Anton Kolig, Kleiner Kniender Narziss, 1920
The lover of self is a verb-monstrosity,
all the pure dappled nouns it longs to deplume
into a plain of tautologous goose-flesh.
You can’t beat back your background;
the greenery shakes its fresh birthright
about your ears, a halo of gnats
catch the light by treachery.
After the self-chore your knees
are bored as stakes, your toes
rise from the tiny graves they’d dug.
Leaning over the sweet-rippled substrate,
suffering the nostrils’ lesser joke;
so sinks your expression. To love
is to know nothing more
of one’s penetralia, love is a lathering.
There’s no time saved or lost in monologue;
at some point each question stops
its quivering, is laid to rest.
How many men throughout history
have come into their flaming hearth,
to clash element with element? …
Synapse sizzes then is dim.
You cannot fathom what it’s like
for the world to be under water.
You only see it, from on high,
in vertigo’s negligent clutch;
wracked, yes, but impervious.
You stand: as the first plains man
you are maladaptively loose-limbed.
As the operose angel of history
you really are just looking at your feet.
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