(chapter one : exegesis)
The forty-seventh word in the Book of Books is red, referring to a light slant, the room in which through dust the day is falling. In turn, because the speaker isn’t right, we, the audience, imagine being fucked with. I for one am empty of the ability to shine. Then, the walls collapse. A door of glass slides back, revealing girls. The light engages them in places inappropriate for children under seven. It was like the movies, like a stranger with his hands inside his pockets repeating beneath his breath the names of horses, like acid at a gun show. I swear to you, their jaws went slack in awe, and so did mine. Audience, surrender. Is it important, the men in the background balding, having stitched, at some point prior to the first word, the letter “I” in silver thread across their foreheads. It would be wise, I think, to consider before continuing, the history of salt, Mesopotamia, the tallest man on earth, circa 1956. Eventually the girls all turn to pillars. Eventually the sky. What strikes me when I read aloud at night is night. The way the stars look underwater if I extend the book, at arm’s length, and squint my eyes exactly thin, the words go dark around me, turning and turning over, widening the sea.
Nicholas Gulig, a recent graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, is a poet living and writing in Missoula, MT. "from the BOOK OF BOOKS" was the winner of CutBank's fall 2010 Big Fish Prose Poem and Flash Fiction Contest, and it appears in CutBank 74.