Monday, July 2, 2007

What does trilobite do?



An untitled poem, from Clark Coolidge's Space (1969):
ounce code orange
a
                the
                              ohm
trilobite trilobites



Of which Kasey writes:
Even in the absence of a clear grammatical structure, it is still difficult not to read even abstract linguistic assemblages of this sort on the model of normative syntactical connections between words. One might read the first line as three listed nouns in a series, or alternately one might treat ounce as subject, code as verb, and orange as object...

For whatever it's worth, I find it easier to make a "clear grammatical structure" out of the last line. While it initially seems a repetition of a noun, first in the singular and again in the plural, I read it as consisting of a singular noun and an intransitive verb.



16 comments:

Steven Fama said...

I think another dominant "torque" in this poem occurs in its sound. The rhythm. I hear the words as if each were being played on a set of drums (a good way to read Clark Coolidge sometimes, for the obvious reason that he played/plays the instrument).

The poem, though short, swings or bops. It might be a drum riff. It starts with three short hits (ounce code orange). Followed by three more short hits (a / the / ohm), each of which is softer and spaced (in time) further apart than the first three. Then two sets of three fast hits (trilobite trilobites), the last of which ends with a quick flourish on the cymbal (the "s" of the last word).

More specifically, I hear first three hits with the foot pedal on the bass drum. Then three hits on the snares, using a brush or a stick with a light touch, pausing in between each hit. Then three quick ones with a stick, one on a tom, the last two on the snare. Then immediatly repeat that pattern, with a quick hit on the high-hat ending that final three.

Also: trilobite's etymology is "three-lobed." The poem here repeats patterns of threes.

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