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This is Jacket 12, July 2000   |   # 12  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Rae Armantrout




From what I don’t recall
I am able to infer
what didn’t happen
in a given setting

while you can’t or won’t

so that
I might have been behind you
in the boat
or you might have been alone
or accompanied by strangers.

Alternates persist
since they aren’t named as such.

On the other hand, I feel
the removal of one element
changes the event
so it must disappear



If thunder clapped,

small flowers
at leaf joints

stared straight ahead
in silence.

Did rocks react?

Try to recall



A career in vestige management.

A dream job
shifts in salience.

I’m so far
behind the curve
on this.

So. Cal.
must connect with

to manufacture
the present.

the new in-joke

bar-code hard-on,

a catch-phrase
in every segment.


The eye asks if the green,

frilled geranium puckers,
clustered at angles

on each stem,
are similar enough

to stop time.

It has asked this question already.

How much present tense
can any resemblance make?

What if one catch- phrase
appears in every episode?

Does the language go rigid?

The new in-joke
is a pun
pretending to be a bridge.

Now This

Thus the palm is rakish

and the philodendron

Only using such rare words
will justify

my writing this,

my writing ‘my"
or now



The characters are sounds made by various sizes and kinds of engines. They continue to enter indefinitely, in random order, but are always recognized. Each mentions respiration as something that has already occurred.


Is a short time


on ruled paper.

What is supervised
has meaning.

A brow-beating

You can read Stephen Cope’s review of A Wild Salience: The Writing of Rae Armantrout in this issue of Jacket.

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