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Sharp sounds impact only the thin skin of this drum, this timpanum, and then bounce like mallets, making music of this cave, plucking the threads of this skein. They will have no other impact. In this chamber, their soft timbres, their reverberations and distortions are breath.
Are your words still with you? Did you carry your stories deep into the night and leave them like luggage on a railway platform, an age and more down silver tracks, with just the wind, the stars, and leaves like dust blowing and hissing in the dark? This silence leaves a fading mark. The thing that took you left your face in bodies unknown to you, lace filaments tracing what the eyes of others cannot see: the ties that generation takes away; the look in eyes that cannot stay.
“A sculptor works with substances that his audience may never have touched; a musician plays an instrument that his listeners have never mastered. But a poet uses the same words that hundreds of millions of people use every day to marry, fight, console themselves, entertain, grieve, and order cheeseburgers.”
“You don’t make a poem with ideas, but with words.”
My lens is not ten inches but two but my wife tells me size doesn't matter, size isn't every thing and I know that is just what wives of men with small lenses say to make them feel better, to help them feel better about themselves when they find it so hard to find anything to feel and I do know that size really doesn't matter and besides, two inches is plenty big enough for me to hide behind as long as I keep it between me and the world. It's not the tool you use but the trade you craft, the craft you trade, the crafty trade- offs you make in your life, the choices you make or don't make, the drafty voices that whisper to you through your pillow at night. And yes, being a man, I will look at your cleav- ing words--at where the words have split your chest in two--and I will stare, there, where they expose your heart and yes, I will try to capture that, in images, with words of my own, with pixels and phonemes and why not? It's precisely what I do every time I look in the mirror and stare at the face that stares back. There is nothing else for it. These words try to describe some thing or state that can not be described and this lens, this shutter, will try to capture what can not be captured. Moment upon moment upon pixelated moment the sensors get bigger and more sensitive and the noise increases and the interference increases and the pieces, the particles and the pixels shrink and split and collide and spin off into incomprehensibility. This world is and always was and always will be shattered by our sight. Our very presence splinters the present into shards of light while we remain in the dark, while we wield words and glass with equal equanimity and impotence, like torches, like flashlights in a vacuum, poised on the edge as we are, staring into the only abyss we know, the only place we can call home, the only hole we can possibly hide in, and hide we must or be shattered as well by our own splintering vision. Words, pixels, grains of silver or molecules of mercury-laced pigment licked from fingers all make us slowly mad as we suck the life from all these little tasted bits and bytes, as we long to hold it all together--on the canvas, on the page, on the screen--together with whatever is left of any sanity the world has left to loan us. And is that all it comes down to? A yes or a no? A universally remote on or off, click or don't click and miss the moment either way? We will miss the moment any way we can. We strive for new and interesting ways to miss the moment, anything to avoid staring that simple on/off switch in the face, one hand fighting to flip it up while the other tries to turn it around into something (anything!) more, some other question that we might actually want to answer, some problem infinitely more complicated and therefore easier for us to grapple with, one more substantial, one that we can talk ourselves around and around to anywhere but the truth of our ignorance, the only truth we'll ever know in a world reduced to words on a plate.