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Gray's Anatomy: The Poems
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Gray's Anatomy: The Poems

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This collection of poems was inspired by the images found in the 1918 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Though Gray’s Anatomy lacks the theater of the early renaissance anatomist / engravers, the ...

This collection of poems was inspired by the images found in the 1918 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Though Gray’s Anatomy lacks the theater of the early renaissance anatomist / engravers, the numerous images have an intriguing beauty and familiarity. This unknown geography of interiority has captivated human kind, maybe since the first wound issued forth blood and revealed and alien inner self, the manifestation of the other within. These poems have emerged from the image that precedes it. They are not an attempt to write to the image but to find inspiration from the image.

“Looke on againe, the faire text better trie:
What blushing notes does thou in margine see?”
Sidney, Astrophil and Stella


c.a. leibow

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Gray's Anatomy: The Poems Gray's Anatomy: The Poems Document Transcript

  • Gray’s AnatomyThe PoemsbyChristopher Anthony LeibowCopyright 2012
  • Introduction This collection of poems was inspired by the images found in the 1918 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Though Gray’s Anatomy lacks the theater of the early renaissance anatomist / engravers, the numerous images have an intriguing beauty and familiarity. This unknown geography of interiority has captivated human kind, maybe since the first wound issued forth blood and revealed and alien inner self, the manifestation of the other within. These poems have emerged from the image that precedes it. They are not an attempt to write to the image but to find inspiration from the image. “Looke on againe, the faire text better trie: What blushing notes does thou in margine see?” Sidney, Astrophil and Stella c.a. leibow Salt Lake City 2004
  • The sight of our internal organs is denied us. To how many is it given tolook upon their own spleens, their hearts and live? The living geography ofthe human body is Medusa’s head one glimpse of which will render blindthe presumptuous eye. Richard Selzer, Confessions of a Knife.
  • fig. #123At the base of her spine an apostropheA possessiveness {Scrimshaw}Like on the whalebonesOf gutted HumpbacksShe sings Her cry somehow as beautiful.As the harpoon between the 3rd and 4th ribs.
  • fig. #17My beginning was without observer UnconsciousI saw a black dog cross the street my placenta in his jaws Part of me buried in a cemeteryBurial shroud. Swaddling clothes.Trying to get in, Trying to get out.
  • fig. #515There was no way of explaining the sudden turn of events.The instantaneous reversal ofyou being you but not exactly youand the way you carried the knifeCavalier and bloody.
  • fig. #1158I asked her if I was imposing.She refused to respond.I asked her if I was intruding,She lay down and stared at the ceiling.Do you love me?
  • fig. #214It was like that It was always like that.{repeat if necessary}In 1930 the bridge across the river collapsedlike a plea…. 12 people died.She never called.I still don’t know why.
  • fig. #1218Even lingering it comes all of a suddenan open mouth ashen wax effigyThe family gathersYour body a contested territory.
  • fig. #932Short order alchemist Limited repertoire.Not much time for anything else.The young waitress brushes her breastsagainst his arm. Underneath. electrical storms.
  • Man is only man on the surface. Lift the skin, dissect: here the machineriesbegin. Then you lose yourself in an unfathomable sustenance, alien toeverything you know and yet of the essence. Paul Valery, Cahier B
  • fig. #884His face stained with history.peeling away the narrativeof someone elses deceasedraising the deadincomplete2 dimensionalsculpting bodies out of waxmouths gapping...
  • fig. #803I built a house out of bandageslay down on the bed.A knife and a mirrorHer hands were cold instruments.
  • fig. #877a dying fish mouths the wordsof longingConfusing the blue skyfor {with} in love.
  • fig. #220Ruins.A harbinger of dissolution.Deconstructed.Sediments of process.Once upon a time….I vaguely rememberlearning to tie my shoes.
  • fig #113I was born without a rattle.I was stolen by indifference that filed me away.I fell asleep a poet and woke up a plumber.I was a mechanical nightingale caught in a cage.I could never stop her from crying.
  • fig. #377The decisions I make prerecorded?Each woman I love a similitude of theOtherArchetypal.Love of the mother.Love of the father.Repetition.Puling the thread.The same unraveling.
  • fig. #319I was carried in her belly.Curled up dreamt of parasitesquirming in my sack of sea.Osteo-Centric cherubimsplitting the very base of herinnocence with my protrusion.
  • fig. #148I have the same nightmareI am fallingI am flyingI cannot moveI kill them all fascinated by the whiteness.
  • fig. #251There is no way to determineThe causeThe moment of the ruptureIt is a matter of continuous pressurethe day the fissure was noticedI was sitting undertree eatingmy bitter leg of lambnot even thinking of Mary.
  • fig. #541They were the sameThe same in each aspectThe knife articulated their differenceNow only the one
  • fig. #151Slideshow,Picture bone,A boxA flash!A red spot follows my eyes.
  • I have cut mine owne Anatomy, dissected myself, and they are gone to readupon me. John Donne, Devotions,45
  • fig. #98I’ dream of flightBusy determining the lawsthat makes it impossibleBreaking the traditions of my fathers,Flayed Icarus,I make a flying machine of bones.
  • fig. #629My mother was a strangerto herselfHighway men kidnapped herwhen I was fiveonly her likeness left behindI feed her effigy spoonfulsof forked tongueswhile gnats cloud around her head.
  • fig. #1014He spoke in semaphore the maid shakes her head emphatically in agreementwashing blood from the sheets
  • fig. #996It wasn’t at all like she said.I mean the way the light collapsed all around her.A gravity that couldn’t be explained by tea leavesat the bottom of a cup.She told me it was nothing to be concerned about.I was concerned.{about the deliberations of the doctors}.So a man hands me a pulley,tells me that there will be an abnormal tide,microscopic phytoplanktons making it glow.
  • fig. #667The naming of my pains does nothing.circuitous classificationsrefusing semantics.I keep movingserpentine.{triangulation difficult}.
  • fig. #608On the spectrographsomething was wrongAfter deliberations with her colleaguesthe results confirmedMy birth was spurious,a conspiracy of want;The doctor apologizes,“Sometimes this happens.”
  • fig. #95to livelonger than your childto be left {on the platform}the long cry pulling away from the cemetery.to grow old,Disappointed.
  • fig. #84I follow her spinemapping rangesThe cartography of desirelooking for a way in.
  • fig. #1171In that moment of breathwhere what, that is,No longer a dream. A surprisingsudden surging hesitation.On the dresser a photographan obsessive attachment to the dead,blood rushes to parts,swollen.
  • Then let me be Thy cut Anatomie,And in each mangled part my heart you’l see. Richard Loveless
  • fig. #1152Birds of love nestingbelow mid-lineAxis of procreative flywheel.friction of flight -Explosion of wings.Repose.A stone in the throat.
  • fig. #1018The veal was familiar.kept from motionstagnant as waterthe lack of exertion limitsblood supply.I am sold daily by the pound.
  • fig. #997He was a good manspoke in deliberate sentences.wore Black Octoberlike a newly starched shirtheld his heart {tight-fisted}rationing each day.I tried x-rays to find him.There was nothing to be done.
  • fig. #585The theater is filled to capacity.A young man leans forwardas the dissector opensthe abdomen a sudden issuingof intestines.Vesalian woodcutssubtext of ruin.
  • fig. #239We live in a hole ofregret for the thingwe have left undone, living in anapprehension that found us withcoins covering our eyes.You look to the night skyand turn away from the starsand their shaking heads.
  • fig. #963It wasn’t as I thoughtthe way in was fraught with omens.There were precipitous indicationsof my misguided annexation.Small details overlooked.A man standing in the street light.
  • fig. #956The angels gather around in a circlelooking at a dead bird.‘It is like us.”They sing hymnsand the dead bird flies to heavena less experienced [{death}, {reassigned}]angel whispers“We are of the same meaning”The angels take to the air but onewho sits and preened his wingswith his golden beak.