Like teeth. Like teeth that gnaw through
the tasteless fibre of silence. Like
the teeth of a ruminant, whose stomachs
(As many as there are points on the compass)
convert silence, this endless page from sea to shining —
into not fullness,
not usefulness fulfilling waste space,
but space, a chamber for sound.
The teeth of the type chew through, convert
solid stacks of cellulosic silence into an empty room of sound.
A room secured with minimal wooden furniture, locked across all doors.
The furniture is flesh, is the ephemeral grove
of poets growing here around the press, waving their leafy hands,
and the type is the clearing, the empty center of
the room, the sounding chamber, gouged, the forest
becomes a violin —
& the wooden fibres of silence
& the mute furniture
become a wooden stockade
around an occupation that may seem to be made of metal teeth,
but is really an occupation of air, an air fort,
occupied by the black words rising like a flock —
Like smoke? Or like an army —
Robert McKay is from Burlington, Vermont. His first collection is Cities of rain (Honeybee Press, 2012). Robert has recent poems in Siren, Measure, and others, and criticism in Visions of Joanna Newsom (Roan Press, 2009) and The Occupied Oakland Tribune. He is associate editor of The Salon, a letterpress journal.