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nathan austin

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[a handful of air / held up by air]

a handful of air / held up by air

fared my life under the shadow of
my country's trees
— elm, oak, birch —

weighed my time in the world and its light

the sound of it, it's like a whisper, soft, but with

what is on the outside, the withered husk
as landmark

a solid hard stone / solidly set down on

shallow-ground deep-ground

[e'ar - o - plen - e's]

e'ar - o - plen - e's as in prey , al as final

and noises of walking or flying insects

hear, wherever error—airy—hurry—

who soars—sorrows-d—is sorry—sees—
saw whose—whatever sorrow, whom—

what sore—is sore—sorrow

may be thought to resemble that of a hail -
stone as transparent as water


These poems collage together snippets of language found in Google Books search results and take advantage of errors produced by the optical character recognition software used to read scanned texts. The source material includes fragments of shorthand manuals and the pronunciation keys from a range of dictionaries and primers, along with other sources, to explore intersections between visual and sonic "noise" in writing.

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