To resist the floodlight’s patrolling glare, its demands and agendas, its attendant megaphone, in favor of a posture of listening, a touch whispered enough to elicit shivers of recognition. This earned denial of easy access. The elegant strength, to hold a posture possessed of substance so rich that it will be perennially misunderstood in this landscape, resisting the impulse to break the pose of perfect opacity––to correct, as the saying goes, by shedding some light.
How else could you photograph sound?
Here is the wise light of the dark surface, opening,
in praise of the unknown, unnamed
here is a deft grammar of mystery.
How much to be,
how much to be imagined
in these shadows.
Look, do not look,
Inspired by the work of Roy DeCarava.
Before we thought we had any, there was no need for reminders back to what language occludes. We knew our names were clumsy, we felt the thud of them against surfaces and the weight of words blundering around us, knocking so much over in the effort to reach their objects, trampling entire worlds underfoot. We felt the cascading fall of us, trying to arrive, claiming at once home and this home is not mine. Disarmed, disobedient, dislocated, we could not saw what we were, and this was our best chance. The world was dizzy, and we met it on these terms, calling come out come out to one another, wherever you are.
Suddenly, it happens: a tear in the fabric between the real and the virtual, blurring the distinction again. From the messenger, an unbidden memorandum of old photos, remember this?––and you don’t, and who took these, and the answer, you already know, is any one of the someones in your circle, keeping constant vigil on the eerily mundane, to send it back to you in surprise morsels like this, to knock your balance slightly in time like a friendly hip-bump on a moving train.
Another call, appearing local, heralds an automated voice. A mixed sense of betrayal and vague remorse after hanging up. Surely there are better directions for these sentiments.
Open the screen at your lap, looking. How many windows open simultaneously in this chamber and what gale comes to rattle the lamps? The curtains are gone since the last storm, a pretense anyway. The office party returns to the bedroom. See the frozen faces, pixel blossoms and broken voices, seeming to speak. One emits partial words, something like a sentence, beginning with We and ending with Here before the screen goes dark.
Inspired by (and with borrowed images from) the opening pages of Nathan Allen Jones’ Glitch Poetics, Open Humanities Press (2022).
How rarely anyone says, Now watch it disappear outside the performance of magic, and yet. This flame, once so bright, now gone. Where did you last see it? We can wave a hand, but can we name it? Right here, sure, but it wasn’t exactly touching the fuel. Neither was it not touching.
Maybe this is why we speak of the states we are or aren’t in, as if this being were one of these, firm and four cornered for collecting projections, as if they were shells on sand.
Clunk. In goes another. But what is the sound of disappearance?
We all fall from our infinities. These landings have a way of knocking the wind from the lungs. After the crash, there’s a stillness before it begins again. Inhale, exhale.
Loquat, cypress, tire swing. Field mouse, damselfly, dark-eyed junco. Brush rabbit, baby, coyote. All of this before you even find your feet again.
What will you do without your delusions of endlessness? The unbound forever vanished, here is a beginning instead.
Interrogations at terminal velocity.
First, a threshold. Questions about the roots of things tend to call common sense from the jury box to the witness stand. Being may be what knowing apprehends, but answer: can you point to an essence outside knowing? Yes or no.
No further questions, Your Honor.
Recess. Outside, cellophane angels drop into boxes. Here are the signs. We’ll attach them like armor, with the same duct tape used to silence those objecting to being objects of study.
Bells again, wait. We were at a threshold, trying to begin––what, though? And were we calling it? I’ve lost––the engine’s speed has thrown me back again, and as for the thread I meant to follow, before the angels and the tape, where now?