Poetic ideal

If it were possible to write a poem that vanished
completely from the page as it was read, so
that it would last for just a single reading
by whoever found it first, her eyes
& silent lips inadvertently erasing
each word as s/he partook, gaze
like a flame moving through
the flesh of some effigy
for the ineffable, ah–
this would be that
poem, this screen
that page & you
that dear

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. super-cali=frag///i.aliz…istic..ielastic e..ah d.O.shish.


  2. Thanks for reading, y’all. See Teju Cole’s miracle speech blog for more unbalanced and mutually contradictory statements on poetics.


  3. This is beautiful and somehow gives me a déja vu feeling. Not because of any other poet’s words but rather that fugitive sense of recognition…something I can’t quite give a name to.


  4. Oh. Oh.

    And thank you, dear poet, for caring so much about the point at the end of the triangle.


  5. more unbalanced
    I meant “more, unbalanced.” They are not necessarily any more whacked than my ideas.

    Bill – Cool pictures – thanks for sharing.

    Natalie – Thanks. Let us know if you remember what it is this reminds you of!

    Beth – Natsume Soseki, the great Japanese novelist, once wrote that the artist lives in a three-cornered world (as opposed to the ordinary four corners of everyone else). I’m not sure he ever specified where the corners were located, though, or what happened to that missing corner…


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