Friday, August 9, 2013

On a passage by Andrew Maxwell


I'm proposing that thankfulness stands apart from decay. It's not a grooming, or unequal reaction to some splintering oak in the backyard. But it's neither indifferent, this positive, furtive strength.

I'm proposing it, as if it were some eternal notion.

--Andrew Maxwell

The rhapis palm fronds hang from the tree, brown to their as-yet-green tips. Decay of cloud, decay of wind, decay of grass, decay of conversation, decay of wit, decay of delay, decay of rainbow smudge, decay of Ko`olau, decay of waterfall, decay of tract home, decay of shore break, decay of wave curl, decay of soccer ball, decay of civil defense siren, decay of cat call, decay of orange fur, decay of self-regard.

The video is played over so slowly as to block affect. The video begins with burgers, ends with one man dead, the other spattered in blood. He says he sees the video every time he tries to sleep, and we hope that this is true. The video never diverges from its narrative, moves always toward the kick, the push, the gun, the man dead. There is no decay in this slice of time; there is nothing we who watch it can forget. Turn away. To forgive, writes the philosopher, is to make an arbitrary choice. Out of time, yet part of its decay.

Until it's over, childhood decays in reverse. It falls apart as growth, addition, an obstinate word. We watch from our actual stations of decay, those that carry the breeze with more ambivalent sound. We are the police on the pole, earning money for charity, while the new music hurls itself on the parking lot. We watch, attend, try control. He resisted arrest; we want it. To hold this moment still, like a globe, seems right. But the children say no, moving on (for them still forward), while our memories decay back, lifted like text from a book left in the wilderness for a year. Type lifted out of decay, poetry not found but arbitrarily preserved. The climate is a poet.

As if is what lasts. As if cannot decay. As if is a little girl. As if confuses need with desire, chooses desire. As if is as if. As if is the language of one's teens and twenties.

It was is what I say, knowing it as if true.

Andrew Maxwell's work from Peeping Mot, Berkeley: Apogee Press, 2013.


No comments: