Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Sound of Cézanne

There are so many sounds, such a colossal variety of noise and tone, yet so few words available to describe them. Our refrigerator is an orchestra. It produces so many different sounds it blurs the distinction between translation and tumult, babble and elucidation. The refrigerator speaks a dark language of cold and ice and tetrafluoroethane. Sometimes it sounds like a terrible wind howling across the steppes of Siberia, and on other occasions more like a giant metal bird murmuring contentment in an abstraction of milk and crumbled Feta.
But what is the sound of a pebble on the bottom of a brook? What is the sound of a pituitary gland forming a pearl of morphine? The ghost of Frank O’Hara hanging ornaments on a poem? The blaze of an irrational sun cresting a horizon of fens and Arctic moss?
I thread the phantom of a translucent hysteria. It sounds like the earth abandoning itself to a dream of dots and jingles.
The sound of your eyes crawling over this sentence excites the strum of a thousand banjos.
The visible is sometimes invisible and the invisible is sometimes visible. There is a frontier where this phenomenon flows back and forth like a long velvet tide. The sound of this is a sigh of orange on a thicket of Milori green. The sound of this is summer. The sound of this is Cézanne.
Describe the voice of Lisa Fischer. Use sparks and semaphores.
The pavement has a marvelous way of expressing the weather. When the rain hits it makes the cars sound like hyphenated beer steins.
Stains of sound on a winter evening. The sound of a throat warmed by a turtleneck sweater which isn’t a sound so much as a caress of wool.
What is the sound of oblivion colliding with a city? Lightning. Thunder. Buzz of a tattoo gun.
A veneration for garlic stumbles on a disentangled emotion. The sound of it vibrates in the finger of a museum official pointing at a painting by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot titled Storm at Sea.
France sounds like an amalgam of swords and postage stamps. England sounds like a patch of  skin soliciting wisdom with a wrinkle.
I sit beside an empire of sound. I wear a necklace of words. Can you hear it? Can you hear the condensation of experience, the slow distillation of a reflection on a sheet of paper?


Dhiraj said...

Wow. Aural and visual. Very innovative. An article with a perspective.
I tried something at

John Olson said...

Thank you, Dhiraj. I will take a look at that link.