Monday, June 28, 2010

35. Olfactory Illusion

It is, as if a type of wonder, to wonder if
the smell that comes from the body or the air—or if
it comes from the room in itself, as if there were,
as itself, parts of the room of the house, in the place where
houses are maintained in a set, and presented in rows and appearing
as if crossing over each other, in space, under boughs of maple,
stain of shadow at their feet, even if in the slowly flashing light,
firefly, abdomen, bioluminescent, a light that appears then appears
again, out of place, as if moving in space, humid, as if a moving of
turgid space, wet with the scent of water filling, as if it had fallen
heavy from the sky, whose drops are worlds where thrive
every ancient civilization, tumbling to earth, a carpet of water,
a sheen, the sweat of the earth, a cool rain that makes us warm,
when warmth’s not needed, the sun slipped, as if away, from view,

and it is, as if there were in the body the ability to feel the passage of time,
that I might measure the space of it, as if it were a graspable thing,
and in this way I might comprehend, to the degree to which,
or of which, in the manner of its being, that the state that exists,
continuing, like a present, might be a systematic set of pasts,
each gathered with its others, in the hope that what appears
before me is never, as we might assume, what is, but something
entirely else, not the lived and lyrical present, but a misplaced past
bound, wrist to wrist, with another past and another,
so that I might suddenly experience my life, as if it had happened,
as if I could pay attention to it, and how, and in what way, it happens,
or there could be a room in what we call a house, beside a quiet street,
and that room would hold the secret stench of itself in a quiet way,
as smells are usually quiet, given to quietness, even if ostentatious

in the ways of being what they are, just as a cardinal is red only in
the event that it is a male, and filled with blood, and that it will swoop
through the garden as if I had built it stone by plant by brick for
the entertainment of birds, which pilfer the berries of the bushes,
though there might be two of them there, my hands are thus empty,
I could, in my way, swing them, open, at the winds, like a sail, and
try to move across, in a manner that might be over, except without
the addition of up, and if I look up what I might see might be sky, or
might be the replacement for sky we call night, starless, verdant
though only by the fact that what might be green if it were day and
my eyes couldn’t see what’s the color blue, which is the color of see,
though it is called seeing, as if it were not actually a form of water,
the process by which the eyes see forward, rolling out and then
pulling back, as if returning to ocean, so that the seeing’s known,

or it is the shape that the air takes, conforming to practice,
molding itself into the shape of around-tree, into the shape of
around-house, into the shape of around-me, practice without effort,
repetition without need to increase a skill, always there, it pushes
even as it is pushed away, for which reason we know it always is
the shape of itself because its shape conforms to the body, if I breathe
in, it takes the shape of my lungs, if I steal it from someone, it takes
the shape of a canister, the shape of inside-nostril on its way
to the lungs, so that I might smell, before the lung what it is that
it carries with it—that smell, if it were a smell and not an illusion,
or if the scent of it were the smell of urine, maybe of cat, maybe
of man, or if it were scent of human, that human sweat left on
a cushion, a pillow, a bed, a sweat from sweating out the night,
until the bed was moist with desire to wake, to cool, to be, to want.

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