a Perimeter 4

Laynie Browne

Three Poems from Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists

For C.D. Wright



1. Reserve each morning as a blank sheet of snow.
2. Don't worry that every word may lose you.
3. How can I read from the book I just gave away?
4. Where to find affordable upcycled behavior?
5. Am I?
6. This puzzle is impossible to solve but let me put it this way: let's guard this flower.
7. So you've been asked to choose the next Nobody Prize! Do you remember when nobody was Nobody?
8. In the book I found this note: Welcome from a previous resident. I hope you have a productive time here.
9. Compliments as riddles make me tired.
10. I want to know I'm still attributed to other menace
11. Slight ectomorphs aren't made of milk.
12. I'm proud I was able to restate my reasons but please do not ask me to repeat them. The fact is I cannot remember them. And even though I would like to have written them down I am also attempting to get away from all reason. I'm certain that reason, in this case, cannot help.
13. A blow to the head with a blunt instrument might work best. But only with adequate snow to cushion the fall.
14. This is just an idea, just an image of why I am sorry to relinquish something that never made sense in the first place.
15. I dream an avid death to my dream.
16. To exist lacking fantasies is awkward.
17. However, the blunt instrument and the severe blow coupled with winter does enable a useful merciless compulsion in my editing.
18. How could I possibly be jealous of a person with a name like that?
19. Of course we'll always love at least the word 'affection.'
20. I came here to do whatever I said I'd do.
21. When you want to whisper but can't stop laughing.
22. She begs me to stop revealing how we met in a previous century.
23. I want to finish reading a brilliant book which dominates me, destroys me, influences me irrevocably.
24. Please stop making me care
25. At the end of the book the heroine commits a murder. Does that mean I have to kill someone?
26. With great force and noise I'm trying to avoid dystrophic cutaway thermal breeders.
27. And also this problem with perfection—otherwise known as abnormal stupor.
28. Why would I begrudge you what I've had all along?
29. The end of the episode is me killing something, but what?
30. Waste less time on non-existent persons.
31. To be accurate, it's not that they don't exist, but that they don't exist as we imagine them.
32. My strategy then should be not to imagine the person I imagined 'X' was with—the person I imagine has replaced me.
33. I'm not really alone until I have banished not only persons but also all of their resolves.
34. How to stop seeing an expectant gaze?
35. I must finish the book and kill the scoundrel before I get on with my day.
36. Good morning! I say to the person stealing my thoughts.
37. Goodbye to that impulse which allowed me to behave with generosity when affronted with venom.



1. Being virtuous was boring.
2. Spend as little time as possible speaking to that book.
3. You can be ready without thinking and yet being addicted to fastidious preparation gives you something—I could say the word "more" but I would say it dubiously.
4. What I mean to say is a relationship with overpreparation may be deeply gratifying in some respects but also, we always admire what we aren't.
5. My hope was to become less and less prepared as time went on, like walking into a snowdrift. My reasons had to do more with self-preservation than carelessness.
6. But she did not want to take off her costume.
7. She didn't know each snowflake personally but she was thrilled to have met so many falling melodic scores.
8. Walking was another matter, the brains in her legs.
9. That something extra could be called confidence but only when it was a full body experience, like the virtue of a snowflake, like symmetry.
10. Like the memory of something we must release but would rather enter.
11. Why fastidious in some ways and belligerent in others?
12. At a certain point the list opens its eyes.
13. Where we divert is an unnamable place, or to name it obliterates any need for a name.
14. You cannot photograph this place.
15. The birth of music elicits tears. My face opened and I no longer had any question.
16. What can I possibly say to convince him that one rarely recognizes oneself.
17. His question was normal, but he was too young to be asking. He was born older than his essential self, yet younger than most planetary beings. So he could hear things.
18. But not advice.
19. Of course I'm being subjective but I also know some extremely remote minds.



1. Was her observation meant as a critique? I didn't know what to say in reply so simply said, thank you.
2. To be 'fancy' is not my objective. I write toward the illegible.
3. It's too bad because I was hoping we could be 'not fancy' together.
4. When you see a two-headed woman at breakfast you shouldn't make assumptions.
5. Sulking is not the equivalent of not liking someone. Your face tends to hang when you enter mental rooms.
6. You didn't know that you had left the room.
7. Mutual silence can be friendly, but not a friend.
8. I did not forget. I refused.
9. As the rain hits the icy road it ricochets up. Anime rain. So straight and defiant, yet tilted.
10. Your question relays you are still outside in the downpour. You have yet to build yourself an edifice of words.
11. Glad to be alone with himself.
12. When I entered the room and closed the door I realized that I had been fleeing from every living being. Their breath and their attitudes were still on my person. I brushed myself off.
13. Open pages and see which phrases light up. Time yourself.
14. When translating my secret thoughts I turned to the dictionary for every word.
15. When the process becomes too laborious close the dictionary.
16. When a letter arrives, in the form of a list outlining the frustrations of another, translate his failings into fictions.
17. Show up to breakfast each day with a new word to describe yourself. Call yourself a covert friend, a grand duchess friend, a statuary friend, an evanescing friend.
18. Why are you only interested in the immediacy of words?

Laynie Browne's most recent collections are P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel, 2015), Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press, 2015) and Lost Parkour Ps(alms) in two editions, one in English, and another in French, from Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havré (2014).