Unfollowed Figment / by Lyn Hejinian

Useless lighthouse, and the bucket on the beach, the tattered begonias
Forget examples–there’s not an entity or detail around that isn’t more
   than a mere example
What’s truly funny?
Once upon a time there was a mouse, and there was a cactus and a
   pair of very small rubber boots with a hole in the sole of the left one,
   and now that I think back I remember that there was a baby on a
   barge in a lake full of flowers, and out of these there’s a story to
   weave and probably more than one
The music changes at the mantel, the bassoonist is baffled, the
   synchronizer fails
Rickety marble, wet wood, the road narrowing into the distance and
   then turning around a rock
Is it empty good writing, is it research, resurgence, repartee?
8, 9, 10, 11, minus 31, 8
A stranger creates an occasion
Lewd silver sea, your bigness carries barges as noon stands in grass
See, I got cops–or they got me; so says the melancholy memoirist
   from the anarchy of her dreams
Clear is the sojourn
In the stiff air, down the unbalanced wind, over dusty culverts,
   women bear their hot cells of benevolence
Are all wonders small?
About This Poem

“This poem is one of a series, all of them elegiac in intention, and subject to the strange forces of mourning that let loose illogical developments, into impossible configurations of thought. The poem is built of non-sequiturs, because that’s what’s left in the wake of the death. We cannot follow the dead, whether they are persons or ideas. Instead we remain, but in a situation that, in their absence, makes no sense.”

–Lyn Hejinian


Lyn Hejinian is the author of numerous books of poetry. A single volume re-release of her books, My Life and My Life in the Nineties was published this year by Wesleyan University Press. Hejinian is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lives in Berkeley where she teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.

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