Introduction to T to C: Sun
T to C = Travels to Capitals. It’s a verse novel. The capitals are Donald Evans’s, who created postage stamps of imaginary countries. DE avoided fleshing out his world because he wanted to allow room for his friends’ imaginations. I didnt know him, but I take advantage of that allowance to legitimize my appropriation of his terrain. If Evans’ world is the “x-axis”, then Michael Palmer’s Sun is the “y-axis”. I worked my way through Sunpoem by poem, using MPs nouns in order as I came to them. I was not limited to his nouns, I use many of my own, and sometimes wander far afield, but I always return to the MP axis. There is a narrator; he’s like me, but he isn’t me. There are a number of other characters. Some exist in the world you and I share; some do not. All are equally real.

Between Big Rains


Hot he lies on top of the sheets little old man’s body one of the worms I find on the sidewalk between big rains

“Yes grandfather,” she repeats, “the young cellist is in love with the dancer”

He looks past her to where I stand by the window and winks

I glance down at his old Dream Dictionary I’ve pulled from the shelf and opened randomly to “Seeing the Sea”

“You see it but you don’t understand it”

He asks for water tries to rise: too weak

I put the dream book back

Next to it is How to Write by Gertrude Stein

Weak as he is he catches my surprise says (in English no less!), “A sentence is not emotional a paragraph is”


I lie awake nights and watch the blinking light on the Taki-Taki transmission tower signal through the window every few seconds

I love the sound of Joy’s even breathing and her little noises 

Oh the stories I tell myself

The stories you tell yourself

The things we’ll never know about each other

And in the morning while the Assassin dozes we walk the beach along Pointes Noires to the Words the little rocky archipelago a hundred yards offshore to watch her favorite birds the pelicans

“This is hard,” she says

I think to read her a few lines from a book I’ve stuffed in my pocket but the little angel on my shoulder whispers bad idea so I wrap her in my arms instead


“This old body will survive one night,” he says, “now go

So we go to catch Bembeya Jazz to lose ourselves a little in their sea of sound in the moon that paints a bright white line to nowhere on the waves behind the stage

After a while we join the dancers spin round and round and round …

We’re back by two

The Assassin sleeps

His old tattered Malcolm poster stares benignly down

“The music’s got me wired,” she says, “let’s sit in the garden”

Flowers look weird in starlight indecipherable notations in night’s notebook luminous white figures making crazy faces at me then ducking back into the shadows ...

“Beautiful head,” she says, “when’s the last time I told you I love you?”

We kiss

It’s a nice kiss

“Let’s go inside ...”


She kisses me again 

“Let’s stay right here”


The Assassin’s sitting up

The transfusions seem to be working

“I want to watch a movie,” he says, “I want to watch this Matrix thing”

I go into town rent a tv

“Let me get this straight,” he says, “they have nothing better to do than kick each other?

“I captured a Caludan once ...”


He pokes a finger through a hole in his t-shirt


The ambulance “the unstoppable little house of anxiety” hurtles through space

We know this is coming it’s coming to us all yet we ache

She stares at the paper in the waiting room for hours without turning a page

“What use your logics now?” sings the poet

While waiting for the expression on the doctor’s face I keep telling myself “what thou lovest well remains”


John Bloomberg-Rissman is an editor and mashup ethnographer slash maker of texts. Among other projects, he has co-edited one volume of the series Poems for the Millennium and a two-volume anthology called The End of the World Project, as well as currently co-editing The Collected Poems and Verse Translations of Anselm Hollo. His own work is ongoing and has been for about 15 years. It's called Zeitgeist Spam, of which three sections have been published; the fourth is currently in progress. He is aging-in-place in San Diego, California.