|Ange Mlinko [jacket]|
Stet Stet Stet
Where the curve of the road rhymes with the reservoir’s
and cleared of the leafy veils that for six months
the landscape’s wet chestnut
in the gray descended cloud
intones You’re lucky to live in a watershed
so no vast tracts of tacky drywall
turn the land into peremptory enclosures.
You’ve bought in.
The venial sin:
And the natural hallucinogen of joy
leaving wordy outputs
hanging on piney tenterhooks
while all the wild protected liminal woods
contrive a blind.
“Furzy Jersey” isn’t quite right.
A life of Hoboken after Hoboken . . .
“Your landscape is not here.”
“I do not make a habit of losing landscapes.”
I accept a cup of coffee on behalf of man’s prejudice against himself —
“anything which is a product of his mind seems to him to be unreal
or comparatively insignificant” as the landscape draws an arm in
from the left but keeps its right arm flat on the horizon, or draws
both arms in, as rows of trees close up the view like hanging sleeves,
and the flatness is why Maryland is loathed until, rising on a bridge,
clothed — in cerulean tulle: the suspension like a row of legs
poised on the barre by a mirror and jutting from the jeté (à la antlers
from the startled buck in the x-ing sign) a metal comb. Fanciful!
And the shadows so sharp the tires hiccup over them like rumble strips
as if shadows gel, succumbing to the laws of physics.
There is some threshold, e.g. at which instances of “hither”
gel into usage. And speaking of tires, as full of air as “thither,”
there is a sign: “Millefueille Tires” right off the ramp. — Coffee helps.
“As close as Pennsylvania to Maryland; as far as Philadelphia
from Annapolis.” It was while visiting, ever-so-briefly,
one of those townhouses set like jewel boxes in the jostling street,
as if Delft had never gone pfft, that I realized my abhorrence
of the housing development, for instance the one in Camezotz, PA,
where I spent some time as a kid riding a bike around a system
of cul-de-sacs like a video game ca. 1981, derived
from a prelapsarian innocence of systems; not to mention
nonstandard door frames, window sizes, variable-width-siding,
and glass that à la its moniker, “slow liquid,” attenuated
in some sense like a tear-shaped bass note, toward the bottom
of the pane.
How to Wreak Revenge on a Town by Painting
Your House Orange . . . and studding it with white urinals (yes)
and the coup de grâce: a pickaninny butler with ashtray hand extended.
I have a hard time comprehending how people can feel such
ownership that they must prove it by defacement. The silence in a room
where you have recently spoken is different from any other silence,
and this is evident from the sound engineer who records dead air
for minutes on end after you have left. “We can take consonants
and vowels from all the words you’ve pronounced and make you say
things you’ve never said”; so the cushion of silence on which they
cut and paste must have the same consistency, must be the same silence
disgruntled by a helicopter. We can take consonants and vowels
from all the words you’ve pronounced and make you say things
you’ve never said. Here one rediscovers a prejudice for oneself.
And the idea that a room corresponds to a musical note
and thus “resonates” when sung to — the idea that even this bridge
might correspond to a B-flat that, when “sung” by the wind,
causes it to oscillate and utterly collapse — there are photographs —
suggests despite the belief that “we are satisfied only
when we fancy ourselves surrounded by objects and laws
independent of our nature,” music is material, but “the material”
isn’t wholly material. Speaking of which, construction materials
are way up this year thanks to the hurricane damage in the Gulf.
“You mean, like, the wholesale destruction of cities.”
(“I am not in the habit of losing landscapes.”) When Ronnie asks
if your family is from “the other side” she has to use the phrase twice
before I understand “born in Ireland.” No, born here. But “the other side”
conjures a mirror world doesn’t it? — let alone the land of faeries, poetry,
and mirage that we normally associate with “Eire.” I mean,
take the custom of posing riddles to strangers or choosing a question
which only one person answering to an identity could know.
The marriage bed hewn from a tree with its roots in the floor. Or
“What’s your mother’s maiden name?” On an island off the coast of Maine,
a summer visitor walked into a library and asked the librarian,
whom one imagines a woman of indeterminate middle- to old-age
grown into her role with its props, its pomp, its flashing bifocals:
“How many books can one take out at a time?”