I can remember the day I could single out the individual instruments on a track–standing on the platform at Pacific Avenue, staring into the dark tunnel looking for the headlights of the B train–a day that changed everything. That is to say, it doesn’t start like breathing. Without instruction you learn to ignore what’s so close about you, but one day you smell your own freshness in the stink of the crowd and you smile.
Youthful ardor, like the light refracted off the trapped bubbles inside a round, blue paperweight made of blown glass, expressed in love poems. Dead trees are used in conjunction with standardized storytelling in an attempt to graft a preconceived hope for constrained growth to the secret past of second-hand bookstore meetings and rambunctious back room public house readings. Like a grand conspiracy, the signs are everywhere, and perhaps you smell your own freshness in the refined and processed and paginated dead trees, and the refined and processed and mechanized instructions, or the slight odor of burning shellac that some describe as ‘noodle soup’, a process of ionization and heat and dry eyes.
I started to stare at them all with my round, blue eyes, and my hot, pink ears, and mouth them, assisted by my wet, willing tongue. Sometimes something secret and partially obscured would wink back. It’s a pantomime of the mind. The secrets bubble out, but so do all the instructions. The How-Tos and DIYs win out in the end, but every end is a beginning and you remember the old wisdom that there are only middles, which is both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.
Not because I have to;
Not because it’s all I know;
Not because of the humming light that spills out of my cracked mind;
Like signing hands trying to hold a gallon of ice cold water.
Maybe it’s like walking.
I break bread on the good days my water breaks. I dance round the Devil’s pit on the days I can only clown. There’s a sort of broad rejection of the Theory of Forms, yet we all play with the dimly lit shadows. Then again, perhaps Ashbery is correct to say, “play is a deeper outside thing.” Dig deep enough and you realize the game afoot has some real stakes, baby, and we all in.