from The Rose Concordance
by Angela Carr

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of mirrors

for the last time, hanging her legs off the bed
comfortably mirrored pursuit
through smoke the natural pursues comfort relentlessly
ontology of mirrors or the teasing real
is there reason to apprehend
mirrors in the field of mourning
her voice’s mirror
draws her under
makes the mirrored surface into a garment
and the warm sunlight on her thighs
dons it and becomes unseen
only in grief were the mirrors absent
this one through smoke became
in grief the sensation of mirrors became
and                                                 (chorus) a baleful sheen of lack undulates
in grief the                   absent        beneath our mirrored desire for the future
in grief                                            and beneath that, the language of our past

of love and argument

25              how i love words
90              of the fountain through love
183            i read this worst love is a no
217            if our love has been outdistanced
242            what uncovered loves?
276            her love occurs to me
279            will she love me when I have recourse?
402            scenographic clutter with love’s fingers
481            i mistook love for an ending
482            an ending love for a mistake
483            there is no love without mistakes
484            i mistook a tree for love. an ending.
485            you wrapped us up in love and mistakes.
489            mistook no love
492            an ending is love
497            an ending loves an ending
499            just love already over
523            they argue for the holding
524             they know this to be an argument for
527            their arguments mimic war
543            one’s position is arguably negligent
544            the argument we hold
545            against those who hold or gain power; this is our argument
549            one’s position in an argument
561            consequent instances of disillusionment, to retrace love
562            we argued over
563            what of love as the ultimate avènement
568            they argue the es and s
573            always the dream of love as the ultimate
576            and again and all this for love
577            they are ornaments in the hair of Love
590            this nothing-before-languages (this not even Love)
591            they are ornaments slipping down the hair of Love
592            mistakenly placed and descending the hair of Love
542            in the world as argument, arguably
562            we argue over
523             authority. They argue for the holding
576            and again and all this for love
568            they argue the es and s
242            what uncovered loves?


A book was conceived of as an allegorical mall with a central fountain and concordance corridors leading away from it in several directions. Amid mass-produced goods and consumers, perched on the brim of the central fountain, sits the poet, otherwise known as Poverty, dipping her hand into the water to retrieve coins. Over the loudspeakers play the voices of a slowed-tempo chorus of literary critics. The entire scene is in black and white except for the green basin of the fountain and the green money exchanging hands across counters. The sculptural feature of the fountain is a representation of Narcissus, whose face is turned down toward the water. Directly above the fountain, there is an opening in the ceiling with the inscription “Our Pink Heaven” in a ring around its edge. They sky above is grey. (Note the mall must be closed when the sky is blue and when it is raining).

The allegory appears on the surface to be a closed system. Corridors terminate in banality and inconclusiveness. (Plans for a mirror corridor were finally omitted, its features dispersed to other parts of the mall). Truth is the face of reflection, a most expensive faiblesse in this world of rapid exchange; Beauty is a wilderness, a towardness of grey thickening, is aloof and unpredictable as weather.

In contrast to the busyness of the mall, on the opposite side of the street there are two billboards showing medieval illuminations. Behind these panels, a flat, grassy landscape stretches to the horizon. On the first panel, in the foreground of a similarly flat landscape, the Dreamer is seen asleep on a grey stone slab, which curls underneath him like a single, open quotation mark. This is the dreamer who once narrated the Roman de la Rose in his sleep. Is he a somnambulist? For in the next panel, he is seen washing his hands in a fountain. His hair is blue, and blue is the water.

Songes et mensonges, dreams and lies. The vast expanse of grassy openness and the blue sky behind the panels intoxicates, revives an indefatigable dream of freedom.

The poet was hesitant to encroach on the allegory from the point of view of modernism. She thought she would rather encounter it as she does the city, by understanding it as a series of quartiers and rues, or even as the Hôtel dieu, with its tidy, finite corridors and impermanent inhabitants. She saw there was nothing permanent or integral about the allegory. Whereas,

A system of signification is a dose of moral parity.
A system of signification constructs levels for enamoured cruelty.
A system of signification dismisses manifoldly.

The system of signification manifestoed and plotted against was not as polished as she would appear many years later (after her lexicon fell). Hence the revolution, during which allegory’s terms were to be freed, tattooed on the stony bust of the lute player.