“Dangling Modifier” by Ted Dodson

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But when we push up the daisies,
The melody! the rest is accessory:

My one voice. My other: is
An objective — rays of the object brought to a focus,
An objective — nature as creator — desire
for what is objectively perfect
Inextricably the direction of historic and
contemporary particulars.
— from “6”

Reminded of scansion, a great shudder starts at the tailbone and intersects the memory of looking out a window onto a snowed soccer field and putting off parsing those iambs in Sonnet 30 that stack slant on one another, of “bethinking the sadness of not recalling the great sadness of sadness’ greatest sadness.” Back then, it was no joke, and Zukofsky would have sounded like imported ham.

In the city now, aesthetics are sensitized in architecture, metropolis is diagrammatic, scansion — wondering — is structural but underneath like unheard bass? Or, is it the opposite? Which came first, Handel or the egg? No matter: Music is invisible as 3D, and to be made otherwise is to see the underpinnings, the scansion, of the significance of things, which are invisible.

L.Z. does his best; that is to say, “He does what is regularly impossible and remains paralyzed in the imagination of most.” And with him always, Celia, his wife — her voice as inseparable from his as the vibrant deep-architecture from his work still glancing off the angles between rhetoric and sky, that leaves us wondering: How do you catch such a bird?

from Autobiography (Grossman Publishers, 1970)


Ted Dodson is a poet and translator living in Brooklyn and is the Assistant Editor of Futurepoem. Select publications can be found in Interrobang,Onesies, and The Image Project. He maintains a blog       at nightdeposits.tumblr.com.