Sunday, November 29, 2020

Meditation 103


29 November 2020

From the empire of bad passes to the exurbs of yellow cards--groves of autumn trees--our goals stay put until the day we wake up to a blurry sun, having shed ambitions like jerseys, wandering into the streets of Manchester or Sheffield, nostalgic for pre-industrial fields we never saw but through the scrim of chimneys or an imitative pitch. Metaphor at the center of the latest twitter war, as if. We can make hills out of holes any day we please. “Sue fell in the hole!” someone yelled when I felt the canoe on my shoulders hit the ground. When she looked in the mirror, she saw her mother-in-law. The man on a horse called for a pogrom against family resemblances. The friend who pulled my Tarot cards found several knights of various qualities. The contradiction’s not in the card but in the cave of the heart, distinguished from the hole by its rhythmic embrace. Blood relations spilled, the picker-upper a sheaf of paperwork and a notary behind plexiglass to affirm your signature; your handedness puts you in a different family, one that includes the girl tortured for five years into writing right. If torture is an opera, then what's a string section doing out on the street beneath the stars (those that appear in too many poems) rubbing their bows across tunes of influence. When your music assimilates to standard, then you’ve lost it. The ref steps in to give you time on the pitch to heal your twisted ankle. Pitch transferred to another sport before it turned to tar sands, a poet tried in a court of law for blocking the pipeline with his words. The question of activism intrudes; what can this poem effect in the world when our factories of art are shutting down, their chimneys cleansed of performance. One knight’s a messenger of creativity, but what are the stations of his cross? When he returned from a Christmas bombing raid, he landed on one. It was runway, not hedgerow, a constructed symbol rising out of the Pacific night. We flew over southern Japan, an illuminated text of water and island; you could almost play it on a flute, if you knew the notes. I bought Bryant a tin whistle at the Cork Airport as I talked to a man in a fedora. Days previous, he’d been Tom Raworth vacuuming a floor at dawn, mint julep in his left hand. Someone at the hostel said he came from the Taliban.

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