a photograph of text on paper databended by running the raw data file through Audacity and adding echo and phase.
origami makes nothing happen
Our neighbor has a birthmark which covers most of her face. It’s not the shape of Jesus, nor of Stalin. It’s not the shape of the Great Rift Valley, nor of this story. Her birthmark is a black hole, vast and mysterious, and we cannot look, cannot look away.
“What’s the big deal?” my son asks. “She was my Grade 2 teacher. She was really nice.“
“Look again,” I say. “Look through that telescope which you have coyly hidden behind the almost-closed curtains of your bedroom. Gaze into her birthmark and you will see time and space collapsing, light disappearing. The glint of the sideview mirror, new quarters flipped into the bright morning air, a sudden shine from the policeman’s badge. Your poor red heart will turn into some kind of ground beef and get sucked in into her birthmark along with streetsigns, seniors hobbling before our front window, horses, the planets, spiral nebulae, great gas giants, and the memories of entire civilizations, the Mesozoic, skipping games, philosophical paradoxes, and the sadness when youth is over. I’m sure you will feel that soon, son, its dull metal taste, its acrid, static melody. But you will have your children, their consolations and material support. And so, in the dim fossil glow when time has just about called it a day, your progeny orbiting bedside, spittle dribbling from your weak and juddering lips, your sallow lungs will wheeze, and you will whisper, perhaps to a son who is the age you are now. “Son,” you will say, I have something to tell you.”
“Wait,” my son interrupts. “Hold that thought. This just in.“ His eyes roll back in his head. I worry that this might be some kind of seizure, something medical and life ending. But he is gesticulating dramatically toward our neighbour, and he begin to speak.“Look across the street,” he says. “Our neighbour’s tawny and spectacular legs shudder like earthquakes, her breath is a solar flare. Her eyes fill with the obsidian shadows of deep space. Her pert teeth are constellations which tell their own legends. Who are we? What is our place in all this changeable uncertainty? If communication is dark matter, what are our mouths, our wild exhalations like solar wind seeking night?”
As always, my son is trying to upstage me with the febrile drama of his false pronouncements. But I am the great blue earth, and beneath the whorl of my clouds, my plains are filled with blond lions and velvet-nubbed giraffes, pods of great singing whales ranging beneath my chuffing seas. I am the centre of everything yet my son insists on performing his foppish and heliocentric Charlestons like a recalcitrant Galileo crocheting petty starlight before the otherworldly terra firma of the Holy Father.
“Your quotidian bluster lacks the poetic gravitas of the actual,” I tell him. “The black hole is ravenous. It is expanding. Soon it will cover our neighbour’s entire body, a predatory shadow, an endless mine-shaft through time and space. Then it will engulf her side of the street. Then the world. What sparkles at its core? What does it pull toward its alchemical treasures?”
My son, the foretold spittle now running in delicate rivulets down his upturned pink chin, raises both arms, and calls out some unintelligible equation, rotten with coefficients and imaginary trigonometric pig-Latin. Then he runs blindly across the street. We can be thankful that here, in the cul-de-sac of our lives, there is little traffic. No SUV charges toward its End-of Days assignation with daycare, no delivery truck plows forward, laden with time-sensitive communication and Internet-ordered folderol. The well-kept blades of our neighbour’s lawn part before the quick glossolalia of my son’s sneakers, a Exodus-enabling sea of grass flinching before his mad and unintelligible dance. He dives toward his former Grade 2 teacher searching for who knows what further instruction on the calligraphic mysteries of the letter F and the hieratic protocol surrounding the grasping of pigtails and the ringing of little girls’ hair. For a moment his body with its sad white sneakers is parallel to the slight curve of the earth and is beautiful.
My son disappears into the infinite shadow that is our neighbour’s birthmark.
Once again, he has stolen the scene.
Our neighbour, with her remarkable legs, leaps the fence, running to comfort me.
The Median is the Message
Really only a few more days to order this chapbook of my visual poetry (and other chapbooks of some great visual poetry by a range of other international) authors) before the publisher closes up shop permanently.
Link to order.
My book: “Photoglyphic collages of free-range semi-colons, vowels, imaginary letters, and an m or two. Language in its natural environment: a Magritte-like graphosphere of shifting sign and surface. A languagescape of pond, forest, and field notes. The alphabet as stigmata on the open hands of the world.”
"A word relationship between the word and the things seen" (for David McGimpsey)
from The Wild and Unfathomable Always
from The Wild and Unfathomable Always
From The Wild and Unfathomable Always
My computer is down so I bought this little children’s typewriter from the 1950s