Poems and Texts

from THE LYDIAN GALE PARR by Karinne Keithley Syers


To be read in unison by two speakers. Lines with a // in the middle indicate two lines to be spoken
simultaneouly, assigned to the right and left speakers, respectively.


I came out of a high-walled city.
I saw the walls from the outside.
I was in the air, turning away.
I have done nothing.
I have done nothing to the cooing of pigeons.
I will give with an unsparing hand.
I dreamt there was another lobe of this city. The buildings were tall and made of stone.
I dreamt but I was only waiting.
I don’t command.
I wrote a letter of pure friendship.
I was a long time looking.
I was speaking in terms even more ecstatic than those.
I don’t pretend you could hear nothing. No, I don’t pretend it.

I speak in terms even more dramatic than those.
I give you warning.
“I should be very glad to think of nothing!” said L. to me.

I am curious about this slender tree.
I will move at my ease through these agreeable stations.
I permit you to doubt it.
I give a clear account of nothing.
I knew a high-walled city not otherwise remembered.
I knew but had not been inside.
I spoke and manifested freely. // I spoke like a ghost.

Lead me out of the room.
Sit down in the silence. // Lie down in the silence.
Offer yourself for sale.

I can’t see anything in it.
I turned away because I could not justify myself.
I remember myself then.
I remember myself looking up.
Look up again.
Looking up again.
Might be looking up now. // Might be lying down now.

I have said nothing.
I have said nothing to the anger of dogs or the frailty of windows.
I have said nothing to the grafting of plants or the startling of birds.
I have said nothing to your radio or to your computer.
I said these are ancient things.
I said I am Leslie Gale Parr.
My name is Lydian Leslie Parr.
I come from a high-walled city I cannot remember.

You must make it be quiet.
I need to sleep but cannot.
Might be sleeping now.
I have done nothing but remain near at hand.
I have done nothing but cook my dinners next to it.
I have done nothing but find out how to drive home.
I was curious about the slender tree.
I was moving at my ease through the spacious gallery.
I held or said something.

Take it out of the room.
Go on, take it out of the room.
I took it out of the room because I could not justify it.
It spoke in terms even more salacious than those.
It was a letter of pure disgust. // It was a letter of pure inquiry.

Karinne Keithley Syers

Karinne Keithley Syers is an interdisciplinary artist, participant-historian of the NYC performance community, and creator of things that resemble plays from a distance, including Another Tree Dance (2013), Montgomery Park, or Opulence(2010). She founded and co-edits 53rd State Press, and leaves trails of audio, video, and ukulele covers via her website fancystitchmachine.org.