Saturday, September 3, 2011

Solace In Adjectives

The world is divided into facts: floods, seasons, diseases. Clouds, bluebells, harmonicas.

Perforations aren’t what they used to be. I used to be able to tear off a section of paper towel in one shot. Now I have to saw it in half.

Have you ever tried to drive a car while prophesying?

I love travel. I am sympathetic to anything in motion. Especially if it is moving away from me. Or if I am moving away from it. I’m not saying I’m an unregenerate misanthrope. All I’m saying is that if you swing from a trapeze 50 feet above the ground, you should be able to trust the person that is going to catch you.

Propositions resemble arrows. The fingernail clippers are in the bathroom in the drawer to the far right. That’s one arrow. Here is another arrow. There is a Geiger counter on the dashboard ticking wildly as we approach Fukushima. And Obama wants to build more of these things. Are you kidding me?

Some people do not know how to follow arrows. Even if that arrow happens to be a wolf baring his fangs in the Yukon. Or hot water squirting out from the valve when it gets turned open.

I marvel at the way cameras assert themselves. A face behind every camera. Clumsy particles of light walk around inside the camera and become an image. A birthday. Variegations of green in an avocado. A man ruminating on a shoe.

If you let the world in, you have to let it back out. Choose a color, rub your arm. That will do the trick. If not, write a mentally indigestible letter and mail it to the president of a clumsy particle.

A meaning is anchored in words. It may be heavy as a truck tire, particularly in its relation to the world. To the road. The proverbial highway. Where things happen. A man and his violin waiting for a bus. Swallows. Bing cherries. A woman riding a lawnmower off Highway 17 near Moses Lake.

I lived in California for ten years. Believe me, that’s where things happen. Big things. Like boiling water for tea. Daubing paint on a canvas. Manicuring your cuticles. Examining the sternum of an Egyptian mummy. Who happened by one day to ask: why does water glisten so brightly? There are times when the division between the organic and non-organic ceases to exist. Dry yourself by the fire and mull it over. The division among things is blurry. The border is sparkling. It could be demonstrated in tin, or a paragraph riding on my tongue.

What holds atoms together? A grain of salt and a pinch of thought. A smile adhering to a simile. Like a fetus. Of smoky quartz. Or the creak of an old oak desk as the pen pressed down to form a string of words. Which will one day change the world. Because it is a fetus. Of corn silk. Which will one day evolve. Into Wild Bill Hickok sitting at a table in a saloon holding a hand of cards.

The origin of language was hectic and hairy and teeming with adjectives. You should have seen it. You wouldn’t have believed it. There were spider webs in all the windows corresponding to a definite wavelength of light. Ominous cows. Preposterous frogs. The Beatles on YouTube.

As butterflies probe for a pollen, I feel an expectation growing in me. What does it feel like to punch somebody? Somebody assembled in 1868. By Emily Dickinson.

The poem is a contraption, a flirtation with death. Nipples, glaciers, gloves. Poke the anemone and watch it close. You can find sensitivity in the most unlikely places. It is pure sorcery. My hands are numb as my spaceship approaches Neptune. Last night I saw my face floating in waves as I was pulled inexorably toward the sun. I had a hell of a time removing the two bottom screws of the license plate. And then the elevator doors slid shut and the predicate sleeping in the breast pocket of my shirt awoke and set the universe on fire.

The U.S. government is run by thugs. This is why I dislike doing laundry on Saturday. Said a man in a man town near Williston. Over the thin clatter of silverware. All kinds of things get discussed out on the prairie. And when there are no women around, a man thinks of women. In this sense logic is different from biology, since it is more general, but it is also similar to biology in that it is a science that aims to capture a certain body of truths. This way of looking at logic is often associated with the refrigerator. There is a shout from a bank of sand, and the little bulb inside is crying like the soft eye of the antelope in a blaze of snow.

Rumination is always coffee on the dark side of the moon. But this isn’t why France is so poorly represented in the annals of rock. And even though it is conceivable to shave with a license plate, a herd of elk on a bar of soap is not resolved in the analysis. It will continue to smell like Wisconsin (I love Wisconsin) but solve nothing about the government.

What can you learn from growing old? Open a window. Let the air in. Hear the birds. Throw a rock at the neighbors.

There is a certain solace in adjectives. Thick, thin, noble, iconoclastic. Plucky, jumpy, mutinous, adamantine.

The cat swims through his fur. A silver light trickles down the wall of the cave illustrating the differentiation of matter into galaxies and stars. Blades and birds and words and worms.

The idea of wealth blazes with red hot veins tangential to consciousness. If you shake a bottle filled with earthquakes, it will erupt into imagery faster than a sofa humming along a string of Christmas bulbs.

The word ‘extent’ is rough as the skin of an elephant, solar flares exploding into space. MallarmĂ©’s swan glides by like a root beer in a bingo parlor. Why is life so hard? I am ravenous for an answer. I will attend a meeting at City Lights with Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

My ancestry is bashful. I don’t blame them. They were Vikings. Raping and pillaging. Shame on them.

There are far better things to do in life than rape and pillage. What, for instance, can you learn from growing old? Open a window. Strike a note on a piano. If the sound is blue, so are you.

Wrinkles elaborate the face with the flavor of understanding. Let us say thought is expressed perceptibly through the senses. What can you say about Utah? Utah is insoluble.

Abstractions of tin ornament the head of an airplane. It is the head of Dwight D. Eisenhower. His nose is a propeller. His chin is a ramp. His eyes are cockpit. It is clear we are not concerned here with hockey but the expression of plums.

Flip a coin. Jingle a bell. The ripeness is all. I have a friend who lives in Santa Cruz. There is a large stone chimney in his house and a sonnet dancing on his lip.

There is little you can do about space except fill it. Space is profligate by nature. Time is a map of space bleeding crystals and cities. Yes, life is hard. But there is a great deal of solace in adjectives.

Think of them as fish flip flopping in a net.

Fauve elegies on a collar stud. A vapor in nature, breath in a caboose. Cubist pipes in a Cubist house. Oddities of willow written on an old oak desk. Mushrooms in Portugal.

A mood is a mode of mustard, but a canvas flooded with color cries out for revelation. Gulp it down. Faith obviates the mystery of rags, and raspberries enhance the surface of a cake.

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