Greek Avant Garde Poetry


Eleni Sikelianou

The Hand Therapist

In the hand world, all sens-
ation is sutured at the tips.

Flavus digitalus profundus
A chiasmus, a crossing, she says, we call it
Zone 2, No Man's Land, tap
taps the knuckle.  I know
horses are making the crossing from the
superficial to the deep
tendons where they make the 
X after the bone, thirsty.
She wants me to know but maybe
She doesn't want me to know too much.

	When I describe the world
	this is about the body.

Your finger is making layers and layers of scarring
like 40 strata of stiff Saran wrap, enough
for New Jersey.  You're making
enough for 10 bodies, I'm trying
to slow that drapery down and
smooth it so 
things can slide around.

Anne told me Cecil Taylor once swaddled himself
in Saran wrap and wandered the halls
of the Boulderado otherwise
naked.  I believe
the manager asked him to leave or
at least return to his room. 

The body can manage a sliver of glass
but there are other foreign entities
that flummox it, the Hand Therapist says and my hand
heats on the table like
Cecil Taylor's wrapped physique
under the ceiling lights.

She taps my finger's tip
This is the most sensate
part of your body.  Open.

In the hand world
she says again
the tendons cross deep in the flesh
She is my Hand Therapist
with an accent she brought with her from Virginia
just as you would a pocket full of acorns.

Dreamt: split rail fences, healing scars,
railroad tracks.

The next time I see her the Hand
Therapist cries and
tells me to wear gloves
all the time.  Then she says
your scar tissue feels
real good.  Must feel like Cecil
Taylor in cellophane tapping
on 88 tuned drums but
my stitched finger drops
the stitch into
decay and can
no longer open the good jar of tomatoes.

What damage the hand can
wreak on the world the world
gives back to it.

First published in Timber.

SOME OF US got lucky

	   Some of us got sick

     Some of us got mothers
	   Some of us got rich

Some of us learned everything

       from the cities stretching below the skies

		where women & children & men desire

  Proud Bird (Diner, LAX)		whatever it is they desire

		& what have a right to

		what get.

First published in the Jack Kerouac School 40 Year Anniversary Anthology