Dana Lisa PetersenDana Lisa Petersen

Working Note

“Awaiting Divinity (Circles)” developed out of a challenge by my friend Randy Prunty for me to write a longer poem, since my tendency is towards short, compact pieces. I began looking through a college biology textbook and a book on the science of soap bubbles to find source text to play off. I was interested in the concept of process, of development (and meaning) as a result of certain arbitrary or planned actions. I used the biological process for illustratory purposes because it is so richly theoretical and magical, but also intended to make the point that process is wholly applicable to language. The visual elements were added to enhance the text and particularly in the case of the flow-chart diagrams, to underscore process as a tool.

“Rotational Process” was a narrative experiment, simultaneously about beginning and ending, closure and breakage, all with the imperative to “continue breathing.” The poem was influenced by readings of Lyn Hejinian’s and Bernadette Mayer’s work, and their exploration/intersection of narrative, language, and women’s experience. All of the main text was written over the course of a day, but took its final shape over several days’ revision.





awaiting divinity    [circles]

stretch & release
quilt the acreage to hang           
                                                 in magnification
under deathless marvels.                                   
                                                                           absented cells in ceasing.
food nourishment limits source codes

                           as in: being nourished by other organisms.

         one thing clear as being.  energy in the absorption spectrum
apart like drizzle on a continuum
near skipping shades of lines.

                                                                          now can we speak of it?

                  a head resting among curved anticipatories.   

                                light-catching heat          or limper snippets. 



pink feathers      like red algae are nearly black     living in the deep water
under a backbone of consonants where pale double bonds of dependent
reactions in an unequal distribution are derived from lake water effects. 

              [say now!]
sheathe thy bundles in waxy covers
except where stomata quivers
within hot & bright conditions. 

fixed not one but twice. 

                         or at night yet are they abundant in activity.     speak of  startling.





so are we to say? 

when is it a situation if
                      well-known “personalities”

land on a planet in a distant galaxy   –   or supposing that garden in your neighborhood?

theorem:           simpering limp nets or knowledge in hive action. 




Rectangular Callout: sex is like 
doing things faster 

having a continuous 
means of using it.

speaking aside

now it was bad enough        setting off a timebomb
               blossoming out of sluggish pollinators like that. 

                             they’re the ones with an attitude problem     getting it second-handed.

life being no more “telling” when or what to build or tear down        
                                                                                                                                      for you
as for salmon in shallow nesting midway between.

meaning threads.
  and divides. and divide again.  this goes on for hours.



___________________________________________________________rotational process

the ache in her spine was the sound of the world waking up to a white truck
with the orange cone beeped in reverse.  left leg pinprickled and shook off. 
his blue shirt wore thick stripes.    no, she thought, that can’t be mine. 
                 as usual, the wrong wringing shivers me. 
no matter now.  acute lack of sky returns early risers. 
it did me in winter she decided was likely. 

half drunk french gift wine and dust under the couch again. 
she kicked the idea some before tipping the bottle.  we called it. 
continue breathing.     you could call it the longest day. 
no stripes the second time by but that muted motor hum.    him.

yesterday there was music so she considers spelling words out. 
flight patterns refuse to affix to emotions that seem sure of them. 
there as before her reply: well…all right. 

night is never graceful except in falling.

this same path foreshortened and steeper in mid-day.
once done and when they talked of it they never did, only tangling. 
years shifted like unpredictable music.  now archetypes, they never felt like that.
strictly speaking, rubble is a consequence of falling down. 

she’d thought perhaps it leaned rather than followed, but light will alter that sensation
over a procession of weeks, while looping makes an easy return but not a quicker
doubling back. 
this time of year the wind can be generous to opened doors.  one connecting many.

this is clearly an expectant tree just by peering at its bone structure.

if I don’t jump   holding my breath   what then are the chances? 
penmanship changes in mid-sentence, never indicative of a rebellious hand. 
sky coloring reminded her of 13 years ago but constantly reminding him of the time.

here the sidewalk used to buckle under perambulations. 
I couldn’t see myself stopping in the middle of one of my best sessions, he answered. 
when you turn the corner – well, then what?  she wore grey to deflect winter.

field hearing: I can’t say specific task but he can’t manage those action verbs. 
every day on the bus they change.  5 minutes longer now.
it would be rude to go around two while breathing that self-consciously. 

30 miles away the night is raining all over again. 
sometime I will remind you of tornadic activity snapped in two.

Bio: Dana Lisa Petersen lives in Decatur, GA and has lived in the Atlanta area for over 6 years. She is a member of the Atlanta Poets Group (APG) and her work has been published in Mirage 4 Period(ical), Ixnay, Gestalten (http://www.brokenboulder.com/cg4.htm), 108 and Facture (http://www.webdelsol.com/Facture/issues.htm). Additional work will be published in Another South: Experimental Writing in the South, forthcoming from University of Alabama Press.

Southern Perils

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