resembling a Roman column
It's enough to be on stage with a rifle
with dimmed lights relaxing the audience
Brushstrokes of smoke drift in sepia tone
& a man in uniform waves past
the idea of war to grace a wilderness
where columns of grass becoming a yard
became the foundation for a claim
to portray what erects a castle
around the already crumbling stage


So architecture's never idle, eats
itself like a circle completely filled
or history taught as a series of paintings
in which all heads are removed

Give me dust on a white piano!
Give a few oranges the dirt!
Sirens blare through an open market
& the telephone's interrupting everything

What's the difference hedges toward a structure
I don't want the locution of some scuffed surface
just your lips moving like birds
where birds are not the story
second to its telling but the inky shape
of astonishment arresting our attention


How simply an antecedent of the last act
develops indifference itself, devolves the view
wedged gently ( if there is such a thing )
through fleshy floorboards & sleeps on a small chair
on a dais with a flower folded in half

Here is your ladder & the word dilatancy
notice how as you go up the rungs disappear
how curtains rose to an indiscretion, anxious looks
& the look of anxiety, though act two saw actors
enter through the audience & rain coiled the day
indoors, carried bundles, was backstage
Come in, I'm sure the earth's still spinning
Hello helicopter! Hello trees!
The chandelier is something