Thursday, November 12, 2009

An "anti-meditation" on being moved prior to language

He waits while carrying a handkerchief, folded not

smartly but well into black jeans' back pocket,

leans like scenting -- nose forward -- the air and

into the sound and its story and so many

voluble tellers' individual tells, the body


like hands in mirror image, the line just

above and between their half-closing eyes or

wide-open eyes and the visible gleam of

saltwater gathering there, their spines start to

curl as if stalks drawn together in bountiful

arch of new aniline blooms at the touch and

shudder of rains, and his fluttering heart and


(one would fit in his cupped and outstretched

palm like a fine summer plum, fuzzy-surfaced and

rum-colored, dimpled and smooth in outline, and

outwardly giving: at the heart of all living worth

living, a bruise worth eating, a plume so

barely begun),

and -- this is his favorite -- the

one just as if on the day of her birth, the back

row, all in black but some pink on her shirt, her

unadorned face and brow furrowed, her power, her

reaching with all of her serious being -- look

how she looks inward! -- to chip at the surface, and

stomp one leg at the hip and nod with the


There are shells that seem so hard, so

delicate, "brown they would be" like the ground we

breathe -- the strongest muscle in the body -- but

"more than milky", only opaque from head

on, these shells requiring a kind of inter-

vention as anti-meditation: it's within, now

get it out, consumable, earthly and food,

metaphors for feeling when the feeling is true:


open the clear but uninteresting egg, it

lets itself grow, tuft and wobble, eventually

gobble and licks itself clean out of time, like a

bear's careful tongue while nursing and shaping the

fruit-soft bodies of her young, and out comes --

out! -- the native, baby-like snouting a-

round for milky: that nutritious trickle, the

mystery of watery and rich, just the color of a

handker- and hanker- and hand-to-her-chief.

(Edited and begun 12 November 2009. I'd been aiming at putting into words a recent musical experience so astonishing it had seemed to reset me to prior-to-language. How could I get back to speaking again from -- as in all narrative -- the distance implicit between present and past: speaking from my later-now about an earlier moment that drew itself and me deeper into its therefore-meaningful then? As it happens -- really: accidentally --, I encountered another work of art that helped me: K.A. Hays' "The Way of All the Earth" published originally in Antioch Review and including the lines: " … anti-meditation. How brown it would be, / and more than milky, an opaque shell // around the shell of the body". The connection is mysterious, and I'd like to leave it that way, for so are moments.)

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