from Atlas


Glenn Bach





that the flow of the river


of displacement

for our own High Line




the new word as a living

entity: only those

deemed riverly who will

benefit from this narrative


of loss: is the city

an increasingly hot

and dry climate the fantasy

of an arcadian waterway


of the river as a paradise

a sylvan glen a thicket


a single drop of rain high

in the San Gabriels now

reach the sea







          landing     land in     transition


          of coming to land (upward and


          downward)     (on land)     (on


          sea)     (on moon)     (in house)


          (naut)     (aer)     (mil)


          (archit)     (fish - ing)





The gilding of the aspirations. The daily commute


of the well-worn. The both sides of immigrant


populations over the bridge. The worn away


of the foot traffic. The gray sky of the archive.







on uneven land of rough boards. While newness looms

in the background. Erasure of old weaving



erosions. Alterations



                  a metropolis of rigid chaos



                                         for want of a site no place

can be looked up to. From base to turret none

where full in the face.



By the eye taken in the street wall. The extreme

height. The endless vista the grain of the city




Every genre of birdsong meticulously drawn








Inscriptions of a figure on mosaic and stone illustrious

and unknown. Over the chosen narrative the conquest

of time once shook the pavement.


See the drama for a change in the plot to overturn

this violent nature. The growth and grasp had not

prepared us for the shape of the world.


Other than burial will provide complete protection

so that the earth is not empty. The world where we

make our home and the fire that consumes

all before it.


If the music of occasion never to have settled

the pleading had no effect. A retreat from definitions

the trained eye of the shifting splendid new.


Above the water table there is no philosophy

for the lean season. If the site with no hillocks

of water level the file cannot be played.


Acted upon the foundations of houses in the place

of illumination. If we live by the sword of science

to un-break the great conversation.







hawsers thrown by the tugs

a work of fragments an exhausted

genre. A kind-of

structure. Struck as the dark



                  amongst grass and gravel

                  for stones and heavy beams

                  bollards and cleats

                  of cast iron a few timbers

                  and the pilings



on the pole of a weir. As a ship

is injured. Between sea and land

without either. Forbidden

circulations. The shipworm



returns. Lists which pertain

to movement. Termite

of the sea



night and fog meet. Gives

the air. Alluding to a lighthouse

to the deck of an ocean



in this dispiriting mall

the racket the fishmongers

make. A great manuscript

that no one would ever see


                  our city the art of paralysis

                  to do monumental things









Originally from Southern California, Glenn Bach now lives in the Doan Brook watershed of Cleveland, Ohio.  His major project, Atlas, is a long poem about place and our (mis)understanding of the world.  Excerpts have appeared in jubilat, Otoliths, Plumwood Mountain and others.  He documents his work at and @AtlasCorpus



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