Poetry / Isobel O’Hare

:: 13 ::


Among the bleeding branches I hear sentences of my solilo-
quay. Have you heard the broken limbs of the world-tree knock-
ing, knocking? Here, joy is sternest accuser, a fire that tortures
the wet wood.

I tried to die, one wretched voice declared. There is no death.
I left my body hanging behind me, I sought the void. My body
hangs before me, immortal image. Men still remember. Their
prayers rise from the ground and hold me to the everlasting
promise, to the Adam!

Obsessd poet! another cried. Your desire devours my heart, a rat
tearing at its mate in the rubble of the world. Let us go! The
giant Adam must not awaken, for he would claim even our
ravaged bodies from the consuming black.

Do you not see that dread as well as joy lights the lamps of his
uplifted form? stretchd upon a geometry that rips the wounds
from which, black blood, we flow?

          The Geometry, I saw, oblivious, knew what? of these sunder-
ings? arranged its sentences intolerant of black or white.

No! No! Say that there are two worlds, a man declared. I shot
half my head away.

A woman cried, No! There is but one. I live in one world, and it
is black.

My soul, the man said, swings on hinges of destroyd face. Have
you not seen Yggdrasill, the Abattoir? The human meat is hang-
ing from every bough. Have you no pity that you count the days
of Man?

          You took my life, the woman said. You will not let me die.
Your aroused fire leaves shadows in my heart that whisper to the
black into which I go.



From the writer

:: Account ::

hinge, my erased title of Robert Duncan’s original book The Opening of the Field, is a project that began when studies of the poetics of breath led me to Duncan’s writing. I started working with his book Roots and Branches, the title of which I erased to Roar, and I quickly became obsessed.

hinge has taken many forms over the past nine months as I have experimented with various methods to visually represent the erased text and the book as a physical artifact. After playing with white-out, printed transparencies, and cut-up versions of the pages, I settled on this simple black and grey layout that allows the original text to exist in conversation with the erasure.

This work is also heavily influenced by the knowledge that Duncan and the poet Charles Olson had a close friendship, one in which they developed a mode of poetic practice they referred to as “field composition.” It struck me during my work that many of their ideas about the composition of poetry are as highly relevant today as they were in the mid-twentieth century. In our culture that is increasingly saturated with “content,” and where poets find themselves in a constant battle between art and financial stability, it seems that the field has been forgotten. It is my hope that, in some small way, hinge will serve as a reminder.


Isobel O’Hare received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Oakland, California, with two cats and another poet. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Map Literary, FORTH, Dirty Chai Magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Numero Cinq, and The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review.