Tag Archives: memento mori

“how many years / without death”: Larry Eigner’s memento mori

five poems from readiness / enough / depends / on,
then a brief essay

                                                                          July 26-7 93

  oblong windows lit
room     a bare bulb
                    over the back steps
                            burning into the night
                        as if it’s all time
                            likewise facing the street

                                countless stars
                                    and a few patches of cloud

                                                                       October 8 94

                                      of a size
 a tree
                                             to live
                                                at rest
                                                    a while
        the window
                                               while there’s so much
                                                               on round
    after I’ve
                                                                  earth, sky
          waked up

        to start
                                                                       )birds too
            the morning
                                                                           about as quiet
              there have
                                                                                    as flowers I see
                       been times

                                                                          April 2 78

                        wind huge outside since when
falling asleep alpha rhythms I suppose
                      how many years
                                            without death

                                                                          August 6-8 78


words and things among us go
    together enough

      wherever your end is

                                                                          December 2-3 1992
t  h  e    w  h  o  l  e    o  r  c  h  e  s  t  r  a


                up    into the air

                        for dancing

                                after the storm

        Larry Eigner’s readiness / enough / depends / on, his last collection of poems before his death in 1996, explores the precarious position of the self that inhabits an uncertain place between the sufficient and the dependent, between the assurance of passing from one state to the next and the unknowability of how and when that crossing will play out. Eigner’s “I” is situated on lyric coordinates where it thinks and feels in time and place, though the breadth of the spotlight on the self remains open-ended in order to allow the concrete to be brought into relation to a wider map. Continue reading