Two Poems




"The bodily fat of a normally constitued man would suffice to manufacture seven cakes of toilet-soap. Enough iron is found in the organism to make a medium-sized nail, and sugar to sweeten a cup of coffee. The phosphorus would provide 2,200 matches. The magnesium would furnish the light needed to take a photograph. In addition, a little potassium and sulphur, but in an unusable quantity." A little sweetness, a little burn. Silence on the phone. Silent phone. Words come from need. I have enough already. More than enough. I don't smoke.

[The quotation is from the definition of "man" from the Critical Dictionary that ran in the journal Documents of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Georges Bataille took the quote from the Journal du Debats of Aug. 13, 1929. The Critical Dictionary has been reprinted in Encyclopedia Acephalica (Atlas Press); the definition of man is on Page 56.]



Soiling, maybe, but when 18th-century French ladies drank their chocolate, it was a sign of refinement. Always a niggle. Always a sense of no solid ground. And what does the earth rest on? You nibble a Snickers for solace, then fret about your weight. Children sit in rows, tormented by division like twigs devoured by wood lice. It's years before they learn there's no real way to handle remainders. As you rest from one errand, plan another, you feel your body fizz, persistent as cola foam shaken, riddling away.