“we cannot afford to be enamored with the moon,” was scratched into the vanity. i’m sorry, i replied, but generic is a generic word and i can’t rid myself of senses. i bend to collect the mirror we’ve shattered and replace the pieces on the rough paper backing. some slide off again and break.
we speak in order to better understand what has previously been spoken. collective wit; bursting from books into the rough, feathered sky on a particular morning; latched against the piercing grasp of a phrase at the end of a moment; a common song that lives within our personal, divided histories. it’s not an issue of voluntary therapy, chosen ignorance, or kitsch. we speak as if you should do the same. as if we are stepping towards meaning.
it’s always writing about words; about what we’ve said before we dropped the critic from our incongruous shoulder. did i say that right? does the third section in chapter five make too much sense? is it too? or have too much to do with? in whose language should i write this poem and at what time and where should i be standing? the note in the margin says, ‘go that way,’ and points to no particular star.
i hope that no one, including you, will ever fear improper phrases. or take the moon too seriously or remove it from politics. some guy once tried to impress me by pointing out the sky. i figured that he was intuitive enough for noticing that it was blue. you and me both will understand that you read Tolstoy without you having to leave the book on the bedside table. don’t repeat sentences, no matter how poignant—tell me how you see them in the wrinkles of your hands, or in your granddad’s imperfect smile. and all the ways that you’ve walked towards him. fumble. repeat yourself. start over. change.
i want to hear you speak, not the deed but the act. i want to see your wit, and i don’t care if any ‘good’ art ever gathers its existential dust around you. no work of words can ever be improper, only the incorrect use of the verb. C.S. Lewis playing the part of the devil saw the present as the point at which time touches eternity. words lurk in the eternal, as the present pushes a suggestive thumb into their softened edges. speak, as if the words are bent around you.
sky mirror | play | by striatic
“The characteristic of truth is never to run to excess. what need has she of exaggeration? …Let us not carry flame where light along will suffice.”
how do you describe yourself, with words you haven’t used before? and what if you start to shout in churches and whisper in hotel rooms and sing on desert highways and whistle at the moon? yes, your words should question and the sentences turn back on themselves; but let me feel this without the words explaining what they ‘mean’. and you’ll often look back and laugh at what you dared to speak out loud. but never change the text, or level it, or try to hide it from the rest of the story.
shall i generously slide out from the bottom of the page? the ‘point’ is that there is no sliding out because none of it’s finished. there are only verbal acts of ‘ing’; deep calls to deep; and commas bleed back into the page. i am hanging on the edge, waiting for you to spill something of what begs its own escape, only to turn its face and teach you; that which God speaks through; that which is the deep responding. that which will always be accurate because it is received; which inhabits the pen in your hand; which dislodges itself from the back of your throat with squirming tentacles; that within your dreams; that of your bones which cry into your youth; that of your present and of your continual eternity, unfolding on the page.
open up your pen, and speak.