Glenn Bach

from: Atlas

What math is riding on this,
what glorious morning in blue
streaked white with vapor?

What remains to be done
about water being lost?

What more can be written
about rust?

Light unfurled,
heavens festooned.

Sky gets in everywhere.

Of natural light
or sun glare on brow,
depleting names
we have for landscapes,
taking leaves from
branches, gold
buried in worried
slivers, a cedar hope,
the wood’s color
of dried blood,
ink of a distant path.

Motes in light
from breath
of pummel,
false face
in the dusty fields
of Mars—

you poor sister,
never cooling from
the dark gravity
of distant planets.

Stars make less sense
in the harsh day,
only faulty science,
light from a sun
or flame, wave-
lengths radiating
from no sources,
signals broadcast
from no membrane.

No desert stars
here, the twinkly
kind but a sliver
of moon.

No comet croons
in white
paper or tied.

No sign
of rain but a steady

No pens
to parchment
or Atlas, no wrench

Just a thicket
of electricity slow
as anything
can be slow, 
than evaporation.

To here, where
no one stays
in one place,
where the hills
yet grow.

Coney Island of the west
a continual state of uplift with all the beachfront vision of a pristine strand,
a tempest of swells adorned.

Ties topped with pine
held together with spikes not a bucket nor an axe but bells
in every room.

Desecration of the bluff
as a line projected across this burgeoning village.

The necessary crowds
cross and compliment if ploughed through the brush this place
and no other.

over the edge and captured and clamber for a glimpse.

The aircraft did not rise inside the air undaunted,
a collection of abstract forms,
sandy wash of the untamed.

The strongest force in California,
gas heat and speaking tubes regarding spirits no care for the wharf.

Land for a terminus,
a telling blow or a new way of seeing.

For the spray
of these breakers let us not remain in darkness.

Glenn Bach lives and works in Southern California, with brief stints in Milwaukee and Brooklyn. His long poem, Atlas, began in 2003 as an investigation of the sounds heard on his morning commute, but has expanded to encompass a broader investigation of place, landscape, and our (mis-)understanding of the world. Atlas has been excerpted in Dusie, jubilat, Otoliths, and others. Glenn uses Twitter (@AtlasCorpus) as a test site for new segments of Atlas, and documents his other activities at