Joel Chace

from Times Rhyme


They cannot help imagining that Socrates was making

his mouth into a flute, and puffing away at some prelude

to Athene. “I wrote that,” she said, pointing to her

handwritten copy of Zukovsky’s A. Sentences

in his head used to match those that emerged

from his mouth. Activation of the gaze centers in concert

results in oblique movements whose trajectories

are specified by the relative contribution of

each center. Centuries rhyme. All must clearly understand

the difference between the idea, say, of Peter,

which constitutes the essence of Peter’s mind, and

the idea of the said Peter, which is in

another man, say, Paul. Obligatory

apologizing for the West. Moments before death,

flesh turns off, the little bubble of soul floats away,

and only mind — pure, dazzling arctic landscape — is left.


Joice Heth is not a human being. What purports to be

a remarkably old woman, is simply a

curiously constructed automaton, made up

of whalebone, India-rubber, and springs ingeniously

put together, and made to move at the slightest touch

according to the will of the operator. Over

and over, this. Over the moon she’d gladly go, out of

the cave, away from the peacock-monster and the fly, and

rectify the time to a cow’s thumb. His imagination

will waver; and, with the imagination of future

evenings, he will associate first one, then the other —

that is, he will imagine them in the future,

neither of them as certain, but both as contingent. Spooky

action can occur at a distance. I shall never

forget the grandiose and festive air which so completely

belied the hollowness of that occasion. No one spoke, but

angry, hostile eyes followed every movement I made. And when

I wanted to sing of sorrow, it turned into love:

and so I was divided into love and sorrow. She rests

back with all her might, pebble in a hard-drawn sling.


Y: “I left it eons ago, when radiation started

to leak.” X: “I left just now, but Ted is still back

inside.” Z is the entanglement of all three. No drama

at the event horizon. Information loss

paradox. They pause at their entryway, unwilling to

permit the golden dying of afternoon to relinquish

them. George Ives would have his boys sing in one key

while he accompanied in another; he built

instruments to produce quarter-tones; he played his cornet

over a pond so Charlie could gauge the effect

of space. And can we rightly speak of a beauty which is

always passing away, and is first this and then that;

must not the same thing be born and retire

and vanish while the word is in our mouths?

Joel Chace has published work in print and electronic magazines such as The Tip of the Knife, Counterexample Poetics, Eratio, Otoliths, Infinity’s Kitchen, and Jacket. Most recent collections include Sharpsburg (Cy Gist Press), Blake’s Tree (Blue & Yellow Dog Press), Whole Cloth (Avantacular Press), Red Power (Quarter After Press), Kansoz (Knives, Forks, and Spoons Press), Web Too (Tonerworks), War, and After (BlazeVOX [books]), Scorpions (Unlikely Books), Humors (Paloma Press), and Threnodies (Moria Books).
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the editor of Posit ( 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.