5 Poems: Loci Memoriae
by Louis Armand

(for kevin hart)

when the voice is found, then the right words are in the right order, the ladder descends & the steps are there
—charles wright

in granada he writes "the day has only one immense hour"
& so he must find his own way back
in the open ended diminutive (of time / the definer of all
things, which remains
without quotation marks, as an exemplum or
a legacy)—statements about the world

not adding up / a state of being "up-rooted" (this is how the
meditation concludes), looking at the sky
& music from a salvation army band
drifting down from a street corner (& still i would like
to pause over these lines, but the scene is closing, the
edges frayed like a scrap of paper

commemorating a name or even its
illegible outline) as though posing some question—
but the paths that would lead me to say
"no" & "yes" respectively are not ones that i could retrace
here, though it means a rendez-vous with other
uncertainties, a foretaste of

mourning (the departure, captured in such quotidian
detail, beyond disbelief)—searching
across that narrow stretch of water in words
foreign & hollowed out, dis-
solving the blackness of imminent landfall, a threshold we
never get close to no matter how insistent

a blind gulf, where everything speaks
in the absence of renewal—
though only the idea of such a moment can be summoned
keeping its distance
& its measure even, "that needs to be awoken"
if the epiphany is to occur


at the slightest sign, all the past awakens—
the unloved lost child, the exile, the
traveller, or himself—accidents of time
as though transposed
for the benefit of an illusion: "the calm stone

fallen into this world out of
obscure chaos"—a vague halo of ideas
& superstitions ... white spaces of thought
& coagulating
inscribed in a closed figure: the perverse game

of understanding goes on, a corpse
suspended in the old manner
without regard for its strings—i too
am bored with descriptive music, the ardent

quietude ... it is just a room, after all,
& one could still imagine others, coming & going
like that—va & viens, she says
as though such things were to be expected
(but who is she?) ... a pretext

for mockery? but perhaps it’s too soon
to signal defeat—the newspapers
are still arriving & there is someone else
on the opposite side of the street

with habits like mine, languorous
& always irritated, the approximate man
with an apartment on the first floor ...
though better not to recount details,
an epitaph would do

for the anonymous moment, summarised—
so as to seem more poignant, two or three words


into these landscapes & narratives, conscience also
there was—of the too-persistent intersection
of the outside & under the skin (circuitry)

the separation drags on, so far off from the re-
commencement—distanced by the camera
by the deafening collapse of the eye
inverted, trait pour trait, remote as it can be
from the original—though nowhere

does anyone ask after you, beyond "an arrangement
of lines forms colours & objects " & there was
no way back it seemed but to keep
faith in those meanings to act in the gap
between "art" & "life," waiting for others

to uncover the crime—whose remembrance was it
anyway? past answerability, past caring
one way or an other, in the rebus posture ...
& afterwards? time, like an anagram, forms itself

indifferently—even when you wanted to erase it
the negative, the faded presence you can no longer

(for daniel ferrer)

1. "what the camera doesn’t see
can’t exist" the negative
luminosity of sky
through a closed window
in march—a palimpsest
of dead memories—
carrion—their danse macabre
(everything calculated
to increase the burden
of visibility)—& the prescience
of an elsewhere,
as they say: "elements missing
are most active"

2. a vendor of
outside the
a wall hung
with bouquets
of petrified flowers

the scene
repeats itself—
the interior
of empty rooms
by memories
they could not

& grown foreign
through familiarity

3. disintimated in a crowd—the separate
sky its striations of too-emotive
light—in the piazza di spagna—
on the steps watching the flower-
sellers weave & unweave the faceless
labyrinth—voices mingling with
traffic sounds—& the streets—
the outward looking windows projecting
interiority—& distance
"just hanging there" suspended
in the city’s polaroid gaze

4. ... cf. o’hara’s architecture of the nerves or
humid cerebration in disruptions of
narrative encoded ruin—
a chronoscope for unthinking reliance on space
as ontological paradigm—local & remote
in the knotted feedback loop (certains d’entre vous savant
qu’avec ce cercle & cette croix je dessine
le nœud borroméen) at another time in the other
imagination where it breaks off & re-begins
dying & returning like the ghosts of a noh drama

5. episodes of [...] the train journey takes you from rome
to vienna to prague—
crossing imaginary frontiers
as analogies present themselves
at various points between technology &
the unsecured exterior
rushing past in the panicked traversal of endless
a documentary
of the pastoral tradition from petrarch
to the current welding casting
moulding of "interpretive communities"—re-
processing depth of field
out of the filmic sequence (ambivalent
to geo-political espacement?)—
cubist landscape
or nature morte: the unrelenting, paranoiac tableau
inscribes itself
between exhaustion & pretence—
that the horizontal curvature of the earth
is contingent upon perspective & not necessarily
a matter of fact—
arriving at several possible outcomes
from each line of reasoning

6. "everything has its limit" is a quotation that can never
be attributed without denying its universality, &c.
relying on the significant cliché to bring the argument
to conclusion? or summarise the tedious allegory
of train tracks that have already robbed us of our selves
during the night ...—this reminds me of
pirandello sei personaggi in cerca d’autore
& other "works of fiction" written on the same topic
(during the journey the compartment itself becomes a
theatre with other characters entering & departing
from one station to the next—there is also the "dis-
embodied voice" of the conductor, although it is
barely audible, confused between languages ... (re-
cognition of place-names hence becoming a function of
visual apprehension? the resemblance of one to
the other?): glissant sous le réel, c’est évidemment aussi
sous l’imaginaire que vous le trouvez)


unaccustomed to these more remote
dialects—you begin again
to retreat ... into the sanctuary
of immediate & familiar objects:

pale spectre of a lighthouse its image
below the harbour wall—
& summoned here
across some blind gulf of memory

as though you had stepped down
to each of those shores—
waiting, for the time
when silence would give a mirror
for your nightsea crossing
& all the surfaces would depart ...

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