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tuning can be difficult if you strain at it by Robert Viscusi
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(ellis island 2.11)

tuning can be difficult if you strain at it

often the only thing you can do is let the storms pass through you

the rage of a cornered animal saves its life sometimes


if the buffalo farts he keeps away busybodies

attracting those who prefer a relaxed attitude

and enjoy the water more than clothes


walk naked across the marble floor in your thinking apartment

i am sitting on the couch reading the newspapers

i don’t know why i hate myself so much as i do


even this hatred resembles a fog on the bay

yes it may be real but this water moves through the whole world

so that when you arrive you are already leaving


when you hear the sounds of change you call it music

when you dance you write the future on the air



“ellis island” by robert viscusi

(vol I libri 1-4 + dvd engl-ita)

transposition sandro sardella

published by abrigliasciolta 23.03.10


Ellis Island is a poem in 52 books, with 12 sonnets in each book.
Each book has as many lines as a week has hours. The whole of Ellis Island has as many lines as there are hours in 364 days.
The “stable” text of the poem is printed on paper. This text is as fixed in place as a trolley track or an imperial capital.
There is also a constantly shifting text that subsists in a digital database and sleeps in the shadow of the Random Sonnet Generator at
The appearance of this text is as hard to predict as the shifts in the wind on the bay.
In the Random Sonnet Generator the lines migrate freely. They can do so because each line of the written poem is a separate event, its own hour.
There are 1,357,013,773,011,244,426,399,457,416,598,180,069,376 possible sonnets at

Wedding at Brooklyn Bridge. Photo courtesy of Alberta Zallone

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