Letter to Jack Spicer

Dear Jack,

In your first book, After Lorca, you wrote a letter to Lorca saying you wanted to make a poem out of a real lemon, not the description of a lemon. Very good; Jenny Holzer has done stranger things. You also say

I would like the moon in my poems to be a real moon, one which could be suddenly covered with a cloud that has nothing to do with the poem—a moon utterly independent of images. The imagination pictures the real. I would like to point to the real.

Today we can do that, Jack, kind of. This letter is a poem that points to other poems, other poets. But links break and rot just like your lemon does, Jack, and I’m not sure that what’s left is still in correspondence (as you say with those sly italics) with the lemon.

There are search engines, Jack, whose job it is to help you find the real lemon. Unfortunately, some of them don’t understand me.

I am building a house on sand, Jack, and trying to build it high enough to touch the sky. But the sand keeps slipping out from under me. And my words turn into other languages and are lost.

What to do?