Item: Webb, Phyllis

Webb, Phyllis
Poem Title:
Leaning Tower
I am half-way up the stairs
of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Don't go down. You are in this
with me too.

I am leaning out of the Leaning
Tower heading into the middle distance

where a fur-blue star contracts, becomes
the ice-pond Brueghel's figures are skating on.

North Magnetic pulls me like a flower
out of the perpendicular

angles me into outer space
an inch at a time, the slouch

of the ground, do you hear that?
the hiccup of the sludge about the stone.

(Rodin in Paris, his amanuensis, a torso...)
I must change my life or crunch

over in vertigo, hands
bloodying the inside tower walls

lichen and dirt under the fingernails
Parsifal vocalizing in the crazy night

my sick head on the table where I write
slumped one degree from the horizontal

the whole culture leaning...

the phalloi of Miës, Columbus returning
stars all shot out '

An now this. Smelly tourists
shuffling around my ears

climbing into the curvature.
They have paid good lira to get in here.

So have I. So did Einstein and Bohr.
Why should we ever come down, ever?

And you, are you still here

tilting in this stranded ark
blind and seeing in the dark.
Item Number:

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Leaning Tower
Webb, Phyllis
Library and Archives Canada/Phyllis Webb fonds/LMS-0098/Cassette 11
© Phyllis Webb. Reproduced with the permission of Phyllis Webb.

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