Today's poem is by Susan McCabe

Descartes’ Nightmare

Robed in pink, snapping his picture-machine,
he took time with reflections, the kaleidoscopic sheen
of blood cells, for in two centuries he’d become Baudelaire
roaming the boulevard for his red-haired beggar.
If only he could feel her degraded silks upon his breast
as he dictated: “Let me first address the Unreal. Let me first
locate and adorn it.” What disturbed him, pleased him,
was this corpuscular insect with its thousand eyes,
for at last, there was a mechanism for breaking the world
into little mollusk-stained window panes.

He read those monoliths that stood on banks of sand.
And now he was a monolith, for he had to be sculpted
before he could exist. He might yet conceive the curvature
of ether by taking photographs of ruined photographs of churches:
each wavering color had its nerve nets (if one fired,
others did, but none could be traced to an origin),
part of a larger paradigm and diagram and window the size
of a camera hallucinating his

heart, waking in the middle of the night.

Copyright © 2008 Susan McCabe All rights reserved
from Descartes’ Nightmare
The University of Utah Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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