006.1: Andrew K. Peterson:: Part I from Bonjour Meriwether and the Rabid Maps 006

For Andrew K. Peterson, place refers to two things: geographical location and the observation of one's surroundings. This longer serialized poem alternates between specific coordinate locations: "42°N 07' 44.24" / 70°W 45' 9.13"" and sensual interactions with surroundings: "Concealed timber of these rivers, these beds." Though the coordinates are hyperspecific, they work to dis-locate the reader who likely is unable to, without seeking outside help, connect the coordinates to a known location. We keep asking Where are we? as each set of coordinates arises. The descriptions likewise prevent us from being grounded in a specific understanding that we are in a specific named place. Peterson reminds us that we can only know exactly where we are if we stay in the same place and never move. He chooses, instead, to journey forth, echoing René Char: "How can we live without the unknown in front of us?"

Check back Tuesday for Part II. Andrew Wessels

Part I

42°N 02′ 17.47″ / 70°W 41′ 20.53″

Concealed timber of these rivers, these beds. Too heavily laden minutes of detachment’s fair day. Compelled to punish for an unbecoming manner at the ball under breeze, a star of mouths examines these arms, the pinnacles, these feet. The cliff at said cave; seven houses lift a fine field open. To speak a voice you posed as being.

42°N 07′ 44.24″ / 70°W 45′ 9.13″

A revival, a bleeding wolf, exemption from guard at the core of discovery. Collecting firewood and forks, performs the flames of our passing through the mouth to a personal signal. Wind shifting.

What man gone at the mouth remade by some lunar limb. A willow killed a track. Potatoes, broad leaf, bread loaf, ground apple. Piled at my artificial borders, falling into it, well fed, and I turn my course outward from these vegetable walls.

42°N 08′ 44.56″ / 70°W 43′ 32.61″

Let’s get right down to the meat of it. And a boogie-woogie, too. The lover as explorer. After a giddy lip-sync, “Come on, let’s plow.”

In the dew-heavy moonlight, a cavalier silhouette casting his nets. Topography of taking, unequal altitudes. Marking one’s name and the day of the month and year in conspicuous places. Grass covered rivers carry all my names to you.

41°N 38′ 37.08″ / 70°W 23′ 32.27″

In the bend making out the hills. Oak oar, star-prairie.

I took streams of running streams. We lay on opposite shores, examining our arms. I proceed through to the mouth, fragile in a glass storm, dashed to pieces in an instant. I plead guilty to sleep, one lashes at sunset. Indian Summer in the heart startles the floating bear.

43°N 04′ 15.04″ / 70°W 45′ 50.05″

Alphabet graves in your hair,
plums the rising hand.