M L Williams – Passage

M L Williams LEP&W V4 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Four December 2022.

Passage, poems by M. L. Williams.


Thereupon I shew him the map, and it consists of lines on a piece of paper; but I cannot explain how these lines are the map of my movements, I cannot tell him any rule for interpreting the map.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 653

Slip down grey fields of scree under knifing peaks until the trail braids, firn in shaded pockets melting into clear puddles sinking into moraine, down switchbacks through larch and spruce and aspen and into green meadows in hollows streams pulsing lakes hugging their bright noon clarities, now up the next pass through nights of shivering stars, eyes in branches under boulders in burrows out hunting they flash scat on the ground the air and howl and yip and crash of coyotes of running elk around tonight’s hut and down again into desert’s red rocks along the looping canyon river the map’s long days and nights in its story of skin, but not the story of rain, not the bones in the deposition, not the skull washed home in the undercut.

Nothing to Say

The ideal, as we think of it, is unshakable.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 103

Pot of soup
left overnight
waxy fat
a puckered skin
spoon stain-
stuck on tile
potato cold

knife and onion
on the cutting board
bowl dark-licked
leek sticky

© M. L. Williams

M. L. Williams is the author of Game (What Books Press 2021) the chapbook Other Medicines and co-editor of How Much Earth: The Fresno Poets, and he served as editor or co-editor of Quarterly West for five years. His work appears in many journals and anthologies, including Plume, Hubbub, Salt, Western Humanities Review, Miramar, The Journal of Florida Studies, The Cortland Review, Live Encounters Poetry, and Stone, River, Sky, and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. He co-emcees the Poetry Stage at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and he teaches creative writing and contemporary literature at Valdosta State University.

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