Time Out of Mind

A quilted retrospective.

After the sand of the hour had spilled from the mantle, I kept watch beside myself in low tide mirrors, the sea at my ankles returning us to the corners of childhood libraries. With bare feet resting in tulip beds, I borrowed confidence from open pages and read to them. Their still-unopened faces swayed in blind brilliance and we held there, unknowing.  

Seasons passed and we were separated until I was alone at the edge of a wasteland. I had a threaded needle and no pattern in sight. I spent a long time dreaming. Once in the warehouse, time’s gears were in pieces on the floor. I held a face in my hands, and it whispered reminders. I would need to fold the fields behind me first, then set to stitching. 

I wore fire against the rain and cut a new dress from the remnants of the last harvest. Gorged on ripe losses, my scalp sang anemones. Hold, I whispered to the new blooms, that they might stay until the hour returned. 

***

Inspired by images in this article about the work of Ukranian artist Oleg Oprisco, known for creating surreal settings from everyday elements.

Poet of Things

For Francis Ponge.

Let’s go to the mute world of things, beyond the reach of the tyrannical hordes and the hordes of tyrants-in-training with their drums set to the old standard, Idea! Idea! Idea! always keeping the beat of self-proclaimed righteousness.

I’d rather listen to the drum before it’s conscripted into the service of some march or another. After that, I’ll go visit with the soap, whose songs are vivid with suds, its cheeky humor always slipping through the grasp.

I speak for no one and would never presume to ventriloquize one of these––or anyone else, for that matter. But I am drawn to their ripe quietude, each like a waiting page, like the open hand of a familiar stranger, inviting the next dance. I am, after all, a creature of language, bound by fate to remake each daily scene one day at a time, and my humble purpose is for noticing what happens at the interface between these winking syllables and these never-ending odds and ends, waiting to be new again.

***

This morning I learned that it was the birthday of French writer Francis Ponge (1899-1988), an essayist and poet associated with the surrealist movement, who famously reimagined the inner lives of ordinary things in his workI admire the gentle playfulness and generosity of his spirit.

Old Man at the Twilight Hour

For the artist.

Listen. The invisible harp plays

on the west side of the Isle of

the Dead

Eat. Here is a fried egg on a 

plate without the plate, served

at a coffee house scene in Madrid.

Wait. I knew I knew you when 

you cared to emphasize that 

honey is sweeter than blood.

Rest. Soft monster, rest.

***

On this day in 1989, Salvador Dali died. He was eighty-four. 

Relativity

What happened when the light changed.

The ants were marching one by two, hurrah, and from a chrysalis came particles of light. The old light waved from the shores we had left, and there was no going back. Clocks melted in these new sands at our tentative feet and soon after, the bodies on canvas began to separate from themselves and from any of the forms we thought we knew. It became possible to be neither in or out of being, but both at once, and above it as with dreams. The ants were going somewhere but here was another unknown among the unseen worlds, now in catch of our breaths.