Steven Seidenberg

from plain sight

Eschaton or atrophy—if one insists on sheltering behind some meaning stasis, why not choose the stasis of depravity, of corruption; of the final…the intractable negation of the same…

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I have endeavored, so you see, not only to indite my peevish gaze into existence, but also to avow the world that fashions its forbearance at the threshold of that barren span. You must in turn have patience, although precisely for what purpose—and to what end—I’m not ready yet to say. You must have patience with yourself, and thereby nothing that has moved me will seem trifling in its nature, or tedious to the pretense of my project—or its vagrant aim…

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In order to be generous, one must have something to give. One must grow hair before one can have lice…

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Go ahead, laugh with me or at me, skip a page or two and start again with more companionable jargon; it is your right to blot the pages with tears or linger long and without focus on the cover or the binding, only—keep your temper. Of long faces there are two sorts—that of grief’s drudge and that of the imposter. Only you know which is yours…

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A destiny destroyed is a destiny fulfilled. The freedom from all longing, from the connate will…

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To realize the necessity of failure is to embrace a private madness, the enigma of an infinite singularity; to arrogate the paradox of limit without border, of border without bound. That I thought the immemorial passivity of turning back an invitation to the primacy of indigence was my attempt…my futile attempt to counter madness with madness, with the frenzy of reaction; to controvert accession to the stasis of catastrophe with a catastrophic ferment, and thus replace the itch with a remediable scale…

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Disabused of both illusion and the lack of illusion—the obligation to be nothing ever again. What more could you ask for? Don’t answer. What more could you want? What less…

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My mood clots quickly; I have seen the death of my children from a distance, as a figure in a crowd awaiting the suicide’s leap. Of other indiscretions…well, what is there to say. We all have forebears. Even blood spots can lay claim to primogeniture, though what that has to do with it…I will neither say what that has to do with it nor admit that it has anything to do with it. Let this empty exegesis both suffice us as a model—a fundamental principle—of explication, if you will, and present the measured foreground…the frontispiece of our compelled repletion in the giving of the given, the tautology of the found…

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What distinguishes my life from the lives of others is not so much the fact of my abjection as its fatality. I’m surely not the first to take my impulses for quiddities, nor is there any reason to believe such feats of reasoning would have otherwise gone missing from the catalogue of idioms had I but once forgotten to remember their elision…

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This is my minimum—who has granted me another? The naming of a surface is already an assertion of its limits—of its measure; the distinction of its status as some next-to to which I have been apportioned the most commonplace of adits, of expedient deferrals—that which is presented to those dullards who have made their way from one revaluation of the value of all values to the next, and then the next. It’s not so much to mention for a first course, not so little either, but…

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The welts on a cadaver hold more promise of arousal than any further cant of my incendiary idols, but for all the fatal prospects I’ve indifferently contused into this palace of departures, I will not risk the dudgeon of returning to the prime. Fatal for whom, you ask—So be it. I ply you with benevolence, with the pledge of winsome pleasures, and what do you give me? Riddles. What am I to do with riddles…

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The pretext of stimulus, the patience to give voice to an illimitable silence. Suddenly, everything must appear; even absence seems ephemeral, a mere anticipation—of the mere…

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They climb the peaks and swim the seas in search of El Dorado, disabused of pity and consenting saturnalia by their ditch into the baffle of pecuniary slog. We crawl and they step over us; we think their shadows vultures. Will they notice that the decadents have started to unfurl their stench, their next return to molder? That our last chance is upon us? That we’ve rolled back on our heels? So let them come; we have no better care than that our flesh falls off tomorrow, as though the master scavenger prefers a vintage gruel. Let them mouth the supple bits that decompose with the best savor, that slip past glugging gullet while the tongue lolls to and fro. The suppliant sees last the ventured promontory bulged against the pleasures of engorgement, the discharge and deceit of every vulture felled…

Steven Seidenberg’s works include Situ (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Itch (RAW ArT Press, 2014), and the forthcoming plain sight (Roof Books, 2020) and Anon (Omnidawn, 2021). His book of photographs, Pipevalve: Berlin, was released by Lodima Press in 2017, with another collection, Riforma Fondiaria: Abandoned Lives of the Italian South, due out from Contrasto in 2020.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.