Sunday, March 3, 2024

4 March 2024

Not to try to interpret . . . but to look . . . till the light suddenly dawns. To take a photograph that can be guessed at, but not mean, as if image were music, the shadow of a strip of paint on the parking structure deck. Almost bird, but not. Almost slingshot. Almost moon surface. Almost topo map. Stunned by its mis-fit, this queering of decay (see Sara Ahmed). A sunset streams down the grid of parking stalls, but that’s not the good photograph, even as orange sun points toward us on our way to a baseball game. I love pulling back from assigning a name to this shape and its shadow, the way an image moves a viewer, but in what direction she can’t describe. Rothko’s parking structure, sacred rot.

White lines peel upward, the letter G hardly itself any more. There’s a walkway from one to the other side of the structure; there are benches, planters, a formerly green area (before they put in solar paneled roofs). No one wanted to sit there on the concrete, in the high sun, beside the dying grass, but as an architectural feature it made some sense. That’s the problem with sense, isn’t it, that it makes without meaning, and meaning so often makes so little of sense. The ex-president talks about languages that no one speaks crossing our borders. It’s hard to imagine such bodiless sounds drifting over the southern border in the sun, craving water and a blanket, spelling themselves out for audiences of one. Clearly, we’re meant to see them as dangerous in a synesthesia of fear. The floating wall in the Rio Grande can’t stop them, this viral sound that hints at sense but refuses to signify.

The language flees its homeland, broken into noise; somewhere in the caravan we might find its privileged ear, the conch that understands its tones. A conch sounded before the game, though it was piped in. Conches sounded before the movies, as hula dancers filled the suburban screens. A sound of yearning, untuned from the sacred, cow bell used to alert children to dinner. In this country, you can’t have children (by IVF) and you can’t not have children to save your life (by abortion). But we need more children! says the senator to the press.

The forming and the deforming land mirror each other. Lava from a helicopter, parking structure from my iPhone. The land is moving. The image is moving. But to see it, we need to park ourselves. When the fire station was damaged by a tornado, donors sent folding chairs for the firefighters to sit in. It’s a waiting game. If you slow down far enough, there’s nothing to see but what’s there in front of you.

Note: Italicized phrase by Simone Weil.

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