Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Let us presume

In which we visit the salon

So I'm thinking about Edith Stein, and this is the thing she wrote I'm thinking of, 'Let Us Describe':
Let us describe how they went. It was a very windy night and the road although in excellent condition and extremely well graded has many turnings and although the curves are not sharp the rise is considerable. It was a very windy night and some of the larger vehicles found it more prudent not to venture. In consequence some of those who had planned to go were unable to do so. Many others did go and there was a sacrifice, of what shall we, a sheep, a hen, a cock, a village, a ruin, and all that and then that having been blessed let us bless it.
This is one of her more coherent prose poems and personally all of Stein seems to make little sense and I'm not the only one who thinks so. Yet so many others loved/love her. Because what is happening in in 'Let Us Describe'? First the title sounds like an invocation. By the time you're done you're thinking maybe at a funeral, because of 'how they went' and all the blessing at the end. This is story but what the hell happens? It all seems an accident -- of writing, of description, of story. And does it matter what it's really about, isn't it about what we make it about? Because we long to make linear, happy ending sense of things. Edith doesn't even try (Tender Buttons, et al.). All I have in common with Edith is the describe part -- see the last post. (And others.) I keep spotting bald eagles on my way to and from work and in bed during all the nights, think about how somebody might write about them, in some little poetic paragraph thing, if one were inclined to do so, which I'm not ('Eagles Over Aboite'?). This slim commonality made me think about Edith, who was inclined to write about these modernist, random things. She's incoherent and I'm inchoate. Although I certainly do like to describe things, but because I am for common sensibility in writing, will tell you about where the Tupperware reference comes from, which you will thank me for in just a couple of lines. I keep my notes about Stein (and others) in letter-size plastic container things with lids that lock, which are not Tupperware but remind me of it. If I can't write about bald eagles, at least I'm not writing about stuff like (actual Stein things):

Water Raining
Water astonishing and difficult altogether makes a meadow and a stroke.

The sudden spoon is the same in no size. The sudden spoon is the wound in the decision.

You. Are. Welcome.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Thaw ugly

Fifty shades or so

We lived la vida blanco this winter, again, didn’t we?  Isn’t it delightful, we sing to one another at Christmas time. Met my old lover in the grocery store, the snow was falling Christmas Eve, and all. The music stops in January. But our white life is far from over and all we can do is dig deeper into the disguise. White like glue. White on rice. Great white way, that was my street. On a snowy day the quiet comes falling as on deaf ears. And time becomes no time in that monochromatic silence. But all that’s a lie, isn’t it, Yuri? If a little stubborn. Comes a March day and then other when it’s not so cold nor so silent nor the color palette so persistently ... absent of color. This afternoon the snow turned to rain and in the little woods outside the office, fog lurked at the roots of the thin, bare trees, winter’s wan ghost rising from the fading, dirty snow drifts. There’s no prettiness in the undiscovered dregs of weather here in Indiana. But last week’s full Worm Moon shone strong and clear, the finale of the exhausted season; like an old lover, after a turn she’ll be back in a new dress. La vida, indeed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The weight of winter

In which we m-c-square ourselves

So I was thinking about gravity. This is why English majors shouldn't watch movies about famous physicists. We don't know enough about quantum mechanics or the theory of relativity to make any sense about it. What we think about is if gravity shut off and we all started floating, I would hope I was not in my car or in a building, I would want to be outside and float up in the sky and breath for just a little while, until all the air floated away too. Or until I froze. I would see all the earth below and the sky above and it would be awesome. But of course this tangent is terribly imagined. For one the (disappearing) atmosphere would be way too crowded for this to be any fun, since everything would be floating away and it would be like a big bad game of bumper pool. All the things. And here's another thing, it's a confession. Before I wrote this I looked up about what would happen if gravity turned off and it's heavy stuff, all about the flattening of the universe and the space-time continuum would be all spaced and out of time. And there's something about a scalar field, I have no clue, but it's like the fabric of the universe is variable. All that knowledge seems too great a weight for one's imagination, the theory of everything like a stealthy, sneaky black hole sucking my floaty fantasy down it, proving that Wingardium Leviosa is more fun than turning off the G field, and why winter-afternoon daydreams shouldn't be muddied up with equations. You go, Aunt Marge.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A thin blue sky

In which we are blown away

It snowed off and on all day, gusty, white-out ghosts that scared people into staying home. People meaning me. But I didn’t want to write about that weather, for it was the over-the-top, blizzardy excess kind of meteorology the Weather Channel describes best. No, it was the next day after the front had blown past and we had to leave the house, forced to confront the elements full-face to the wind, that got me thinking somebody should write about it. We took the back roads through the country, the ones that cut through miles of flat Indiana snow-buried farm fields devoid of color, intersected by the dark lines of wind-rows. All that winter white, that absence of color, that blurring of detail. But brilliant in the early afternoon sun, snow like drifted galaxies. And it was cold, witch’s-tit cold, quick-frozen-jeans cold, numb-your-nose cold, outer-space cold. It was outer-space clear, too, the blue above us a thin and brittle illusion between the universe and us, as we drove down County Line Road on a Sunday afternoon. There didn’t seem to be much in the way between the stars and me, just that skin of blue and some sunshine. If I wasn’t in the car, if I were out in the field, maybe the wind would catch me like a snowflake and I’d end up in a constellation somewhere. Or maybe I’d melt in the thermosphere, somewhere above Arcola.  What a weird place, I thought, what a weird, weird place to feel at one with the universe.

Inspired by Carl Sagan's 'Pale Blue Dot.'

Centuries are what it meant to me / A cemetery where I marry the sea / Stranger things could never change my mind / I've got to take it on the otherside

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Where are you, Beatrice?

In which we walk on

At work there's this storage room they let us walk laps in. I think perhaps I've found the fifth level of hell, where the wrathful and the sullen are housed. Here find the sullen, slouching toward nowhere in this dim and dingy space filled with office detritus. Twenty-three laps make a mile, twenty minutes you'll never get back. It's a hard place in which to lose one's self, for the route demands attention with its short straight-aways, quick corners, and occasional co-worker. So no matter how loud the music in your ears, or how hard you ponder your in-box or your evening or world peace, you're always here, right here, in this claustrophobic circle putting one foot in front of the other. Where are you, Beatrice, when we need you?