Three Poems

David Michael Wolach

Swimming in Multiverse

There is always something nothing broken. Figure. Bly me is a phrase that I’ll never use out loud but I think it sometimes. Fake, ruinous carnivalesque theories are here for the heartsickness. You want to say: in art there is nothing as pure, pregnant and potent as nothing. Wittgenstein. You want to say to him: do not die, and by heartsickness you mean heart attack or conduction block and by pure you mean absent and by pregnant you really do mean just that—pregnant, carrying child, etc., etc. There is no mystery in this. There is no mystery. That period, right over there—left—is meant to signify: there is nothing more to say.

We would shrug together, you and I. We would shrug in unison, harmony, discordant rhythm. Synchronous. Had we a pool and life preservers we would be performing that ritual they call synchronized swimming. You have this urge: go to the Summer Olympic Games and qualify. With all the style, the ornament, the grace of the Olympic Synchronized Swimmer. Simply so you can, in the final round, shrug. We of this the pool, shrugging. Once. The score would be low but the audience would get it. So much. They too would shrug. Or sigh. Or say: there is nothing more to say.


Janigro’s Revenge

the only
music is scattered
says the cellist boy.
as that calcifying golden evening
descends fast like bald lucky vultures
upon the praying hands of Badura Skoda
he manages to pluck our strings smirking
so you like Schubert’s trio in
E flat? he died composing
it and you, lover
of his sorrow
will die

Strange watching daylight behind me sink into the valley. As he opens now like cunt throwing glass jaws at these paper times.


Kinds of Vague

Difference between de dicto and de re vagueness: fiat. The mistake begins with a mythic view about objects. I want to say: “Mount Everest” refers to Mount Everest, and the mountain isn’t blurry, my command of reference is blurry. But then let us survey all situations in which “Mount Everest” was ever used. Sometimes the expression describes a mountain, sometimes it describes a man with a big, jagged forehead, sometimes it refers to pure impossibility. Sometimes Mount Everest starts at the base of an incline, while other times it ends somewhere in Russia. The expression itself is part of the object (the object does not exist separate from our thoughts) and so what sense does it make to ask whether the object itself is vague? Why are people so goddamn particular in abstraction? When it comes to climbing the mountain, they’re on their way—a bent line bending all the way to the strangest kind of probable morbidity.


David Michael Wolach, 28, is a professor of philosophy at The Evergreen State College, specializing in aesthetics, Wittgenstein, philosophy of music and Critical Theory. His essays, short stories, and poems have appeared in numerous publications in the past year, most recently Storyglossia, Poetry Midwest, Saint Elizabeth Street Review, and Sorites: A Journal of Philosophy. Wolach, a finalist for the Glimmer Train New Writer’s competition and winner of the Peralta Press Editor’s Prize, is also managing editor of Wheelhouse Magazine. E-mail: dwuaw[at]

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