Thursday, November 15, 2007


Machinery and Fence

The semantic beadle of anecdote:
How little muster or command
Is required for story. Think
Of Hopkins’s salvable journal entries,

Enviable one-word days, a
Vocabulary of nothing beyond weather.
‘Dull.’ ‘Fine.’ ‘Dull chiefly.’ ‘Cold.’
Long sequacious notes of story,

Communicant and bailiff to system, bin
And receptacle to desire, its
Pitiless want and impenetrable codes.
Story varlet and tinker to

The available rinse, to scarf-
Ends snapping in skatery chase,
To the gauzy clouds nictitating
Membranous across the yellow moon.

Cold morning, coagulants in the brain-box. Crude oil and tarry sepulchre. Days one “wonders” about the “point” of one’s own undispellable compulsion to adjoin word to word, to gird up & fill grid after grid with a dispelling of nouns, a gnat-swarm of nouns. Some fly, or several, that enter in, & enter’d in, proceed to sortie & arrange, to constellate a frugal finery. I find two paragraphs in a piece call’d “Invol” in Andrew Joron’s The Cry at Zero, nigh perfect, alarmingly so:
Just as Chaos keeps its hidden orders—assuming that Beauty is beyond scale—if, & only if, its iteration is driven to Fury—So you have crosst my Tongue with the oldest knife.

Skepticism must ban the sight of Utopia: a straight line is the deepest labyrinth. Natural language has no author. The reddening of the landscape coincides with the movements of a clock.
A koyaanisqatsi kind of thing, or that Lawrence Durrell line about the universe poking one back, with a “nudge.” Think of “ecstasy in stasis,” that standing flywheel about to come undone, a cohort in a garden (hortatory, horticultural), clump’d up and blossoming (blowing itself to pieces), any of those terrible balancing acts, “grace under pressure.” Isn’t that what art is, and why one troubles it so? Or it troubles one so?

Locusts Swarming (Nouakchott, Mauritania, 1993)