We see these skinny, young trees, enraged at being planted in front yards like so many stage props, tied down, restrained, tethered like wild horses. No tree willingly submits or yields to captivity; some would rather die.

In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s a purpose to this story: it serves as a bed in which to plant the following poem, written years ago but never strong enough to stand on its own.

the blighted saplings

twin saplings
both of them blighted
one of them righted
with braces and twine

one of them died
the other survived
and died later

“The hymns of the Rgveda were said to have been seen by the rsis. They saw the hymns in the same way as we see a tree or a river.” Ardor / Roberto Calasso
__________

a sun sewn in a patchwork sky

The earth and sky are married at the horizon, attached by the horizon, which acts like a glue, without which they would go their separate ways. At the same time, the horizon keeps the earth and sky from being the same thing.

What connects things is what separates them. What separates things is what keeps them together.
__________

a sun forged in the fires of pi

solar flares are prayer flags
snapping in the wind,
fiery gestures, mudras,
excerpts from the sun’s mind,
tapas sending shivers
down spacetime’s spine
__________

the rites of sunrise

the sky says Yes

Sleeping Cloud Hill
is brushed by dawn

sparrow takes place
on Sparkling Lawn

sunlight takes root
in Dragonfly Pond
__________

free as a bird

One artist, James Clerk Maxwell, in 1873 exhibited a set of equations whose solution is light. The unplugged versions of those equations would go something like this:

Through an elemental sorcery,
a changing electric field invokes a changing magnetic field,
changing, by default, through the sheer act of coming into being.

A changing magnetic field, in turn, invokes a changing electric field,
changing, by default, through the sheer act of coming into being.

You get the picture, a spinning coin chasing its own tail,
the two sides calling each other like subroutines caught in a loop,
pirouetting through space and time in a dance called light.

I do now not know

“We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea…” / Otto Neurath: On Protocol Sentences
__________

The psychologist arranges for the subject to sit in front of an open window.

Q: What do you see?
A: The world.

The psychologist closes the window.

Q: Now what do you see?
A: A picture of the world.

The psychologist puts a mirror in the window.

Q: Now what do you see?
A: The world behind me. The silver world.
Q: Behind you as in the past?
A: The past is just the present wearing a mask.
Q: If time were a color, what color would it be?
A: I don’t think time lasts long enough to be a whole color.
Q: Do you find it frustrating not being able to see behind yourself?
A: Never did before, but now that you mention it…
Psychologist: We can give you something for that.

Finally, the psychologist removes the mirror and re-opens the window.

Q: Now what do you see?
A: The world now.
Q: Is the world now different than the world, um, pre-now?
A: Some birds have moved, is all.
Q: Same world, though?
A: I don’t know how you could tell, what marker you could leave to detect if it’s the same world from second to second. The mind goes along for the ride whatever.
Q: The world behind you, is it still silver?
A: Don’t know, can’t see it. Maybe it’s only silver when I look. Maybe it turns silver for me.

Ending the session, the psychologist hands the subject a business card.

Q: Give me a call when the world turns gold for you, ok?
A: Sure thing.

*****

a rainy fall day at the library Ver. 2

not exactly reading but aware of words
blown into piles by gusts of thought

aware of stories about rivers
written longhand on the windows
in red and yellow rain,
of old trees letting go of the sky
outside,
of how the reading lamp responds
to the darkening afternoon

aware of a delicious slowness
in the way the day
goes about its business

back by morning

At night, the bedroom window follows the moon, much farther than it should. The wardrobe mirror turns crooked trees that are scowling into scowling trees that are crooked. I myself travel much of the night, what sometimes seems like for years.

(Parts 1 and 2 of Splintered Bone Road, Preface and Passages, are in the post previous to this one.)

Splintered Bone Road: Closure

It’s nearly dusk when the stairs bottom out on an empty road – Fallen Bridge Road, the fallen sign says – a stretch of crumbling asphalt trying to gather the momentum to jump over the river, to become a bridge. There’s something deeply familiar about this place, this landscape, something that touches a sensitive nipple in his brain, stimulating coherent re-enactments of another life, one played out on an abandoned road eerily similar to this one a lifetime ago, where a child taunts and mocks the coming darkness right to its face, waiting until the last second to jump on his bike and race home, right before dusk breaks like a water balloon, releasing the sullen flood of night.

The bridge is out, which is a kind of blindness, like not having stairs, or not knowing you had them. In the last light his shadow stretches to the next sky over, almost to yesterday, but it doesn’t sprout from his feet like a shadow should; instead it floats unmoored, a little offshore, disconnected, not necessarily echoing his exact gestures.

From out of nowhere a topaz shadow crosses his path and sips from his mind; in a flash of silver, the world unravels. Suddenly there doesn’t seem to be enough surface to go around, to stretch over everything, to include everything, to cover all the bases. The fullness of time becomes threadbare and see-through, like an ancient text riddled with lacunae, forever undeciphered. Places, names, bridges, memories are reduced to isolated wisps of fog. But those are the parts you normally throw away. The most important part, the invisible part, is what’s missing; the correspondences, the context, the meaning.

The population along Splintered Bone Road has grown by one, one who hunts at dusk, starving for the invisible. Yours, if you’re not careful.

Maybe it’s already too late.

(With apologies I’m re-posting Prefaces (from a month or 2 ago) so that Passages (below) and Closure (to be posted later today) have some kind of root system.)

Splintered Bone Road: Preface

Adam, the nomothete, either neglected to give them a name or the name he tried to give them was deflected. Undefined, they neither walk nor fly, but rather, pour themselves through the air like topaz shadows through a silver fog and are upon you before you know it. They drink mirrors. They wash you down with them. The last thing you see is everything.
__________

Even the locals couldn’t remember anything about the pointless stretch of weeds and crumbling asphalt known as Splintered Bone Road, where it was once supposed to go, what it was once supposed to be called, or if it’d ever been given a proper name. It didn’t show up on any map app or satellite imagery but made itself known to children whose trial civilizations ran their doomed courses on its disintegrating surface. But even the children abandoned it sooner or later for summer jobs, football, boyfriends, girlfriends, dances. Families moved away or otherwise disappeared. No one ever moved to town. Oddly, the more people that left, the more crowded it felt.
__________

Splintered Bone Road: Passages

“…there is no explanation in the form of a story taking place in space as times goes by…” Quantum Chance by Nicolas Gisin
__________

Mirrors echo light. Dreams echo dark. The year was so slanted and going downhill so fast you couldn’t keep up by falling. When the pane of existence cracks, another world rushes in, a thin world, thinner than a shadow.

The stairs. He wasn’t sure what bothered him about them most: having been unaware they were there, right there in the living room through all his years of living in that house; or that stretched-out man, long and thin as a Giacometti, descending them to a lower floor that he likewise had been completely in the dark about. God knows what was down there but now wasn’t the time for idle speculation. The stranger turned his head and punched him with a hard look, a look that hit him like a bowling ball, scattering the pins of his loosely arranged self, raising the hackles on his brain stem. Time to go. But his flight was delayed. Against his will he followed the long man down the stairs.

We all know how stairs act, their strict, military adherence to simple rules, but these stairs behaved differently. They descended orderly, he could see that, but walking down them required the same effort, and the same muscles, that walking up a flight of stairs requires. Closing his eyes, all evidence indicated he was climbing, but when he opened his eyes, he was presented with conflicting, yet compelling evidence to the contrary.
__________

He’d fallen into a valley between languages. The language he’d been trying to learn, that he’d totally immersed himself in, hadn’t taken; he hadn’t managed to learn a single word. In the interim, through disuse, he’d completely forgotten his native language, leaving him with no language, and there seemed to be no way of climbing out of the valley, no way to gain the slightest linguistic foothold. He lost his job at the library. His wife ran off with a novelist.

One day, while digging into the steep slope of the valley for a foothold, he uncovered how the Sanskrit word for dinosaur, a silent, boney word – in other words, one that never saw the light of day – would have been spoken and spelled had it been needed. All words exist but all words aren’t needed, but they’re ready to go if called upon.

There’s no room in space
no vacancy

wherever an object might want to be
space is already there
in occupancy

so objects aren’t in space
but are conditions of space
knots of space
states of space

Pick an object
a diamond or a vase
and lick its contours with your mind

taste its pure numbers
true colors
and distilled topography

To remove an object
space simply relaxes
and the original face of the void is restored

8 minutes ‘til dark

That’s what we got if the sun goes out right now, and there’s no way of knowing if the sun went out 7 minutes and 59 seconds ago, either, so I’ll keep this brief. Now I lay me down to sleep.

*****

the forgetful echo

Sometimes, if it comes from far away,
by the time an echo reaches you
its forgotten what to say.

*****

word problem

What exactly is going on when nothing happens? What is nothing doing, what linguistic sleight of hand is being performed that nothing becomes an event?

*****

Splintered Bone Road: Preface

Adam, the nomothete, either neglected to give them a name or the name he tried to give them was deflected. Undefined, they neither walk nor fly, but rather, pour themselves through the air like topaz shadows in a silver fog and are upon you before you know it. They drink mirrors. They wash you down with them. The last thing you see is everything.
__________

Even the locals couldn’t remember anything about the pointless stretch of weeds and crumbling asphalt known as Splintered Bone Road, where it was once supposed to go, what it was once supposed to be called, or if it’d ever been given a proper name. It didn’t show up on any map app or satellite imagery but made itself known to children whose trial civilizations ran their doomed courses on its disintegrating surface. But even the children abandoned it sooner or later for summer jobs, football, boyfriends, girlfriends, dances. Families moved away. No one ever moved to town. Oddly, the more people that left, the more crowded it felt.
__________

The rest of this story will unfold in October when twilight is compressed into a spectral jewel, but until then, if you find yourself on Splintered Bone Road at twilight – and it’s not advised that you do – when shadows can play tricks on your eyes, and the rising mist seems to be forming into ghostly hovels, get the hell out of there!

To be continued…