Sunday, September 4, 2022

There's a lizard on the louvers

4 September 2022

Tragedy resides in sentences; comedy in words. Comity of meaning unspools like old tape, tangled in the rewind. Always change the gerund to the verb's active form, unless you’re in a desert where nothing seems to change. Changing seems abrupt, when the desert blooms a billion ants with nothing to eat. Nothing is not gerund, though it might be. The ongoing of nothing as nothing. Thing as the mother of all repetitions. If you want the words to come closer, I’d say my back has a dark cave between hip and lower spine, that in that cave numbers run 5-8 on the pain scale, that there are no fire shadows upon its walls. No forms, no memories, just the present ache. The present tense precludes ambition, which is why I like it here now. The I doesn’t bother me so much as its use as a comparative object or subject. I and thou can't compare. That’s the beauty of pronouns; they are not the comparisons so many sentences foist upon them. I more than thou cannot work; more is a wrench. My father was given a monkey wrench when he retired. We remember others as faces, though his hands told as many stories. The bent finger, the finger nearly torn off when his brother turned the washboard on. They ached, he’d say. The past re-presented as stiffness in the joints. Now mine jibe with his, but he’s beyond compare. Our conversations have the one-sidedness of tape, rather than occurring, they recur, which is occurrence on repeat, like a used-up technology for sound. We’d walk the canal at a good pace, when he was my age. There’s no content for our speech now, just a soft container. I tell my student to distinguish modernism by its nostalgia. Eliot wished his washing machine worked, and Pound fought the radio’s static. Later poets took photos of the dead machines, which rust had rendered beautiful, like an old cigarette on a hinge. If nothing exists out of context, then what is this but a context expanded outside itself, where the use value of cigarette evaporates in the humid air, replaced by found sculpture. “Why do that?” the men asked, when I told them I take photos of tools. How to say that they are tools beyond tools, assuming the role of grace notes to other constructions. No longer a level, the ruler with a window inside it becomes aquarium, mirror, wading pool. In a world that’s all projection, subjection almost sounds appealing. Let me be subject to the tool as object, to the sentence as pronoun, to this life as a dancing fly.

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