Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In this way they abode till the evening, when she gave him money, because she found his weaving nice and good. Skill of almost any sort arrives, apparently, as a result less of repetition and careful sustained effort, and more from an organism’s piercing the sole of the recipient’s bare foot, dragging itself upward through flesh and into the bloodstream. The pain is minimal, turning one’s evenings into nothing more threatening than a dull, shapeless gray apparition like those you might see hovering just beneath the waves in an inland sea. Boulders. Turtles. But the individual thus infected will begin to speak to himself repeatedly in a barely audible whisper. It’s enough to cause those who love him (and even some who don’t) to become very concerned. They might broach the subject of professional intervention – interns, technicians, shamans. Eulalie never seems short of the cash necessary to hire someone to set the nearby amusement park’s rides to moving again the way they were designed to move. This after they have frozen up for an interval due to neglect and overuse, or simply a lack of imagination. And if she wishes to lean in to get a better vantage point from which to decipher these and other sounds, she also knows that the sudden changes in direction will play havoc on the senses and compromise the results much the way we compromise our emotions when we allow them to bound about unchecked. When we unleash them on a crowded room like a flock of pigeons and expect them to stay away from the open windows. I live up the hill from the river which floods about twice a year and has the habit of taking with it the dwellings situated lower down, at a bend in the road where the gravel gives way to bare earth and so reminds those who must travel it by foot of what can happen to the flesh when it too is exposed to the elements, when it is left out in the open (due to a tear in the sleeve of one’s coat, say, or the deliberate hiking up of a skirt) and the sun is beating down or the rain comes in sheets and makes a sound unlike any other sound in the known universe. If you were to try to recreate it using something other than water and the various surfaces water can alight on in this part of the world, you would inevitably drive yourself to madness. Or something very like madness in its insistence on creating lists of geographical place names and the names of rivers you have never been to and even artists whose work you despise in spite of the fact that you have never actually seen much of it – just a photo here and there showing something, if you believe the caption accompanying it, representative. A left hand inventing melodies on the keyboard of a piano while the right attempts to pluck houseflies from mid-air. A skull composed of discarded pieces of clear plastic bottles and placed atop a mound of actual skulls in what purports to be a commentary on the life we live now that we live so far away from where human life is said to have originated. And I suppose you could call what we do now in response longing, because it certainly feels like longing, in the gut where such sensations are said to register. But the word seems too bold and too timid at precisely the same time, a mistake made when we rely on words when we ought really to be relying on silence because silence carries within it everything that might possibly be said much the way light carries within it all other wavelengths or the way sand piles up around a monument (a ziggurat, say, or a statue of someone standing absurdly erect)  until you can’t see it anymore. And as a consequence, you begin slowly to lose all sense of who might have erected the monument in the first place. And, perhaps more importantly, why. Why they might have felt the need to let others know of their presence -- of something as simple and self-evident as the fact that they existed, that they took up space here, and now they don’t, and the difference between these two is something nearly unthinkable. 

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