Alice Notley








Archival Quality I Remember


Times when people embody psychic events yours
before your eyes as at the CollecTed publication read-
ing everyone who read enacting my life a dense
and complex dream, like actors. Those who were
still alive; someone like Joe interior his collected
Everything. I'm talking about the play

between present and past, matter and idea at point where
the dissolution of the categories becomes a vision.
That was 2007? but in 1970 on LSD I went to
a benefit to Free Timothy Leary and saw the principals
onstage—variously acting out—Jerry Rubin
Alan Watts Jimi Hendrix—as dream bodies or

actors in a play if you only knew which one. Hendrix
who in my anecdote stared into my LSD grand eyes
was the closest to “natural”—really didn’t be-
long at this event nor did I. On LSD you see
the space around people and how they don’t know
what they are. This sort of real unreality

like when someone dies or a death is announced
and electrified you turn into another—a body on-
stage in Greek drama barren a stiff dance
you have that mask on. The mask that’s un-
der the daily one? I like to go to plays since
about 2011 because I seem to have descended further

down where no one can see, the real body
sometimes at art exhibits or in old buildings one
thinks ‘this feels like the real’... as poetry is that.
The part of the Cluny that’s Roman ruins maybe
below that. I'm dreaming lately of a house that
never existed, that is mine next to the Alley House

it contains a smooth grey wood-burning stove—
energy. A poem is something you can have
you read it and you have it. I remember
springtime in various cities where it existed
a quiet body of ecstasy and underneath you the
observer still the magnetic no one supposed mat-

erial but invisible as the one you are are you
I remember running down the street in Iowa City
barefoot so excited with spring its purposelessness
outside our planet. In 2017, everything at the
same time because the furthest-down body is loose
I know when you act, surrounded by the at-

tention that makes you exist and which when you
go you won’t take with you. I live where no one
from your world is and what if I’m making what you
can have—even when you go? because it
knows the air, inscribed on it or spoken in-
to it the real body’s texture how spring comes.





What Is A Thing


Of all the things that can go wrong      what is a thing
which ones cause me to see castle-battlement
colored formations on the periphery of my
eyes I'm not telling      but loopy I mean zany
vision's interesting      ‘what are you thinking about’
different parts or areas of me are thinking
the conscious one that writes
that has to draw from a boundless obscure cache
and one place dreams
and one place sings
without knowing how      this is obvious
what memory are you trying to recover
not reupholster      evasion I walk into no near
an as early as 8th century church rue du Louvre
Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois
down the street from which a private de-
tective agency advertising itself in neon
Duluc Détective
there's also a shop nearby for model ships EOL Modélisme      I’m
using I use the church
for For the Ride a poem still unpublished in 2017
but this is oh 2010      Also Monet’s Waterlilies other
arrondissement because the micro-bits can come from any-
thing The Glyph I call it holds all in place

we are leaving earth for another dimension
is it too a self area though tremendous full of
imagined and real dead voices characters and my brother
you are all my brother      no Albert is a particular
dead man I am healing every day
each church is built on another older site endless
layering of who you’d know yourself to be
if The Consciousness could be released into
all of it do you hear how this is a poem
different from speaking because the micro-
tones sound holy even when humorous

There is construction near the and the
near the and the trees and something yellow
I never go inside them the churches I like to
take energy from the ground or if I’d
enter sit down planting my feet it’s some-
thing magnetic in the shadowy parts of air
and nothing happens
except in the poem
which is profoundly scary if you stay

with it what part of the
and the micro-bits of reality swarm and regather
St what of St Chaos I’ll collage a typeset
visage would an extraterrestrial have
to communicate with
what
what do you say O tiny bees joined
into a shape for a somehow mien in outer space

the castle battle-
ments note
structural atoms blue and orange-red
usually a visual ‘aberration’ for half an hour
just like everything else they are
acquired in my 60s or recovered
from anywhere anything everywhere my
personal definition of chaos
‘You’re supposed to have a life’
I’m supposed to be reinventing Chaos





Who


It’s possible to remember what poems re-
Member for you      Or read them just read them
There’s one I haven’t read in a long time
That will recall 2005 a hot spring with blue flowers
Though it’s a story with characters noirish
A world of micromemories it says I want love

I’m trying for a different
City City Of I could fall down roll down that hill
From Belleville the Belleville of Monsieur Malaussène
You can walk up to l’église Saint-Jean-Baptiste is it
Bookstore Indian resto I haven’t in ages
Or will this poem now recall standing with Chris Tysh

Watching women do yoga postures on grass
All over the world      I once walked here with Doug
There’s supposed to be a really good restaurant
In 2005 I knew more damage I breathed it in
Recall to me nothing till I know what it’s for
I could be on another planet a mineral

Their thoughts sparkle net of quiet rigid-
Ity unless you are one      it’s another speech
If speech means existence and why not
If anything can mean anything Alice we’re sunk
I'm changing all that remember?
Remember the franc remember worrying about

Doing the customary correctly not only here
Because I’m not really a human
Shoes why do they wear shoes
Why do they covet each other’s whatever
Why do they have to be born why can’t they
First be lava then harden      or just assume some particles

Nothing has happened for a long time
Not even something what are you inscribing
Continuous on a stele or what’s exhaled try-
Ing too hard to be events that are nameable
Are you with the others come home on the métro
I have to watch over them no matter what




Based in Paris since 1992, poet Alice Notley has authored more than forty books, including the feminist epic, The Descent of Alette (1992), Disobedience (2001), For the Ride (2020), and Runes and Chords (2021), a collection of artwork. She edited the reissue of Ted Berrigan’s The Sonnets (2000) and with her sons, The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan (2005). Coming After, her book of essays on poetry, appeared in 2005.

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