Thoughts begin in air. They begin as neural impulses but until the lungs push them out of the mouth as words they remain nebulous, inchoate, formless. Words give thoughts definition, resonance. Thoughts assume life with air. Air from the lungs pushed though the mouth and shaped by the lips and tongue and palate into words, words given a particular order, structure, sequence, so that an amalgam results in a being, a town, a mountain, a forest, and events that happened, happen, or will happen to a being in a town, a mountain, a forest. A town, a mountain, a forest with names, directions, dirt, altitudes and streams.
Words that are written rather than spoken assume a different kind of life. Until fed the resonance of breath and voice they remain phantasmal. The power to be spoken, the imbuement of vowel and jingling of syllable invite the movement of the mouth. They enter the eye and by some neural mechanism they assume image and being in the mind. And so may be mulled and simmered before spoken. Meditated upon before pushed from the mouth into the all-accepting air.
Each word is a proposition. It’s naïve to believe that a word like ‘soul’ or ‘eternity’ or ‘universe’ have greater profundity than the words ‘bread,’ ‘plywood,’ ‘orange,’ or ‘shoot.’ Or, for that matter, conjunctions and prepositions: but, and, under, over, into, at, etc. ‘Before’ is a proposition and ‘here’ and ‘there’ are propositions.
These words are propositions. They have not yet been spoken. I’m writing them. I’m not speaking them. There is an exhilarating freedom since I haven’t as yet proposed their publication in air or magazine. As soon as I think to publish them inhibition sets in. I must think things more carefully so as not to appear stupid or pretentious. The vertebrae of their wisdoms as individual words already created and put in the world for the benefit of those who speak this particular language has long been established. These words are animals. These words have spines. I can turn the faucet of my mind and let these words drop to the sink of this sentence and fill it and grow into bubbles and enchant the hands with their warmth and quality.
These words are glue and provoke the music of adhesion.
These words are tinctures of pink and describe a cloud of emotion inside a grove of bamboo.
Words such as ‘God,’ ‘universe,’ ‘justice,’ ‘mind,’ ‘reality,’ etc., get a safari going. They reach far into the wasteland of human experience and propose a landscape of metaphysical scope. As instruments of air they touch the nerves with meanings whose forms and philosophies can never attain a totalizing fulfillment. Everything depends on the seeds of their planting, on the qualities of soil and climate. Some soil is arid and shallow with hard bedpan beneath. Some soil is black and rich and full of nutrients. This soil is rich for metaphor. Metaphors are flowers of the wrist as the hand moves over a sheet of paper toiling to bring them into being.