« Anna Elena Eyre | Contents | Ashley Capps »

Annie Guthrie


These pieces are from a collection called “let x be (rogue.)” 


I was thinking about how it sometimes hurts to agree upon things they all say.  How one must be careful in opening the door into the day of language, into idle niceties.  When phrases are repeated, reality is formed.  That is why advertising is successful.  But that is also why we must resist joining any chorus of platitudes. What does it really mean when we say we have to work for a living, for instance?  When we think about what we are saying and what we are listening to we are also protecting the body.  We can hurt ourselves by what we say; what we repeat can often wear us down.  When phrases are repeated reality is formed. We should probably not say that someone can die for his country, for instance.  Is “country” a tangible reality, or is it a changeling of concepts?  If “country” isn’t tangible, the equation fails.  What I mean is, I don’t think there can be a variable for death.  Because you don’t actually get back a country for a brother, do you? Or do I say that because I don’t have war in my hair?  Or is do you get back some perverted version of country when you trade life for it. I don’t know.  These kinds of speech acts must be interrogated.  Because it hurts to make decisions based on readily accepted verbiages that are equated with reality. I’d much rather ask language than use it.  Is there really such a thing as the poet, and does the writerly really exist? Those terms hurt the rest of me who cannot be reduced and does not want to identify nor be identified simply in order to calm the collective who love equivalence, who love it when you perform your expected task.   How much of what we say is idle recitation? When we plug in variables in order to recite truth, is that politics? If it is the city’s doing is to make language do math, what does that mean about how we govern?   If what we say is the city, is the body politic, then why is the government a phantom limb? Why is that we can feel it, but we can’t move it?  What dull helplessness repeated is rendering the reality lifeless?  Concepts take on a life of their own when used/steered without applied consciousness.  Take “the market.”   I wonder what shape does its shadow have?  I don’t get it and I need to scrutinize its form or else I am in danger of accepting the presence of an oppressive lexicon that is shaping my reality.  I was thinking when I wrote these writings about how I should remember that I am creating this government every day with words I am listening to, agreeing upon, or saying…this small government of my everyday, and this large one built of figureheads and concepts.  I like it when language demonstrates, when it enacts. It means there’s somebody home.  I’m trying to get back there.





*reversing the spell



Times on hard fall the country.

Dues their everyone must pay

and get ahead yourself kill, these days 

to work for a living you must

sure old age provide for

because compromises make everybody.




Expression cannot persist

in a passive body.


Am I afraid? Feel my pulse.


My wits ends are falling out.

Does my vote count?


Belief systems in the belfry

bat the eyes, as flattery:


doing in what I believe.


The market rises,

apparent heir to impotency


as numb this limb



*After Alexander Bain’s Mind & Body: Theories of their Relation






Revolution works a routine? Itself, its ends

it needs? The ends kept inside, a question


oh oval other


what emptiness means?

supple volatile, dingy –


am I weather’d? Am I guilty?

Numbers in a calendar, limbs


of nothing’s margin, the quantity halved,

the query thrown? To make a move,


I halve to process to move –


Can I go? Can I get? 

How long of a turn do I get?


What emptiness means is a question.

Am I ferocity? I am resolute?


A question means by its work. Oh,

think it over.






Thrust up every revolutionary

ever made. 


No body can rise up and take a place

not already carved out good


with the thought of that body:

the ends in the grain.


Raise a platform made of good wood.

Would the kindling –


and piles of bindings and page ashe

to sift and to carry.






The judge thinks to govern sympathy



even brutes feel consideration



touched or turned by human hands



heads of wheat evenly spaced



ellipsis in the field



the jury lured by sequence






pile up

in history

like shavings

from an original figure

now indiscernible

if not forgotten





The evening is placed

in twinkling format.  


Listeners flank the plinth

inside the script.


The speechwriter’s planchette

columns up the papers. 


A scribe spikes the microphone

with a punch.


The figurehead takes the podium -

applause is written in… drop


shadows and coloring in… font

figures a popular villain :


the news is in

the frame.




As if everything we owned was ours

we spread a blanket over the telling.

No one picnicked with grace,

but the picnickers reflected grace

to one another in agreement.

The feast was well-done, we said.



remember in that underwater 3d flick


that eye-light at sea bottom


that dim kingdom, those sweaty eels


a dentaled…wrongness in skin


 teeth and eye the single light


creature the meaning


a depth subtracted from night


(not a word of this

will make it to the surface

from here)


(The certainty/ ends

are kept down here)


does this explain the calm


thirty minutes down


press out the sound


finned artifacts


their feat of bodies


make, their kind of song:


I am so big,

I can’t ever



« Anna Elena Eyre | Contents | Ashley Capps »