Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Proposition without thesis



To write without purpose is to talk; those with purpose compose. But I can’t imagine many of his poems spoken out loud, unless by someone on the street without a cell phone at their ear, or bud. The dark wood required a bushwhack, just as the lawn prescription’s a weed wacker. It’s improvisation within the frame of underbrush, boulder, chaos that accumulates into clutter. An idea starts the engine sputtering; you’re more conscious of that than of the `io that screams over the ohia. Chance operations, like lichen on a blue truck, or the leg bone of a cow beside the road, make better art than organization. Flow charts get heavier at the top, the more syllables the better, if your title means to lead and to own. If your students miss the first week, you’re required by federal law to report them; that way, it’s easier to take away their scholarships. It was sad to see her without her mask on, having lost her husband and then her husband’s dog, but she perked up quickly. Now that’s talk story, but what of non-narrative talk? They say their loved ones speak in word salad, laugh alone in their rooms. The punch-line comes not of a joke-as-story, but a confabulation of tenses. We are afraid of the future, Norman opines, but what of the present, ferries leaving Greece in flames, coral bleaching, the titles we give to self-destruction. A famous author called him in the hospital to urge him to get ECT; it saved his life. The famous author died later, by his own hand. The Pacific, an article says, is the canary in the coal-mine for climate change. Is that metaphor mixed, or inane? And yet we understand the meaning, if not the conveyance. It’s like a ground-breaking swim in the Olympics. Or the framed yellow bird who appears to whisper in the ear of a woman in the break-out room who hears a song of insecurity. We expect raven, but get gold finch. White eyes live up to their name; they, too, are invasive, brought to the islands in cages, now fluttering over the gardenia bush in the front yard. His work never changed, but he made more of his backyard than any poet earlier or since. To breathe is to be present, because only the body is, as the rest of us tails off in conniption fits, aka thoughts, leaving us to throw our anchor as air.

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