Bob Perelman, further on "Chronic Meanings"

"Chronic Meanings" was written to and for Lee Hickman when I heard that he had AIDS. It is an attempt to see what happens to meaning when interrupted. If one expects a poem to be more or less narrative, focusing sharply or softly on spots of time, "Chronic Meanings" might feel evasive. But I was trying to be direct; the sentences came as matter-of-factly from my experience and imagination as I could manage. I knew I would only be writing the first 5 words of each sentence, so there was pressure for concision, though haiku-like or 'poetic' compression was not a goal. I wanted to feel articulation stopping midstream. As opposed to the received sense of poetry outbraving time, "Chronic Meanings" faces the other way to register time's evanescence. Lee Hickman typeset it for the final issue of his magazine, Temblor.