Several Undocumented Instances
A new photograph of Picasso shows the artist at play in the heavenly fields of the
bored. One of Diane Arbus shows her motionless at the end of a diving platform looking
thoughtful. Perhaps she’s decided that if you have been invited to speak, you may have
less to say.
Here’s something not previously used for this purpose: What good is an equidistant
syrup of inactivity if a suitable match for such a slender existence cannot be found among
the charitable donors?
Here’s an implication not posted on the wishful thinking website: Why not terrify
the complacent marginalia and move on to the future twilight of the recently declassified
Besides, the trailerhouse could use a good hosing.
Take me, for example.
I collected virtually all the extant variations on The Legend of Wee Willie’s Sword
and Diane didn’t even notice. (Why doesn’t anyone ever wear a hat in this movie? And if
they are not passing their diseases on to you, why are they not simply cooled and poured
into compression molds?)
Here’s something else: Diane was actually sitting at her desk. Her head was
lowered over a pile of kidney stone specimens. The sickly birch tree at the window was at
that time still struggling to grow. The neighborhood bully, who had tied a hamster to one
of its branches, was oddly happy and already building a sound base of falsetto-singing
congregational support. (I’m told you can usually recognize the most popular despicable
villains by their singular shared fiendish laugh.)
Which had something to do with the way Picasso grew and grew and grew and
allowed himself to be recorded for posterity, and the way sometimes he just played and
came to the table with his shoes on.
Diane was still waiting. She did not discharge great puffs of steam.
There was a convenient trash can in the corner of the room.
These are also among the characteristics of a quietly effective grazing-couch or an
attractively misplaced hunger artist. (You understand, don’t you, that you don’t have to
sit on a toadstool to know it’s a toadstool.)
And just when the Mongol invaders threatened to conquer all of Europe, Genghis
Khan’s death forced them to return to Asia where they were then able to attend to their
beasts and their rebellious odors.
Clandestine among long lists of clouds and shorts they were.
These were people without restrictions as to their content. The animals required to
separate them from their immediate ancestors, however, contained limitations of an
instinctual nature. They could not be expected to process their content objectively.
Some things in the landscape they were setting free while some others were just being
thrown into place. Thanks to their initiative, some stones are escaping, though I don’t
know what they expect to find except some carefully placed markers that can’t decide
how much room to maintain in their longer fall to equal rest. And there’s a kind of spitting this encourages that occurs unrecognizably as returning sustenance in the
Many of these inclinations are commonly found scattered throughout the populace
in an age of stone. I’m not sure if I care if you want to notice, but there’s something
inside it that tells you what to do and you don’t have to do it and that gives you choices.
Neither did they notice that the leaves pretended they couldn’t speak and the grass
just waved sadly as if something important was going away. It can likewise be helpful if
you carry a smoothly drawn military badge. You can slip it in your pocket and stroke it.
You can display it when confronted with demands such as “Hello,” or “Do you have the
time?” and it appears to move in a suspicious manner if you place your index finger
beneath it and vibrate.
You think some words you’ve never used before might help, but because you’ve
never used them, you forgot them. You think remembering what went wrong might help,
so you do that, but it doesn’t help because you don’t know why it went wrong. Maybe
you even suspect some other things went wrong at the same time that might not have
anything to do with it and it would be a mistake to assume they wouldn’t have happened
otherwise. So you think some words you have used before to express this frustration.
Just as, in 1900, Bertolucci’s frog hat jumps several directions at once.
Nor do I always tell them that I have a broken leg. It’s not mine, but I have it.
Nor do they resemble each other as seen from beyond the difficulty. You don’t
always have to have proof to become convinced that you can be intimate without the
benefit of reasonable interpretations. The places I’ve gone to don’t look like the places
I think it happened once, but it might have been a bunch of times before that when
I was still trying to figure out what it was. After I figured out what it was, then I knew
when it happened.
Nor do I pretend to understand the plain gray procedure of departing.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.