Nothing comes from nothing, except the marble block in which a sculpture waits to come walking out. Soap feels good, not because sterling is unswayed by soothsaying, but because little bells jingle on the horses as our sleigh is pulled more deeply into the night. Beans painted delicately in acrylic heave with wisdom. You can leave, but you can’t come back and expect the same beans. This aphorism is indulged because it coughed, and its pigment sweated a strange geology. Sometimes texture is best expressed by squeezing a potato. Needs are fitted to the individual. Volumes are exchanged. A man walks around in his skin believing morality begins with anarchy. This could be true. Time is metal. The hours flame with anguish. The minutes droop in tiny incisions as the sky breaks into little pieces. When our lives have finally begun to be fulfilled, a mirror will reflect them on a sphere of crystal on a sideboard in the library. It is as if a smear of music were bumped and rolled and chronicled in the headlines of a muffin thermometer seen to whisper at the edge of the cemetery. If you open that drawer of rivers you can expect to get wet. I’m not kidding. The tombs murmur of granite and vertebrae. Kerosene plays at emanation in the diagnosis of a rock. Constancy brims with sequence, but uncertainty exults in fire. Perforations look good in either aluminum or birch. I really like what you’ve done to the studio. The sweat on your veins insinuates the pathos of pushing. All the paper is tangible. All the canvases are formidable. All the palettes are palatable. The expansion we find in Whitman is everywhere buckled in cream. This conclusion is garish but dry. Here is a knot of tilted light. Bite this shape into an evolved explosion. A spoon with a prominent osprey on the handle. Then expand it into astronomy. The events at the bistro will become apparent. The leather grammar of extension creaks when we sit on the horse of language. Some of these metaphors may not be sweet. Your tattoos are leaking a violent image, the tin ocean of a stern heart. Or is it a calculus congealed into mustard? I can no longer be sure of anything, unless it squirts, or offers a form of diversion based on the bugs in the garden. All that sculpture does for ancestry is provide a pound of war and an ounce of paradox. In illusionism, it is always the card tricks that hatch into lanolin, elude our keener perceptions and lapse into antiquity where all the ghosts of our weekends are stirring in oblivion. Everything jaunty and touching is tied to some action or another. A bas-relief anchored in stone announces a paradigm of locomotive dominion in the rails of our belief. But what is our belief? Beliefs have a tendency to change from day to day unless you nail them to a camera or moor them in a religion. Everything is indispensable. Nothing is literal. Except maybe an orange canoe. Floating is wet. But oysters are palaces of discarded conclusions, rain on a purple flower, or an ear of hectic curlicues. Each car has a destiny written into it before it even leaves the manufacturer. This could be the sternum of a hill or an ontology of insects and highways. Ooze life. Hold your ticket firmly in your hand. Moss and mosquitoes knit the world into Fauve boxing matches between truth and perspective. It is always a joy to study a problem that can never be answered. There will sometimes be a prominence of gowns at such events, plugs of cinnamon and a table at the side of the road. Insults are rarely explored. There is no need to. The train is arriving. We can finish our argument later. The frictions are random as rain. Opinions have roots, and frictions are knives that slice the air into conversation, swans on a squeezed accordion.
John Olson is the author of numerous books of poetry and (chiefly) prose poetry,
including Dada Budapest, Larynx Galaxy, and Backscatter: New And Selected Poems. He is also the author of four novels, including In Advance of the Broken Justy, The Seeing Machine, The Nothing That Is, and Souls Of Wind.