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Biography
Peter Gizzi is the author of THE OUTERNATIONALE (Wesleyan, 2007), SOME VALUES OF LANDSCAPE AND WEATHER (Wesleyan, 2003), ARTIFICIAL HEART (Burning Deck, 1998), and a reprint of his first book, PERIPLUM AND OTHER POEMS 1987-1992 (Salt Publishing UK, 2004). He has also published several limited-edition chapbooks, folios, and artist books. His honors include the Lavan Younger Poet Award from the Academy of American Poets and fellowships in poetry from The Fund for Poetry, The Rex Foundation, Howard Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He currently serves as the poetry editor for THE NATION.

TRADITION & THE INDIVISIBLE TALENT

- by Peter Gizzi

If all the world says something
we think then we know something
donít we and then the blank screen
or memory again. You crazy.
No, you crazy. Itís like this
but almost always
when time-lapsed words
and weather-swept flowering trees
move in empathetic wind.
I am rooted but alive.
I am flowering and dying
I am you the wind says, the wind.

The embiggened afternoon
was just getting started
and to be adrift and stuck
can be a pleasant sensation
like loving abstraction
or a particular objectís nimbus.
Pick one and look at it,
human or digital, vegetable,
mineral, alive or dying,
itís all atomic anyhow,
much closer, the electron
part of yr being. Being,
itís a small word.
After all absence makes
the particles move faster.
The path tilted up to the right
and the angled view
so dramatic in boisterous sun.

When a thoughtís thingness begins
to move, to become unmoored,
and you ride the current
with your head and feel yourself
lift off like birdsong caught in the inner ear
even the curios seem animated
in their dusty shelves.
When the inanimate gestures back
with an imperceptible howdy
then the known sets inó
the song is alive. A scale
rendered invisibly opening onto once.
That part of tradition.

Birdsong and daybreak,
are they not the same at the root?
Twigs torn from brambles
nest and house this cooing thing.
Close your eyes. The notes
imprint their solar magic homing
a musical refrain built out
in a sculptural vortex and time
is this sculptural vortexó
the applause of rushes
sung into a larger sequence.
The sky. And now the word is fire,
fire in the heart, fire in the head.
Fire above and fire in bedó
seemingly the only element
to get gilded up in song.

How about dirt? I love you
like dirt. I miss you dirty mouth,
dirty smile, oh, and my dirt
is your dirt is nice also.
Closer to the ground, perhaps,
on the ground, thatís real enough
and those goddamn spuggies
are fledged and itís spring
and the books in my shelves
in my head have all turned, nothing
but earth and peat and mold
and rich soft living manna
you can breathe, the must.

The must at the root of it all,
desire and wanting, must know.