After the breakdown the old world beckons, a sunrise in Amsterdam, and in that golden light a poem by Lisa Robertson floats across the waters. Cropped from her sterling poem-essay collection The Nilling, the maestro writes about what must be refused in order to create the borders that make identity possible. Against the borders of state she poses the project of intimate conversation and poetry (“bodies assert their incalculable distance”). Poetry is the speech of citizenship. Pigeons flap, friends clasp hands, a pair of strangers dissolve on the metro, ghost cars, lovers don’t mind the rain, tea sipping, sunset at the bridge. As if he were coming back to life.
Through the poem we receive rhythm –
it is in the history of poetry
that we have a record
of subjectivity’s movement in language.
The Nilling by Lisa Robertson