Friday, October 1, 2010

Here It Isn't

Here it isn’t: the poem I can never write. I cannot write it because it cannot be written. It isn’t made of words. Or thoughts or dreams or gravity or gravy. Or denotations or detonations or combinations or nebulas of stars. Gravity in gravy or space with a consonance of spice. It has no metaphors or phantoms. No semaphores or rivers. It is a poem of nothing. It has nothing in it. The poem itself is nothing. It does not exist. It means nothing, promises nothing, leads to nothing, professes nothing.

Think of Wyoming. The clouds, the air, the wind, the rocks, the plants, the birds, the horses, the roads. Now remove everything from your mind. Remove Wyoming from your mind. Sweep it all out. Sweep it clean from your mind. Everything. Bridles. Stirrups. Ropes. Corrals. Lassoes. Cliffs. Buttes. Canyons. The poem is not Wyoming. It is not even Death Valley.

The poem does not exist. If it had an existence, it would no longer be the poem that it would be if it was a poem made of words. A poem with an existence. A poem that meant something. A poem with feelings and fingers and eagerness and possibly an accordion. This is not that poem. If it was that poem, it could not be that poem, because it would have an existence, it would have these words making it exist, squeezing the accordion, pressing little pearl buttons, creating melodies and ideals. Spectral energies. Pegs. Eyes. Crows and giants. And so this is not that poem. Not the poem that cannot be written. The poem that I want to write by not writing it.

The poem of non-existence cannot exist. If it existed, its existence would rid it of non-existence, and by not existing, it would cease to exist. The act of writing such a poem would destroy that poem.

Consequently, this is not that poem, can never be that poem, however much it tries to not exist, the act of not existing causes it to exist. It undoes itself in the process of doing itself. Doing nothing. Being a poem. Not a proverb. Not a wad of leaves. Not a trunk. Not a branch. Not a web. Not a root. Not a grain. Not a knot. Not a knot in the grain. Not a knot in the bark. Not a gnosis. Not a gnomon. Not a gnu. Not that. No knots. No gnosis. No gnomon. No gnocchi. No gnat. Not even that. No nimbus. No Noh. Nothing. But not quite nothing. Never quite nothing. Always something. Something heavy. Or light. A shape. A form. A dereliction of air.


Mickey O'Connor said...

Once I had this dream where I saw a vacuum & this vacuum was a robot that flew around & one of the robot's arms was a brush & the other arm was a dust pan vacuum tube & the robot vacuum zoomed around about cleaning the house & once all the dust & dirt was vacuumed up this robot vacuumed up a chair , then a couch & the entire couch vacuumed into the robot body disappeared- poof & then it vacuumed the rugs, the floor, the pictures on the wall, then the actual walls were vacuumed & then the whole house disappeared into this vacuum. Next the machine zoomed up & down the street vacuuming oak trees, shrubberies & cars & entire houses- poof ! gone. Then the vacuum vacuumed up the entire planet earth & the vacuum robot was floating in black interstellar space & the vacuum arm sucked the brush arm up & kept vacuuming the vacuum body until the vacuum itself got vacuumed & disappeared & then there truly was nothing left. Then i woke up. This poem of yours reminds me of this dream, John. Once I told a friend of mine this dream & he listened attentively & after I finished the telling told me that various primitive cultures have stories similar to this one. Ouroboros is maybe one story he was referring to.

John Olson said...

Was the robot's name Hoover? I like the part about the vacuum getting vacuumed. Have you ever wondered what existed before the Big Bang? Henry Hess invented the first vacuum cleaner, in 1860. It had a rotating brush and a bellows. Our vacuum is a geotropic Koala which operates by disassembling dirt and then reassembling it as hand puppets.