Thursday, June 3, 2010

10. doubth

It is in the end and
through the continuum of it
only the word that matters, that
causes it all:

the eruption of emotion, the disruption
of the anyway wavering run of a life,
the daily deaths by consumption, by submission
to fear, the small tremors of doubt that terrorize
a morning’s orange juice, a newspaper’s read.

The challenge is to condense the sound of words
into the smallest space, to say with the least of words
and the fewest of them, to give oneself over
to the sinewy power of


if it is in an eye
if it can go away
if it will be here

if it will be always here
with us,
a sound that carries a meaning, but
a sound that carries an echo of the source of that meaning


the littlest words


that shrink smaller to a denser
sense of self


what is and carries forth, the precious
belief in mere existence, the self tied to consciousness,
to the understanding of self as a state of being,
an idea ratified by its simplicity, the splicing of two words
into one, the simple idea that

what I am
is that I am

and how this all forces us to find
meaning in the particulars, the particles,
the particulate of language and even
of the natural earth itself floating in air,

the oxygen that maintains us, the
breeze that cools us, the wind that moves us
across waters too deep to read right, the storm
that tears us down.

There is a word for it
and it is “it.”

Think about the language you make
and the thin fingers of your hand that put it down
onto the page. Think about the small bendings
and twistings you are required to make
to make those words, to scribble them down, to type
them out, to carve with ink the shapes of
wordless words. Think of the language about you
and the frame of a ghost passing by and muttering:

Il n’y a pas d’automne, parce que
je n’est pas ici. L’autre. C’est toujours l’autre.
Les yeux and les oeufs de quatr’oiseaux,
et les presqu’oiseaux aussi. Moi, je suis le
presqu’homme, l’autre, l’automobile immobile,
les mots de mort, le sigil d’hiver, la page
blanc, l’autre page blanc, l’auteur de
l’autre autre page blanc, mais je n’ais pas
des pages. Ma plage est mes pages,
le monde des mots. Ça c’est vrai? C’est toujours
vrai? Est-ce que vous êtes mort?

The gentle press of sounds
on the ear as a tongue might taste
an inner lobe. The slightest wind
winding you around. A broken
watch’s ticking, but the hands don’t
move, the numerals won’t move
either. What does not change is
whatever is wrong or broken or
bested. The sound of a tongue
about you, on even a warm and
unintimate day, might vary, a
change in tone or speed or accent,
the unpredictable scents of language,
wind rustling oak versus wind
shaking an aspen, and in those
changes come the meanings of
the moment, the way tea steeps
into a certain duskiness that
means it is what it is, what it
must be. They call it liquor.

As you bring to your lips
and pour over your tongue
(without looking at what
you are doing as you do)
an unfurling ribbon of tea,
what is the color you taste?
does that tea change the
words you say and how
you say them? can you
hear even the swallowing
of the liquid? and is the
glottal stop a sound that
means a world to you?

Imagine yourself on a street corner,
look up into the blue and see
a skywritten text that reads
(though you are really the one
who reads it)


a banner saying the same
trapped in the branches of a tree,
the same message painted on the sides
of buildings, billboards repeating
the message in red, street signs
tell you who you are not, and
stray sheets of newspaper catch
on your legs, the wind blowing them,
circle around your calves, your thighs,
your torso and as they wrap around
your head you read the headline
screaming in 50-point type. And you
are fully wrapped in words
that do not believe you are yourself,
that proclaim you are not.

Do you accept the message
keeping homage to the whisper of words,
the forceful tenor of their insistence?

Or do you fold the words away
from your face? do you fold them into
little packets of words? tiny sachets
of inkwords that say on their faces


so that you can deny the words
by using them? Do you make the words
say what they never meant to say?
And what are the smallest thoughts
you have with words?

It is it.

I am I.

Who are you?

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