Sunday, June 29, 2008


The public voice. The push and pull of you and your mother across the dirty sunny busy street--you're her youngest, but she's in your city and hasn't been anywhere with roads like this since Rome. Who's leading who, the littlest chick who has made her home in a new and bizarre city, or the mother who doesn't watch upsetting movies because they "stay" with her there--this she tells the former monk in your kitchen in the summer dusk while you awkwardly do everything, taking your cutting board over to the stovetop so they won't see if the way you're cutting is incorrect.

The poem you're translating has a lot of camel in it and although the horse is the most miraculous animal the camel is the most unlikely. Robin Williams figured before you did that God has to be a real stoner. Look at the human ear.

I ruined it, but what was there to be ruined aside from a false cathedral of construct--some times a dash of parentheses doesn't do it--the juice you bought for your mother has frozen solid in the fridge--I happen to like my white wine as cold as possible--parentheses offer enclosure but not a manatee, a fetus, or anything else you might doodle, and certainly not closure.

I cried a lot when I was cutting the onions before they joined me in the kitchen. If I could just occupy myself with metaphysical questions, I tell the former monk, when I wake up unable to move, instead of daydreaming about sex with men who are to some extent unavailable, I could be like some junior apprentice Descartes.

"Do you have milk?" He asks me.

Oh the relief of space on the page when dialogue happens! And the beauty of writing know instead of now.

"I think proffering is just offering with a 'pr'," he says. We go on to discuss when a bed becomes a deathbed. When has someone gone from living to "Dying"? Twenty-five breaths before the last! We decide. Before then, the person is just unwell in their bed, not dying on their deathbed.

He says, "I think the answer to your little koan--my little pony--is that you should take responsibility for what you're responsible for and not what the world is responsible for. "
He spatters the floor with milk, because the ice inside the carton has made it dangerous to grab normally. "I'm useless," he says. "It's why you're here," I say. "I think you're the only person to tell me that," he says. "If I didn't find strictly non-utilitarianly valuable skills and events useful on some level I'd have offed myself a long time ago," I say.

In the world of the page, if everything could be interpreted in the "slow world of metaphor" in equally illuminating terms, then the signified itself, the milk carton, the former monk's face, the dusk, the cutting board in the sink, every thing that becomes a metaphor on the page carries in itself if not the essence of illumination at least the potential for it. Before he went to the reindeer he made a sound upon entering that was weak and newborn, between a moan and a sigh. Draw your manatees and let the tears come: you are awake.

1 comment:

samraat said...