Archive for July, 2009

…and connect the dots

July 24, 2009


In the beginning was the line. You don’t believe me? Go back a thump your Bible for a minute. King James, Genesis: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And what was between the heaven and the earth? Nothing? Don’t talk nonsense; you don’t separate two things with nothing. There was a line there. Read on: God divided the light from the darkness. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. ‘Firmament’ is just a fancy word for a line. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. This is God drawing lines in the cosmos…and it was good. A firmament is a surface. God called it heaven.


The line is one of the stables of art. Study drawing, sculpture, painting, architecture and the first thing they will tell you about is about the line.


Boundary lines, borders, lines in the sand, thresholds, furrows to plant the crops—the plow, after all, simply cut a line in the soil—good fences good neighbors make: poetry is made up of lines; there used to be an old TV show called ‘What’s My Line?’ where you had to guess the guest’s job—or was it his identity? People have opening lines, pickup lines; imaginary lines go around the globe; manufactures have clothing lines, and clothes used to be put on lines to dry.


And then there’s math: A line is the shortest distance between two points. A line divides two surfaces. A geometrical object that is straight, infinitely long and infinitely thin. ‘Infinitely thin’. Imagine. The world changed when we decided that parallel lines could meet. Somewhere. You recreate the third dimension by drawing lines that meet at focal points.


And then there’s…what’s your sign? One of the great lines. Read the rest of this entry »

A Saturday Afternoon on the Moon

July 20, 2009


Again with the tunnel.

It’s longer now.

I don’t know why. It’s been weeks since we cleared

The fence—but to get round that fucker with

The ugly mask, his gargoyle’s face still

Eluding doubt, escaping certainty…?

No way, my friend.


Real prisons

Imprison minds, as well as bodies, right?

And so today when our film begins, the

Action will start behind a barbed wire fence:

The tents, a tin roof, dirt, an opening

On creation that’s worthy of Monument

Valley, which is not where we are…

The camera pans across the road and gawks

At prisoners in prison uniforms—

You’d have to be stupid not to know about

The tunnel…


…and how each night they shift their beds about

To skinny down a spider hole and dig—

Each handing each a handful of dirt back

Along the tunnel route, and up and out—

And here’s the clever part:  especially sewn seams

Which line the legs, inside the pants, and lets

Us scatter the sandy dirt, like gods in golden

Slippers, like Cinderella going to

The ball, like the invisible foot soldiers

We think we are, the ants in service to

A higher power, a revolution…

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Not for Reading

July 3, 2009


Our language can be seen as an ancient

City—pace Wittgenstein—who

Surely meant a baptized city, for

The names come only with the blessing…


And even though he boards in Muzot, finds

A seat with a window so he can watch

The rain, a pad and pen and swollen eyes—

His naming is no longer for the living,

He knows that. Squatting, old, narrow-gauge trains:

He studies his reflection in the dark tunnels

In the glass: There is swelling, that

Awful puffiness, rust in the throat…

Mimetic passion, not rocket science.

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