Lawrence, Kansas

31 October 2007

Five Poems

Slipped Out
In What Hand
Sixth Cosmogony
Seventh Cosmogony

About Judith Roitman



Slipped out

Tongue undeserved like popcorn
& what thing in the middle of
her trajectory
her rigid moment
mashed like popcorn & death also wanting
whose words
who says this today
whose tongue slipped out like a walk
like the middle of talking,
one cane held onto
one moment of trajectory
one undeserved cough stopped,
left out of corners
instead difficult
instead wanting
instead slipped out & death
slipped out undeserved
cane touching
today trajectory
today talking in the middle of breathing
wanting popcorn
wanting trajectory
wanting stopped thing
stopped from





        not finding anywhere

                      everything everywhere

              place & time distinct





In what hand

in what hand

the mirror held

the surface




Sixth cosmogony

Light into heat form spreading into itself within the room shiver & consequence all space differentiated.

Within ease already turning you cannot catch it in this way flowers and trains the last dog stepped into the vacuum all space arising.

Preshadowing circular moment to rest therein as cradled such ease the hand trailing from the boat relaxed fingers as eddies form and within them.

Call and shadow as sound needs medium her hair swept into corners shaping room as sky invisible unending within the bird's nest no takers.

No takers resting within shadow each turn unending & various as light and breath resolve within each other eyes turned to follow.

Such delicacy of ears and fingers each toe accounted for and the myriad vessels hidden nothing lost.

All is not lost each piece of wood fitted the eye rests on pattern & breath carried head still heart moment air shaped patternless as floor just as unknowable.

Hand reaching hand deep breath & pause before: irrevocable.



Seventh cosmogony

Inside vision erupted beings as if staring too long eyes motionless all
things stripped of existence what you are looking at forgotten but
disturbance always and concomitant pressure.

His material movements. His exerted forms. Mind trapped within mind
each purported exit another dream as if burnt-out walls within walls and
the careful step to avoid debris.

Snap of firelight the wooden moth her eyes messages cannot be avoided
far edge of trees calling and cockroaches, the movement of ants, ruin and

Suffering the presence of others. Glue come undone. Politeness raised
to epic levels, the effort, no one can tell who is the postman. Your twin,
your pet, such easy manipulations each thing called into existence before

Foot so light they thought no-one home as if floating such extreme care
you cannot be too cautious every thing checked out the belly of the
sheep—"I have stayed in these mountains too long, I do not remember
my home."



Judith Roitman was born and raised in New York City. After living in the San Francisco Bay area and near Boston, she moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1978, where she is professor of mathematics at the University of Kansas. She is the author of three chapbooks:  The stress of meaning (Standing Stones Press), Diamond notebooks (nominative press collective), and Slippage (Potes & Poets Press). Her work has appeared in many journals, including First Intensity, Skanky Possum, Black Spring, FO A RM, Spectaculum, and Imagination & Place. Work is forthcoming in First Intensity, Bird Dog, and Crane's Bill Books, and a book is forthcoming from First Intensity Press. She is married to the translator and classicist Stanley Lombardo, and has a son and granddaughter.  She is the guiding teacher of the Kansas Zen Center.