harris's poems online:







francine j. harris

“language works over information”

       ron silliman




being alone affects the canvas under language. its hold. its black

through the window, the cloth behind the feud. and by the way


it is a feud. a battle about battling. a conflict over

agreement. language works over information.

someone in the audience says:

you mean works over, like in a fight, like a war.


the author hadn't thought of this. says:

                                    well. . . yes

the man sits back in his seat. as in


takes over. as in takes a bullet to a statistic's brain,

pulls along generalities in a dead body wagon.

plants landmines in long redundancies. red herring.

does the editing in hubs of triage, this


the living, barely breathing language, this

the language with no hope for a new organ, now this

over here language could be saved, if only

we had enough oxygen. there is no oxygen. but here,

this language only needs a suture for its passive voice,

a simple interrupted stitch for its drone on spiel. [language takes

information by its hair and rides it


nighttime. it is hardly soft on the reigns, is not some given space

where soft falls. this is always responding in defense of the gallop, in defense

of the whip on the croup. dying is something you have to do on purpose

in words. like it or not, it's some blood banshee wearing a strip of burlap on its forehead.

it's a spelled out gun toter throwing itself on the enemy's sandbag daggers.

you'd think you could say fuck 'em, let 'em think what they want to think

the man in the audience uncrosses his legs.

and his arms go up.

so really language has a bone to pick with information


the author hadn't thought of this. says

                                    well. . . maybe.

but what about the average joe. language

is typical. it only sticks upon repetition.

upon trend. when repeated. when repeated

the lone voice isn't always the one winning over information. just ask

a teenager to read a poem and tell you why the poet wrote it.

'cause he crazy.

the lone voice could be mistaken. everybody says so.


the lonely voice is lonely. listens for someone in the kitchen

clinking dishes. thinks: it could be worse. it could be

a tape for widows, artificially domestic.

plates clinking. bags being emptied. the floor being swept.





. for the absence of

language, there is more than one side.

somebody hold me once, like you held me.

unassuming. don't work over me. not yet. don't

try to win. not yet. don't already be lost. don't be a foregone

conclusion. not a tendency. not a trend. don't already

give up. believe. (i'll fight you for it.) (not yet)

wrestle with it. (i'll fight you for it.) stay. i'll believe it is more than anomaly.

even anomaly could catch on. if repeated. or.

repeated. could become a trend.

language works over information. or. works underneath

it. like a trend. like that which does not bother to fabricate.

to work. that which is the dirt earth housing the explosion


you could say language is really

trying to kill information


for the reduction of dead space, the over and over again suture.

that which is blown apart. before it takes place.

that wound bleeding open, that

limb soaking the ground. that tongue parting

the lips, that heat traveling rooms:


only a trained professional can gather the air with

decision. can work with this much absent language. the medic

begins to feel for the explosion, press for below the ground, below

the housing of blood and. the horizontal mattress suture. heat spells:


            this one to an open bed


heat says:


            this one is gone


heat moves the medic closer to some thumping heart lay apart.

chest blown, mouth tongue ripped out. chest gaping,

organ soaking the ground

so language has nothing to lose

compared to information


the medic leans forward. the author hadn't thought about this: says

well. . . no.

but the eyes are still fluttering. under information.

a kind of anomaly. still working. still trying to move; lone voice

to trend. to live above the intelligence. the flash. in the form

of language. or below information, as in final report. below as a sense

of heat, heat moves the medic's hand, says:


            this one believes. stands to lose something. stitch up the heart.


i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you         2          3          4

i love you        


                                                                                                watch the eyes