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Anne Tardos Gentle Deer on 10th Avenue


It must be crisp not cryptic, if you want to write.

There is this come-and-go of ideas, impressions, fears, uncertainties.

Let them.

A rope.
              Any rope.

Hold on to it and then let go.

Grab it when it comes around the next time.

Strange, friendly solitude.

An atypical Jewish girl from France, but not just that.

Make your own peace.
Invent it.

On this trip, we walk among the insects, we walk alongside them.
                                                        They like it!


As the captain of this ship I am on, I keep a log.
The ocean is peaceful, pollution almost unnoticeable.

The dolphins. They follow me around.

Of course there is too much liking and disliking.

As the days wind down, underlined by the peculiar sound of the cicada, a distant plaintive howl of unidentifiable origin is heard.

This is the country.


Living in multiple worlds simultaneously. Each one is equally true.

The perfect blue sky behind the green trees remind us of a generous gesture.

Things can take a while. What things?

The approximation of what’s on one’s mind, a certain yearning for an exact representation of thought, followed by an abandonment of the illusion of ever being able to properly communicate one’s thoughts.

Noon sun. I sit in the shade. A fragrant breeze comes along, a bird makes itself heard. Nearly silenced by all this natural perfection. But no, I keep writing.

Someone has to give permission.

I give permission.


Creamy thought bubble ideal creamy super dreamy

Yeah, I really don’t care what they think

It had to come to this
              It came to this
                            It came that I couldn’t any longer give much thought to opinions

It comes to caring. It comes.


Company. Rushed. Amass. Enjoy. Feel good. Doctor. Evansville. It’s one thing to say the word hummingbird, it’s another to see one.

Off the books. Off-board. Finicky youthfulness. A cat. A bird. A good look. Take one.

Appropriation. Vandalism. Senegal. Finally taking a stand.

Listening in. Participating. Border delineation. Tenderness. Writing stuff.
Insect variations. The Insect Variations!


Inquisitiveness in aid of navigation.

The sun has something to say.    The future is being questioned.
              The past is baked in. Most of it.

Stepping up.

Is it lunchtime already?

The garden and the gardeners. Bending over as a matter of immersion.

Ghostly communications.
Apparent realities.

              And now.

Leave each other alone. Respectful harmlessness. No need to discuss. Waiting.

For the lawnmower to stop.

My contributions. Behavioral art. Ridiculous mirrors. Cissexism. Voilà. A branch just snapped. Where are the gentle deer? On 10th avenue? How come?


So that feeling-of-being-watched thing.    Tackle that.

Broken concentration creates idea shards.    Tackle that.

She is his shadow. He is her shadow. Their dog is theirs.

Taking out the trash as a territorial statement.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? As much as he could.


How long does a poem need to be?

This is not known.

Where am I supposed to turn? Is it true that you must write each word as if it was your last?

I see many paths to a better life, many routines to engage in, voices to listen to, admired ones to imitate, parks to visit, animals to comfort, words to invent, phrases to think of, lives to improve, routines to follow, friends to invite over, temptations to resist, sounds to get used to or annoyed at—there is no shortage of things to do on the path to a better life.


Here is section number nine. Now what?

Mired in Africa, mired in India, mired in Chenshtochau.

Tschenschtochau, the city in Poland where my maternal grandfather, Mr. Steinmetz was born. We never met.

My mother had Vienna carved into her soul, but she spent many years in France, as a member of the Resistance, where she met my Hungarian father, and where they decided to have me. I was born into the Resistance.

To this day…

Is resistance the stuff of life? Forward motion defying resistance.

Resistance is easily explained in scientific terms. Philosophical terms. Poetic terms.

Moving away from something means refusing it, rejecting it, leaving it behind.

Clinging to childhood could be a form of resisting resistance.


Death is the one to resist, until it isn’t.

Coming of age.
                            Thinking about thinking.

Reliving life.

Poverty is humiliating. Poetry can also be humiliating unless it’s uplifting.

The shame of imagined failure.
                            Missed opportunities.
                                          Thermal baths.
                                                        Tool sheds.
                                                                      Mere interference.


Numbered sections of what poem. Defining the work before engaging in it, and after it’s done. A definition of intent and content to invent.

Cixous: “[Rembrandt] paints the foreigner, the stranger in me, in you.

“The times when under the letter’s sway we suddenly become the stranger, the foreigner in ourselves. We separate ourselves from ourselves. We lose ourselves. From sight, also.”


What’s going on here? Who is talking and to whom?

I say too much, I say too little.

Summery delirium.

We will see how it all ends.

Is this a stream of unconsciousness?

Can we dislodge the obstacles?


I reach back into the distant past, where I once lived by images.
Past, present and future give me different dynamisms.
Without them I would be a dispersed non-being.
Memories are motionless, fixed in space.
Here, space is everything.
Within the being, the being of within, I feel at home.

All the spaces of past moments, the spaces where solitude was experienced, were places to rest.

Solitude allows me to work hard.


A bear bears the mark of sincerity.
She makes her own precarious shell as smooth and soft as possible.
The bear inhabits herself, and relies on the paradox of sensibility.
Her confidence in the world is key.

Surrounded by an atmosphere of happiness, the bear participates in the mystery of form-giving life.

Enduring interest begins with the original amazement of the naïve bear.
A strange sort of withdrawal.

One wouldn’t be so bold as to presume to be included unless firmly invited.

Bachelard speaks of a house that turns out to be so beautiful, so deeply beautiful, that it would be a sacrilege to even dream of living in it.


                                                        (A Very Short Story)

“He was giving birth to groups of words that were living inside him as things.”


Anne Tardos, French-born American poet, is the author of ten books of poetry and several multimedia performance works. Among her recent books of poetry are I Am You [first US edition] (BlazeVOX, 2016]; NINE (BlazeVOX, 2015); Both Poems (Roof, 2011); I Am You (Salt, UK, 2008); and The Dik-dik's Solitude (Granary, 2003). She is the editor of Jackson Mac Low's Thing of Beauty (California, 2008), 154 Forties (Counterpath, 2012); and The Complete Light Poems (Chax, 2015). A Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Tardos lives in New York.
< Written in Woodstock, NY, Summer 2016
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