Infinity                       Array                   Unimaginable Zero
Air              Journal of a Scudding Cloud                 The Bone Rust Papers
Interview                   Bio Note                   Contact

Unimaginable Zero


It always happened,
for the most part, in
the middle of the night.
Each concomitant snowflake
would simply fall, finally, over
and over, like a small, tiny
graphic utterance.

I thought I'd faced them
long enough, here, especially
way up at the top of their arc—
except for all the quantum stuff. When
only a moment before, down below,
they had already made their uneasy alliance
between the vipers and snakes.
I had completely forgotten about
the garlic and onions,
so each subsequent cloud
would henceforth appear
to be negligent,
which was

But no demi-god here, either, that's for sure.
I had had enough of them all by now, and all their
glossy ignorance. I could train my own dog better than
this. Worry, after all, was something I remember
carrying around with me like the last black sheep in
my family, as if the thing itself might be shot
full of holes, which we all know is only true
at the outer edges.

                                 If at all.
Worry was also about what to do next,
like Gary Cooper in The Westerner
or Aldo Leopold in Wisconsin,
something a whole lot closer to you instead.
In other words you still had
lots of chances, just like always,
only you were being peevish about them—
acting up, or out of sorts. If
the moon seems fuller, now, it's because
of all the breaks in the clouds.
It's September. It's nearly the end
of September, in fact. I can feel your
less than greasy hands beginning their long
and less than faithful run over each and every word,

I wish you wouldn't do that to be honest,
although I know you mean well.

I'm just not in the habit, you know?
A little later the sun would come up, too.
As if I had already curled once about the house, and
fell asleep, just like in the poem, which is
precisely where all of this started in the first place.
I know because I was there.
The first piece of the puzzle, in fact,
was a small semi-nocturnal encounter with
feeling huffy. I had myself in my own sights, dead
to rights, but as if I had suddenly lost
the whole ball of wax in one, fine thumbprint.
This late in the century, it isn't as though we
aren't aware of the lambent extremes, incontinent
rust, or the nearly febrile music, which was on-going
as always. Was it that my own waiting had become
a form of pleasure? Was that it? Right down to my finger-
nails. Although to be honest it almost never came to that.
My mouth was mostly full of feathers,and old horse blankets,
ersatz urns, little web-like economies, dirigibles, and
an almost perfect gloaming I have only seen pictures of in
the last century. This habit has never left me. Most
footprints were always more interesting to me than my own,
and I've picked up some odd things along the way:
a hairbrush, a lumpy scowl, and an almost
perfect bastardization of the facts
as they displayed themselves along the
outer edges, their utmost
purblind surroundings. If I
was who I thought I was,
I was a greaser's pig too,
a flounder, a seeping bone—
as much filled with my own personal
longings as I was my own time and place. So,
I thought, I had something to give back, after all,
even within these slim appositives, innuendos
and crusty sediments.

I was beginning to get the drift.

Maybe you had to have been there to know
for sure, or had to believe in it, at least
a little. Then, the drama itself might begin,
with each of the grassheads bent ever so slightly
out of place. I saw your knuckles beginning to whiten
there, but what about the spaces in between?
The night sky was beginning to fade away,
just as the moon was growing paler in the early
morning light. I liked them both, although it
appeared to me that each was having a particularly
hard time figuring out which was which. I had
certain advantages, here, as well as there.
Everything appeared to be falling away
by degrees. You only had to reach up
and touch them to know.

                              *                          *                           *

It was not diminishment, finally, but
enlargement: "I thought I heard an angel
cry" (Stones). These streets, like slim ambrosia,
continue to swell up and out of time like
small puffs of light.

                                       Through these semi-
ontological mirrors of flesh, I can still hear
a few horses breathing. I am still looking down at
their withers, and holding my breath—

What is it that I forgot to pick up?

                              *                          *                           *

Could language, then, be in part a loss of action (see
Beckett's ENDGAME)? I'm thinking now about a book I never read,
however, or wrote, TABLELANDS, but perhaps intended at some point
to do both, or either. But back to action. Shouldn't this always
be something we are in the middle of, however briefly we are
pausing? Language at its best should always be a form of action.
Which always seems to raise the problem of the voyeur: "that if
dreams are only waking sensation first stored and later operated
on, then the dreams of a voyeur can never be his own." (see
Pynchon's V). For example, you forget something terribly
important, and want to go back for it, if you could only
remember where or what it was, in fact. Or: "The cranes moved
against the drifting clouds and he moved beneath them, with
the calm of eternity." Or, again: "A feeling that one could
return home on foot from any point whatsoever" (2 x HANDKE).
The banding, then, as if I were some kind of bird, always
took place afterwards. As though, formerly, I was a scout
and now I was a tree surgeon, as though the way to the heart,
through the heart, was always left open in the same place.
As if we had never really been gone, or gone anywhere in
fact, quite like that.

                              *                          *                           *

I mean,
I'm beginning
to disavow practically everything.

I can't seem to get what you mean,
I mean the pretext or superabundant anomolies,
or perfectly inelegant variations.

                              *                          *                           *

Here is where it all arrives, finally, as if the lift itself were
bigger even than you, and all you held to be true. Just that. Or
like a fine feather fangling down, a beauty mark, inappropriate
stanchion, or quarter horse: I was almost home.
    Are there onions, for the tuna salad, is that what I'm asking,
here? To go along with a little sheepherder's bread and butter.
    In the long run, I mean.
    Who knows.
    But if a few stars are beginning to wink off, such mutant
economies are still important, too. The wind is warm, and these
armatures are almost always blank, just like the hairs on your

            in other words, but

                                               I wasn't listening

or had ceased to listen

                                         on my own accord

Unless death was the final stop, then, which was preposterous
because everything such as it is, was or will be went on its
merry or not so merry way without you. If the world did not, in-
deed, stop for you even briefly at your own death, this leads
us to the size and various other qualities of certain funerals.
I prefer being chewed on by a lemur, I think. The exact point
simply being where I fell, matching up quite well with my own
birth in fact, which was an equally disingenuous point having
little to do with time, really, but nonetheless one I have
more often than not been unabashedly grateful for, even when
a glimmer and not the truth. The end of all life might indeed
amount to a kind of idea of death spun out like so many cosmic
cobwebs, or as those nimble, always irritable mystics are fond of
pointing out, it might be more like a single butterfly, shaking
its wings. The one no doubt that feels most like ourselves. Who
can imagine the ends of things, any more than their beginnings?
I am left, for example, most often en route. Perhaps things do
have an end, or beginning, or more likely their own ends and
beginnings. I would venture to guess it is pretty difficult to
tell them apart, especially when you are looking at them closely.
Which is why, in my book, science remains just as implausible
as metaphysics. I mean they even sound and look and feel the
same; it's a rainy day feeling, thank you, Bob, but one with just
as much spunk as the sun, so why don't we just get on with it,
I mean let's get it on, ok? The light is breaking down, now, and
so are all the tiny little crosses. Fireflies surround the entire
scene. Women in cool, thin and papery, summer dresses. A few
hard-headed men are prowling about. How can you kiss an idea?
When the scent itself shifts, or comes about, it is like your
warm breath in my ear. I think it always comes out the same way
on the other side.

                              *                          *                           *

How much can you describe the motions of a circle, or a square,
in the rooms in which you live? How much do you invest in them?
What do you invest them with? Do you like to spend a lot of time
there? How much does each room look like you? When you leave a
room, do you remember the impulse to leave, or do you simply
wonder where you are, now, outside? Do any of these questions
still apply, any longer, or did they ever? What do you think
about color? What's it like when you think in black and white?
Or, in other words, what is your perception like? Do you live
among any animals? If so what do you do with them? How do you
act towards them—how do they act towards you? How many cities
have you been to? What do you do when you are there? What do
you do to others? What do you think others have done to you?
Do you prefer burlap or silk, or does it have more to do with
the circumstances? Does this imply some overarching, overwhelming
morality? If so should you apply it evenly? Afterwards, what do
you make of the trace amounts, such as the little box you're
given when someone dies, unless you plant them? What do you
think you should do with them--what would you like to do with

Because I seem to be evolving
backwards--but within earshot, I mean;
as if each of these thin widgets were
of a certain duration, only.
And I was sweating, there, both
inside and out. But I still hadn't a clue.
Except for the fact that it was now November,
with me feeling as though I had completely
skipped October. I thought it might even have been an omen,
like feldspar only lovelier --the winter skin all
prickly, like this slim arrow pointing
straight up into the sky,
where the heat is always rising,
and, finally, letting go.

back to top