001.3: Jennifer Sweeney:: Preface & Old Town Square 001

I have never been quite sure what ‘epistemological’ means, and even after a short foray in search of a definition on the internet, now I think I am less sure. But the word comes to mind when reading Jennifer Sweeney’s poems, “Preface” and  “Old Town Square.” The poet’s work questions the limits of knowing, yet somehow seems so sure of those limits.  Sweeney’s work forces the conditional to become concrete, but only for a moment, until that concrete again dissolves into the sea, undulations, threads, and strings.  Imagine holding a cinderblock, if every piece of sand and glass were visible and it weighed almost nothing. Nik De Dominic


You could say heavy as an elephant
but not to the elephant
whose thunder is a lean O
as her speed makes a wind
across the diehard plain
and the flags of her ears
undulate and slap
like rockweed
against the tide—
but not to the rockweed
whose undulations depend
on the long note of sleep
that makes the sea,
those flickering silhouettes
knee-deep in moon-shavings
who know nothing of elephants.

Old Town Square

Death shakes his hourglass at noon.
The cobblestone maze sways with accents.

I lose direction.
Lightning threads the sky,

a sea of marionettes float in slow motion.
Hollow limbs rooted to tiny strings

and those heavy sleeping heads
condemned to a smile or frown.

Voices wash over,
words I will never understand.

An anonymous love swells and empties
for everything I do not know.

A string tugs memory, wrist.
My story keeps me treading the same air.