Laurie PriceLaurie Price

WORKING NOTE by Laurie Price

What’s crucial frequently comes as a surprise. I comb back and forth across the language fields hoping the tines will catch on something to show that which is difficult to say or be said. I hunt and gather; I scavenge through the givens and try to navigate the variables and the unknowns. Accumulating details the work ahead. I accumulate the details. Beckett said, "the task of the artist in our time is to accommodate the mess." Sometimes this means mediation or invention. Sometimes an other vocabulary dictates itself into being. I’m hunting down the specifics of an animate and knowable address, torquing the discourse with language through language. There’s a there there.











the physical which is not logical
scrap that and start again
the physical which has and is
capacity, human body & its ways
in the art of assembling, dance and frame
left as is or was, capacity, and gathering
strength or accumulating grace
met by left as is or was

someone depends on that

this detour that thinks this detour is thinking

must begin again, take a stand, brave
determination and failure
to balance a coordinate
relax the drones

intervention reversing the ceiling which had
had, pale color respirating
after edges stack of buildings
had come, were going

it was the best of times the worst of times
fawn disorder      young private issues quelled

one single dwelling
dog for its dog
January’s curious plan museum




eventually future retains my other
subject to imagination the story I do
now at night, whispering fan
and the green radio light

what’s purple is a golden crescent
in a black sky suspended between
the bridges where I carry forward
to write alive the lines or be still

later white windmills of sleep
power the leaves of dreaming
a tree & future retains my other
radiant light where it sings




Later on I know a bunch of my relatives
are coming over & I hear them arrive. I think
of it and Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs’
Wooly Wooly on the radio. I go downstairs
where I lay down my head and all the parts
of the dream since I was 6 years old.
I go down to my etc. there because
a basement approach is necessary and graphic.
There are tools above a drawer labelled graphite,
refreshments behind a bar and a spicy dark corner
where I stretch the truth. Many-colored fabrics
and scraps of thread part the armchair from the floor.
I move my anchor again, stock & fluke & shank.
A hill is just landscape, an ocean spills escape.
To be lost at all an error I feel upstairs because
the expansion chamber of that liquid compass
lacks a float inside its glass dome. Walking back
& forth trying to find my stuff wakes me up
somewhere else in the middle of a sentence
I try to bring back but don’t remember.




A tougher beyond than eyes that picture
put the sex into paint  Leg of throat and
my air of above, love when dulled

introduces the tendency of
nowhere in shade
A teacup of darkest desire

that the brown spots might be hills
Where you walk must have danger
transparent in razored light

Walking as letters remembered
targets the splayed form anyone can read
from a painted surface in your head




Right away you think you know
what you’ve exhausted.
A light snaps on in the kitchen
the vertical surfaces glaze. And each of
the half-inch parameters you’d identified
dissolve with it. The boys ply their
domino effect, a larger manufacture than
any solo effort brings. There are three
movements that evolve into a final clap
& curtains again when someone says
“2 tickets” . . . “a lovely program.”
The origin of chattel is clothbound, half signatures.
Even in a restive state you feel the temptation.
Something starts up again, some blank disclaimer.



for Kim Lyons

Each moment a molecule.
Shape of the resonant
blurred, with dotted lines.
Lock the fractures in
to find the fissured veins
of leaf to stem.

Dark in a language unlike
the storied, by now practical means
knowing approach to water or
car-crossed streets the bicycles
spool through is divined.
I think a street sign marks a corner
could go anywhere to traffic
with the green at the red.
Decision as division
drives away from that moment.

That moment is yours or mine
while the river pushes is pushed.
Now the full moon waxes
provocatively between
spired towers. Pushes and gusts
part the cotton curtains.
Halo round as an African sun.

Small faces boxed under glass
watch from the wall above.
The suns and moons
join to sonnet in couplets.
And charm, unlike a basket
for the next one there
their things which lyrical
and do receive.

Funnel for conveying
for conveyance a flame
the scarlet hatches
a ballerina’s step-
ped into
the dominant



BIO: Laurie Price was born in New York City in 1955. She received her Poetics at Naropa Institute in 1981. Her publications include a chapbook, Going on Like This (1991, Northern Lights Int'l/ Brooklyn Series); Except for Memory (1993, Pantograph Press); and a chapbook, Under the Sign of the House (1998, Detour Press). As a recipient of a 1993 Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry she lived in Oaxaca and Mexico City for several years while working on literary art objects and exhibiting them in the three-person show "Inside Out". Her writing has appeared in Arshile, Big Allis, Black Bread, New American Writing and The World.

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