TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT September 1999

BETTY GOODWIN: SEATED FIGURE WITH RED ANGLE, 1988

If body is always deep but deepest at
its surface.

If conditionals are of two kinds factual
and contrafactual.

If you’re pushing, pushing and then it
begins to pull you.

If police in that city burnt off people’s
hands with a blowtorch.

If quite darkly colored or reddish
(bodies) swim there.

If afterwards she would sit the way a
very old person sits, with no pants on,
confused.

If you reach in, if you burrow, if you
risk wiping in.

If a point that has been fed over years
becomes a little bit alive.

If the seated figure started out with
an idea of interrogation.

If interrogation is a desire to get
information which is not given or
not given freely.

If buried all but traceless in the dark in
its energy sitting, drifting within your
own is another body.

If at first it sounded like rain.

If your defense is perfect after all it was
the trees that walked away.

If objects are not solid.

If objects are much too solid.

If there are no faces, if faces are not
what you interrogate.

If red makes you think of chance or
what chance operates with.

If the feet cross in a way that sucks itself
under, sucks analogies (Christ) under.

If as Artaud says anyone who does not
smell cooked bomb and condensed
vertigo is not worthy of being alive.

If you choose what to undo, if you know
how to make that choice.

If you lead her to water.

If you bring her a gift say one of
Pascal’s thoughts.

****

If you bring “infinite fractions of
solitude” (Nabokov).

If you bring a bit of Artaud like
“all writing is shit all writers are pigs.”

If conditionals are of two kinds possible
and impossible.

If she slides off, if you do.

If red is the color of cliché.

If red is the best color.

If red is the color of art pain.

If Artaud is a cliché.

If artists tell you art is before thought.

If you want to know things like where
that leg is exactly.

If the horses were exhausted.

If she begged, if she came to the table,
if the sequence doesn’t matter.

If it begins, a trickle, this thin slow
falling of the mind.

If you want to know why the sliding
affects your nerves.

If you want to know why you cannot
reach your own beautiful ideas.

If you reach instead the edge of the
thinkable, which leaks.

If you stop the leaks with conditionals.

If conditionals are of two kinds real
and unreal.

If nothing sticks.

If she waits alongside her.

If Miroslav warned us that experimental
animals should not be too intelligent.

If to care for her is night.

If an enigma came into the room.

If all the other enigmata fought to
get out.

If outside of here the light has gone
from the tops of the trees that rise over
a brick wall opposite.

If conditionals are of two kinds now
it is night and all cats are black.

****

If how many were killed by David
exceeds how many were killed by
Saul by tens of thousands.

If they don’t feel pain the way we do.

If you drove here with toys in
the backseat.

If you wrote a word on the floor of
the cell in waterdrops and videotaped
it drying.

If Vitruvius says no temple can be
coherently constructed unless it is put
together exactly as a human body is.

If red is the color of italics.

If italics are a lure of thought.

If Freud says the relation between a gaze
and what one wishes to see involves allure.

If you cannot remember what word
you wrote.

If art is the servant of allure.

If Vitruvius does not talk about taking
temples apart but we may assume the
same canon applies.

If there is no master of allure.

If conditionals are of two kinds allure
and awake.

If no matter how you balance on the
one you cannot see the other, cannot
tap the sleep spine, cannot read what
that word was.

If “contrafactual” applied to
conditionals means the protasis is false.

If (for example) “if you had not
destroyed the barometer it would have
forewarned us” implies that we are
now standing in a storm of rain.

If as a matter of fact it is a clear night
I would say almost relentlessly clear.

If conditional comes between
condiment and condolence.

If you do not want to remember what
word it was.

If your life bewilders you (sly life).

If the rain lashes your face like manes
of all the horses of this century.

If conditionals are of two kinds graven
and where is a place I can write this.