015.1: Pat Nolan:: The Archeology of Me & The Red Wheelbarrow School of Poetry 015

Pat Nolan asks what it is that we seek—the object or the metaphysical purpose we attach to and fetishize beyond the object? As the two poems below unfold, we watch Nolan seek out gods, objects on a desk, his self, and that ever-elusive "it." As objects are found, a fissure forms between what he wants to find and what he ends up finding. What he wants, we initially think, is meaning. What he finds, in the end, is either an object or the absence of an object. The second poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow School of Poetry", openly announces its Williams lineage as a poetics of the phenomenal, "No ideas but in things!" When Nolan approaches an idea, this 'meaning,' he ends up holding nothing, "the possession of meaning / slips through my fingers", with only the physical object, the soft leather gloves remaining tangible in his hand. There is no meaning or truth beyond the object, just the object. The phenomenal object is the constant in the "state of constant / negotiations" that we find filling up our world. Andrew Wessels

The Archeology of Me

I am ancient
I see from my past

the lame jokes and nervous
giggles before the inevitable

the old wine
drinking red ink

I know myself

to improve is to doubt
the original notion

I like who
I am
            (most of the time)

repetition’s layer building
a mound of telling

the archeology of me
begins with trying to find
something on my desk

defined by scraps of paper
daubed with ink
(artistically of course)

because we conceived of them
we have become like the gods
but now they won’t have
anything to do with us

immune to
the contagions of enthusiasm
a gray morning passes swiftly

I have overstayed
my welcome on the couch

the apple yet to turn
shiny with wet

The Red Wheelbarrow
School of Poetry

In a state of constant
I cross another bridge

wander the house
looking for something

drawer after drawer
room to room
not finding it

only her soft leather
evening gloves
ultimately sensual

the possession of meaning
slips through my fingers