Monday, November 17, 2014

Blatant Taffeta

You could say that a word is empty but if it cuts the air and rides on a tongue there is an incentive to say something abstract, something wet and automatic, like rain. Blood is awkward. But desire is French. Therefore, say something consummately sincere. Say it is snowing in Asia. Say the door is pushed open and the insects are scattering into the cracks and corners. Form is the beginning of structure. It is there that the shadow pinches the light and pharmacy hugs its drugs. Push forward despite the evident virtuosity of leather. You won’t regret it. Life is better than television but not as bathetic. One must learn to accept the heaviness of the traffic. Forget about the woman honking her horn behind you making you feel embarrassed because you were daydreaming when the light turned green. Engage the clutch slowly as you step on the gas. Language isn’t entirely a matter of traffic lights. The heart is a dark genius. Its accessories twinkle under the weight of a transcendent sympathy. I begin with the charm of flowers and end by sitting in an attic leafing through old National Geographics. By the end of the Cretaceous the continents had roughly taken their current position. But why dinosaurs? Well, why not dinosaurs? There’s a drug that offers miracles and if you pull it along a fire escape it will activate and talk about seeing things before you even swallow it. Next time you see me I may be wearing a necklace of little bronze hats. Before I became the philosopher king of my living room I pondered taking up plumbing. Some oil had formed on my chin and so I removed it and pasted it to the desk where it steamed and smoldered like a kerosene lamp on a humid night in Anchorage. What was it, I wondered. I figured it out later: an amalgam of words I’d forgotten about had assumed meaning and image and turned itself into a paragraph when I wasn’t looking. This happens a lot. Let a dime shine and a nickel will entrance you with a parable of value. It’s rather astounding. You should see the bulge in my pocket. I’m lazy about spending change. I just shove dollars at people, clerks and automobile salesmen, just to see what will happen. I now own twelve cars and a mountain in China. I feel foolish, but I’m also an authority on the symbolism of groceries, and that education wasn’t cheap, brother. My advice: tailor your success according to the ancient saws. A penny earned is a penny saved, that sort of thing. Explain swimming to an extraterrestrial. Grammar is a muscle. Meaning arrives later dragging its attitudes behind it. Some things beg to be expressed as imagery and straw. This is why we name our emotions Larry, Moe, and Gravy. But if a fly could talk we wouldn’t be able to understand its language. Until then I’m just energy, a pair of ears waiting to hear something from Mars, a sad sweet song about the winds blowing over the deserts, or a powwow in my pillow, scents and refinements expressing themselves in the streets of Paris. This happens every time I read Proust. I sit down and put words in a sentence in the next thing you know I’m lifting thoughts into blatant taffeta.


Pablo S said...

You sir. Go beyond language. And thank you for another great piece!

John Olson said...

And thank you for your generosity!