May 022010


Sally Allen McNall


1.  Non-words


One kind of a sentence       is a scar

and of that kind       most kinds


sentences left deep in the belly

                        most     are    most

are “the politics of the latest atrocity”

detonating    in the kitchen                       in the crowded street


keloid scars, impermeable            


scab    picking at the scab

bedsores        ritualized display of the running bedsores


Shields:  wood, bone, hide, bronze, leather, mail, plates or scales, polycarbonate Lexan®

riot shield (available on eBay), eggshell, womb, “bubble boy disease,” fragmentation Kevlar® blanket, tattoo, piercing


One kind of non-sentence              

is a non-sentence non-spoken to a Persian/African etc.


In Scar, a whole sentence: You could go home to Tehran/Khartoum if those madmen had/were not


(I have read that humans invented belief so that they would know whom not to believe.)



2.  The end of origins


We have backed off and

                                                backed off

until there is

nowhere else

                        to go


all the while imagining

                                    we went forward


If we turn around


―have patience here, I am trying to unbuild Rome—



all we can see resembles

murder boards in stalled homicide investigations


a thickening collage of roughly square shapes:


photos in Kodak black and white, pain, knowledge, lists of numbers in Sharpie red, timetables on pale blue paper, order, city maps, disorder, notes, pain, messages, order,  thumbtacks, photos in Kodak vericolor, pain, pencil marks, disorder, ink, death

with somewhere

                                    under the center,

the image

                                    of an innocent human face


go on

  2 Responses to “Problems of Representation”

  1. What a wonderful poem! so sad —

  2. In the springing originality of this painful, beautiful poem is the blooming promise of a young girl I knew 50 years ago . . . and am so pleased to have re-found.