1st by Cole Swensen


This is what you must know: (this

is the background of the story, the

foundation, the

                                  1) the city is white

2) most cities are white

3) All cities are white; it’s in their nature, by definition and clearly stated

4) that a white city is often far away, often far out to sea, at times across a

plain, a shimmer or as if silt falling, fine-grained, a counting sand, a seed well- timed

1) made of talc

2) made of chalk

3) made of sugar, which melts in the sun. This is a city on which the sun pours down.

A man in passing glanced in a window, and all he’d ever seen was there. In the next street a person turned at a sound. In the next one, a boy walked along, counting the paving stones. One, one, one, one, one.

Cole Swensen © 1999


  1. I saw Cole Swensen yesterday in a lecture in Paris and it was a beautiful moment. I don’t speak quite currently english so it was a little difficult for me to understand all she said. I a going to write a paper today or tomorrow on her, on my blog Poezibao, but it seems that typepad is out of order for the moment !

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