Jan/Feb 2019 • Vol. XLI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 2, 2019 |

Egrets, Regrets

To look at Gogol’s overcoat and see how the coat itself becomes the main character in the tale, the way the poor clerk disappears beneath the weights of value — social, personal, survival — invested in a thing, is to see form. Not as shape or outline, but as a kind of immanence. The way feelings that are formless seek to attach to people dreams words theories acts to exist in a material word that form lies trapped in. No doubt my poetry errs, wrote Hopkins, but as air. . . . Air and err and air and err. A kind of sonic opening. My regrets bend back their long necks to pick at the scapulars. In the Marxist reading of Bartleby, the lawyer’s indifference becomes the main character in the tale. This feels like an allegory of form. In air. To speak of the parable in parabola is to sing a little. Which isn’t on the agenda today. Gogol’s mistranslated overcoat is really the cloak of social concerns. How difficult to put something out there.

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