Friday, February 3, 2012

The Mathematics Of Snow

Time folds into place like a jackknife. A slab of meat sizzles in a frying pan. I can hear the pages of eternity crackle with the physics of black.

I am deeply antisocial. Can I get a witness? I can’t. I’m too antisocial.

I love books. Books were invented for the antisocial. Books make it possible to be with people without actually having to be with people.

My eyes scrape against the page. Reflection is an engine of supposition. I can hear the ghost of my personality walking on the moon. I can hear the snake of the universe crash through arctic ice.

I have forged a sword from the pure steel of history. Every story begins with a fire. A skeleton escapes from the museum. It is chased down and riddled with bullets in Pittsburgh. The skeleton laughs. The sound of the laughter is hollow. It is the laughter of a skeleton. It sounds like absolute zero. It sounds like winter ice feeding the glory of summer.

Drugs replace reality with sweet illusion. I paint a feeling with a camel-hair brush, two shades of red, a little green, and a dollop of black. My head mutates into an engine of blood and cabbage. A ghost walks through the Laundromat smoking hashish. The wind blows the sea into vivid life. My feeling grows too complex to handle and falls out of my mouth. It creates a fiction to inhabit. A cocoon of words and sounds held together by syntax. One hundred years later it breaks from the cocoon and takes wing over a desolate earth. Its wings are scarlet and yellow and its eyes are blisters of black.

I am sitting on a hippopotamus. A robin hops in the snow. I open a box to discover another hippopotamus and a robin hopping in the snow. It is signed Joseph Cornell and includes a map of purple.

I put words on paper, one by one, until they form a chain. There is no limit to what we can create. The larynx hammers syllables in the darkness of the throat. The rain attracts whispers. I smell smoke. There is a whisper of eternity in the woods.

I develop a poem in the shape of a crustacean. The ocean sparkles and an old man shucks oysters. It is raining. A boat bobs on the horizon. The sky is stippled with birds. The poem resembles a lobster. Its antennas are raised. Its claws hold a jukebox, which it begins to eat. A song bursts into rhubarb. The lobster eats the rhubarb. Max Jacob talks to his parrot on the telephone. Metal groans in the hold of a sunken ship. Words crackle with the fire of ancient caverns. The white gate of eternity creaks open on the ocean floor.

What is the smell of revolution? A loaf of pumpernickel barking at a snowman.

There are five gallons of blood in the human body. The world is a constant struggle. Bach furnishes music. Mysterious phone calls penetrate the dark. The luggage of heaven puzzles the hills. Space dances on the roof of a restaurant. My emotions are made of ink. I drop a pebble into a well to hear it echo at the bottom. Click click click on rock kerplunk.

You cannot live in the U.S. without drugs.

We live in a world of twisted perceptions. Illusions, delusions, dreams and exonerations. It is a pleasure to walk in the snow. It seems like it will never stop falling. And then it stops. There has been a momentary retreat. The city is quiet. If you sit in a car that has been covered with snow the effect is enchanting. It is like being in a cocoon. There is nowhere to go. Nowhere to be. It is just you and the quiet. And the snow makes three.


Steven Fama said...

Love this!

And one may indeed need drugs to live in USA, but as has been suggested, and I think very persuasively, poetry is a drug, a dang fine one; it "exalts . . . invigorates the mind like a wad of coca leaf. It is lightning on paper."

John Olson said...

Thank you, Steve. Yes, pertaining to drugs, I've heard some startling statistics. Over half the U.S. population take a prescribed drug, and 11% take antidepressant medication. A lot of the drugs are for high cholesterol, diabetes, and so on, but evidence would suggest that the need for recreational drugs is also pretty acute. I prescribe colossal amounts of poetry. Whitman for headaches, Dickinson for depression.