022.1: Geoffrey G. O'Brien:: from Metropole 022

When approaching a work with the beauty and complexity of Metropole, it always helps to have the author’s own words as a guide. Geoffrey G. O’Brien describes Metropole as a “40-page prose poem written in a hyper-regular iambic meter…Metropole therefore tests whether or not a strict prosody and a prose disjunction can touch each other productively…”. O’Brien has been generous enough to provide The Offending Adam with 8 pages from Metropole. In the spirit of this expansive work, The Offending Adam will be releasing two pages per day between Monday and Thursday. These pages will be added to the original post rather than released as separate posts, paralleling O’Brien’s technique of suspending sentences until another paragraph or another page is added.

Each segment seems comfortable standing alone or part of a larger structure. O’Brien manages to temper conceptual parameters with a delightful array of images that range from humorous (“…civics is a game of heads and tails removed. Then I would fall asleep to prove it”) to haunting (“…decides to draw between all wounds a line when walking past the calendar”). These images evince controlled but powerful shifts of emotion. Within the concept, drama ensues.

O’Brien affords this drama incredible breadth. For all the talk of neighborhoods and eastern states, Metropole continually widens the gyre of its scope, spinning fragments of globalization, poetics, and personal narrative into an always surprising but meticulously rendered work. Indeed, the marriage of meter with the New Sentence suggests a fractal rather than Euclidean shape: it grows from an equation rather than conforming to a shape. O’Brien points out the name Metropole musically evokes “metronome”. Meter serves a similar role. But O’Brien’s performance lies between sentences, between paragraphs, between pages. In short, rupture becomes rapture. Ryan Winet

from Metropole


Peripheries stream by, the hair attempting to keep pace with aftershocks a modest laughter sends its way, a room supposedly beyond the windowsill, the head content within a neck’s quite general song. Part nurse, part soldier, citizens protect the whole and so they fall in love with neighborhoods, with they allowed to mean all things and neighborhoods outlasting supersession, verging on the musical in overlapping rising voices from next door, the angers that have flocked

Together to examine each the other’s fluttering edge, I used to tell myself this story: civics is a game of heads and tails removed. Then would fall asleep to prove it. Even drifting down the storefronts to a private square, I got concerned about her chances in a world where angry pipings cross without regard. Only snow machines can quiet them then only long enough resumption goes withstandable. Most thoughts confirm the season they occur in ends. The driver silently agreed

I’m not so sure I know why anybody pays the fare. We grew up in the 70s or 80s then some fractures rang. I won’t eat anything capable of song and you, you’ve grown the short invisible lead that pulls you from an appetite. A lazy panic like the line I’m trying to remember loving quoting it for you: the flower absent from these men in evening coats are ice a step away from them espousing freely. To get citation right you’d have to read past everything but be



Someone other than the one who keeps the books, I use first person and the second tags along. You’d need to have the contracts long before your birth, be born on Sunday, translate living as the sentences that stopping on a dime go on. Do you recall how learning when alone felt much like leaving eastern states? The goal of reading prose was hold a stranger’s gaze until its coins had shaken you then ran to mother in the other room, but swap in jail for goal and getting off the bus too late

For other room, replace the words with prose with everything a walk across the park at 86th could be, the sentence with unplanned parades dispersing slowly blocks forgotten habits take new forms. Who are these men the winter streets impose, quotations? Typically, I take the nearest public transit, ripped from unknown thoughts by trains arriving go on walking through the snow, remember, stop, turn back and yes, it’s Lincoln Center. In falling right outside a lamppost’s glare I lost what I went back for every seven days

The index crashed between the pillars of the week. You’ll find a massive game of solitaire in progress underneath the window cops were laughing with the doorman in the dusk. I’m thinking of a statue going shopping in New York but stopping somewhere privately forgetting to perform. Each task contains this threat: you print the boarding pass invades the house. But he remembers holidays instead, decides to draw between all wounds a line when walking past the calendar, beginning with parked cars emitting outlines under snow



Where faces keep invisible they imitate one’s own debris. Their project like a flag in flight each winter headed south confused. The words emitted keep improvisations half at bay. Even windows are to-do lists under ice. The idea would be to document the way pedestrians perform a vandalism of attention’s properties. A word that once had meant resetting broken parts (an algebra), then any restoration underway, now means Times Square cleaned up, risk management. So what I thought to say united in

A stranger passing mannequins looks like the friends reflections overlapping make of her. The fate of choruses: to be replaced by sounds of registers and automatic weapons, littleness transacting with the ear. I’d only say that to a man on sick leave lying down inside us, come back soon. One foot upon the courthouse steps, they end within “the how the day went,” spinning off in girlish wonder over whether there are ways to move unnoticed while asleep. If stone steps succeed then why not

Stay in bed the better part of days spent practicing the color changes trees to accusations. The plaza’s three performance halls are clad in travertine, calling out to those who cross against the light. I wanted to retain the European Starling’s angry self-sufficiency (released in Central Park in 1890), streaked and dotted streamlined beings multiple enough it seems beside the point to measure. Wind at certain intersections often blows their song away in sagging loops they make a comedy’s



Indignant notes on territorial intent, I dedicate this early work to propositions overturned, branches blowing free of ice, my friends and any children they might have, the dogs allowed offleash in Oakland and Sunol. Here I start believing song describes the powerline or patio that hosts it, minus any notions of terrain. Big forces migrate through the little games released into a populace: Three Strikes laws, missing children, ads in which the happy finish off each other’s sentences

Seen from above the private life looks like a dot, but feels more like coordinated spheres. They stay related death releases them. Her voice both bored and low, detaining strangers temporarily, as on a bus at night. Walgreens bloom wherever looked for while we climb the flattened stairs. A kind of thunderous tinkling when you grip the parts you love respond. Thing makes an anagram of night comes back, unchanged. The time was any evening after work, the small one getting started though inclined

To fill the cracks with comedy I picked a navy corduroy in which I would appear before the judge; he had an antique pistol on his desk I played with while he married strangers. Project: in paragraphs of novel length proceed to summarize collective dreams. While walking past the brownstones where they’re filming next year’s comedy I realize any speech would cause the doors to open windows on the upper floors stay shut. You’d have to live across the street to know how that one ends



In sentences of three to seven years’ duration staring out I married glass in which I saw the others weren’t free of problems they pursued. And almost like they walked together, how the midtown shoppers went about their business. I think of these pedestrians as orchestrations played on stationary bike, the ballet lessons of a class now anxious grains of light I live in California, lime trees rock doves hop around in, currant scones. The early years pink tags their vandals left behind on brick still visible. And looping back

She tests resistances by skating on the wrong side of the ice. I’m told this varnish can appear (at certain thicknesses) a shade of blue on colder days to think one’s way among obliging subtleties because the project, built by those who’ve disappeared, is all about the cracks. Precipitation, late fees from utilities, the same as little knocks expecting welcome. Dreamt I was a guide through misremembered verses filled with living men who then were set ablaze, the thing they made enough of heat and light to read

By now the city parks sleep standing up in spring the drug of choice politeness. They trust their vigilance if one forgets about the redder portion of the spectrum, nearest branches absently arranged. Today I might prefer examining the wall without a break, I’ve given up the window waking had returned a public life. A note was wrapped around the brick. You’re meant to hear as well as see what passing hours bring, that stress reactions in the feet of hurrying pedestrians resemble maps



Without the sound off, families televised distribute twice the information. Muted, they still glow with what the walk to work could look like if you drift off first. Ingenious that the face would capture both these processes, could swap in others, wake, and any anger hadn’t disappeared. Yes, I’m saying friendship sleeps in even motivated speech, adjusting public shocks. A task: endure neglect from passersby but love the painting they compose unconsciously, my laugh the errands separating those who’d walked in step

Within surroundings so familiar, shorn of reasons why they wouldn’t be, the walk flows private rivers past a lie of things, the Oakland docks, their disposition toward the sun. Why let horizon happen that consistently. If patterned ways of getting mad at pain that can’t be felt directly fall within my scope now limited to trying anyway. Inaudible, the struggles of the grid, though blinking cursors almost have a sound. Basically my orders are I check the front door’s locked and night’s a country. Yes

Other worlds appear where monologue leaves off. Like saying I don’t need you to your image in a film, embarrassing. The auditory still hallucinations haven’t stopped yet where your speech is called for heard or hear potentials of a rhythm I insist can be revisited a second time. A stressful crossing, trees that don’t survive indoors, apartments friends sublet to friends of friends, equivalent departures. That any time refers to any other’s yesteryear meant also every three years could



Remind me of the lines I’d like to quote again? They manage both the crisis and responses varied, falling into three main groups. The city can resist no metaphor until the poor have left and that they never do. If even small disaster strikes I’ll banish everything, respond without reacting (you can live downstairs), will walk beside you unobtrusively. In other words, you’ll have the room you need to build an ugly laugh from hypotheticals denied. Insisting to the end they aren’t old, this dream of pronouns

I can’t use because the color runs. Against my better judgment thought to sing of preferences, inclining towards the floating bags that people carry on. Their distribution spells a sign my paranoia’s justified the bus in stopping rhythmically at three block intervals determines us. I mean that from a window city life bears witness to the industry of bending joyful heads. Crowded in their giving up the hours pass inspection of containers at the ports, for now just one in twenty pulled

Over to the left misorchestrations, little shocks where two of them keep getting in each other’s way, as though directed, while a third looks on amused. Looking back I am the third, awake but like a background thrives that hasn’t happened yet. I speak to friends about the story they instead begin describing prices falling where they are, amazing verticalities the earth records in shifts to change the subject back. Years of this and you’ll be muttering wet wind in coastal grasses always works no more than going to



A state it’s only common sense to walk around in unaware my screaming wasn’t music. Yet democracy demands the better part of managers, wishes disciplined retelling autumn depths of system degradation taking place. Her mirror-image turns to serve a customer arrives at facingness. From East to West much windier than yesterday sent fallen spinning through exchanges in the tunnel in the park, leaves disappearing waves a troubled sleep returns. The power of the screen is colored

Filters legendary for their alterations of a room, even gardens seem to boil seen through bars if moving past them. Not only can you now say nothing back to these transmissions, but then pride yourself on knowing they can’t hear you still suspect the opposite as sun steals up the scaling of both thoughts. The show lasts thirty minutes of internal motions unpredictable as flame: a public’s two dimensions projected through the glass. At first they talked beyond the surface of the screen

Through dimness not unlike a motor’s blended sounds I’d dreamt Manet was wrong, there was a way to dodge the businessmen in crowds, but moving like this took more years than anyone expected, only happened there, and then I woke up certain I possessed somatic names in which real rest would be subsumed or sat content beyond reliable horizon. Cities are the better part of sleeplessness but misapplied is what I’d sing to daughters if I had them. Now awake