c  h  r  i  s  n  e  a  l  o  n



First, if I can, I’ll bring peace throughout your lands

Wig or pigtail; yellow flag or blue; in the green eyes of
       the, in the brown eyes, peace like a maritime message,

 God unasked for, not in voiceover, immanent,
 Talking them down to manslaughter —


You are trapped in a true story
You are going to need the Critique


Apparently what I’m carrying is called a shield

Apparently a warrior

But do they need it?      Her

with her red silk Twiggy cap, him with his big broad chest,

they’re free enough

       — take a set of literary,  take  a  set  of  philosophical,

and pummel them, though in a tenderizing way

Not, Reason:

a sham;

but, Romance —

let’s see what it can take


       First though the idea changed and everything felt different

       Now if we had just let ourselves be baffled
       If we had asked the question

       But no one had the tools; and when despairing we took gasp
               for grasp we found

       we could do it again,

       we could deliberately misconstrue the wounding as a kind of
             case and repeat as necessary

       It’s anagonizing method, it’s almost no method at all

       But confronted with the mountain pass between the feeling
             and the feeling better we let it take on allegorical,

       Let the grail go by


Those open doors? I pried them open

Those holes?  I punched them out

And look at you now, bloody knuckles,

anonymously clanking your stein


In earlier configurations

you might have been a hero,

But here  —  in air  —  synthetic

a priori glory —

flowers:  kinder

way  of  doing  things,


momentarily  aside

The very Alps resounding with it, peace

Peace & the wavering prospect of a Law


Friend,  ambivalent

austerities  I  cannot  recognize

have  captured  you,

they  are  alluring:

rejection of grime empirical —

refusal to walk the dark plank speculation —

some middle path,

a precipice pulled back from

and loyalty to chaste

retreating criticism

  — as thoughfrom Biaurepaire

you could charge into the field of provocation

and just sit down:

or: you are not the knight at all, and urge me on

demurring, maiden, knowing

one withdrawal pushes urge on elsewhere

         —  most un-Kantian of you


By  Anonymous

       He  brought  peace  throughout  their  limbs

       He  moved  like  the  tide  to  bring  them  together

       He  was  greatly  distorted  to  fit  a  pattern

       There  they  were  the  Vienna  secession  just  sitting  around
              waiting  for  him

       He  shifted  his  hips  like  the  call  to  prayer

       He  rode  the  tail  end  of  Art  Nouveau  on  the  seat  of  a
       ladderback  chair


       Lord  my  body’s  eating  up  Romantic  longing  and  feeding  it
              back  to  me  as  maidens

       Knights  or  maidens:
       maidens  singing:
       better  to  siren  my  way  to  the  knights

       Song  or  proposition  now  which  would  you  have  me

       Though in abstraction yes we are far from the matrical
              power of sex still he makes mewish for the names of

       Names  to  sing,  ligatures,
       I  know  they’re  partitions  too  but  I  don’t  regret  it

       That  last  longnote  of  Evergreen  is  fundraising  now  and
              good  for  her

CHRIS NEALON's recent books Ecstasy Shield (2001) and The Joyous Age (2004) are both published by Black Square Editions.