Saturday, December 17, 2011

Now but not Next


He knew that his immediate obligation was to sleep.

It does matter that the photograph be held

In an outmoded cardboard sleeve

Now defunct but held, gently

Together by the slightest of paper sleeve frame memory

This memory, which at first calmed him, ended by tormenting him. He feared lest his son should meditate on this abnormal privilege and by some means find out he was a mere simulacrum. Not to be a man, to be a projection of another man's dreams--what an incomparable humiliation, what madness!

These dual projections, your language peeled away from mine, wear away at the bridge

Held together on my face, still—in blindness.


Each projection, then, becomes the invisible mirror

On which we may place our own regrets

Without waiting for the reflection to adhere to the surface

His victory and peace became blurred with boredom. In the twilight times of dusk and dawn, he would prostrate himself before the stone figure, perhaps imagining his unreal son carrying out identical rites in other circular ruins downstream; at night he no longer dreamed, or dreamed as any man does.

The images flow automatically; the pictures follow each other now waiting

Because it does matter how the old machine holds

The ring in place—gently giving one after the next resting

Like a lens.


Every night he perceived it more clearly. He did not touch it; he only permitted himself to witness it, to observe it, and occasionally to rectify it with a glance.

This time (the last time?) I place this without writing – with another type of script. This will follow in the form of a block, in a heap. I can picture it now—two projectors held together in proximity, in their epoch through their creator. These water stains do not diminish the fading we remember through the polarity of vision. This is because we want to understand these images. The succession of pictures held together in light, close to the lens and read through pairs of reflections of frames of sequence.

These are the ways we use the apparatus. We see the machine for what it is worth. We listen to him read his own stories. How does he (in blindness?) read his own stories? Are the glasses comforting even though they do not “work”? Can the labyrinth of mirrored images fix the misunderstanding? Maybe the labyrinth itself is simply a misunderstanding?

The pictures are held together by sympathy. Light held together by image of place. Have they been repeated now? Because of the dream of an explanation. The story offered by the lens.

The envelope holds the secret. The secret is revealed in succession. The projection breaks the rule of the secret. The picture burns its memory into the mirror of the past. We traced through many of these machines. They work for as long as they can; as long as they might. Without the power of the secret we trace the legacy of these machines.

The lens does not force the time to adhere to the present—to mark our moment by stopping. Only the creator of this tree knows this to be true. We tried this in pairs: right and left, eyeglass and binoculars, earth and sky, hand in hand machine and machine, sound and image, noise and machine, light glow murmur mirror and hum.

Dedicated to the memory of Matt Hanner—passages in italics are taken from “The Circular Ruins” by Jorge Luis Borges

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