Sunday, August 30, 2009

from My Life

It is hard to turn away from moving water

A point, in motion, is a line. I wouldn’t look up. Every child wanted to be blackboard monitor in order to clap the chalk erasers at the end of the day. But a squirrel had come down the chimney and was trapped in the living room, and there, in its panic, it had run over the shelves, knocking the knickknacks to the floor. On a building of fake brick work people were pausing for a break way up where I would be nauseous. It being impossible to complete the thought, the idea of infinity or eternity elicited a sort of desire, the sexual side of thought. Wild horses couldn’t keep. The Chinese woman in the Laundromat spoke, and her tiny steps were out of keeping with the raucous voice, sped up. Like a mermaid blowing a fog tuba. Aesthetic discoveries are socially different from scientific discoveries, and this difference is political. I began to clean my desk by dumping everything onto the bed and wiping the drawers with a washcloth. That third phrase of “Earth Angel” was difficult. Over and over again we took pet cocoons captive, but I never saw a single moth or butterfly emerge. He spoke loudly, as though in order to be heard above the silence of a library. There was a different colored toothbrush for each member of the family. Americans say “janitor” rather than “custodian.” It is a name trimmed with colored ribbons. Polish tinfoil with pennies and make silver. Should he chance to say what he was doing, he would disguise the saying so as to throw one off the track, describing, for example, a passenger on a plane while neglecting to tell us where the plane was headed, or narrating a dream of the night before when asked what he had been doing recently. The voice in the dark doorway blocks the image. Meanwhile, I was growing up as a cowgirl, a child doctor, a great reader. This rigorous inclusion must eventually turn over on itself. Where I refer to “a preliminary” I mean that until 1964 I regarded the world as a medium of recognition and I prepared for it to recognize me. A person does not look the same in a mirror as she does. Swollen glands, sore throat, headache, slight fever¬ all some kind of mistake. Organizing a lot of material into a general view. That was the most interesting thing I have ever seen at a zoo. A fuchsia becomes exhausted in a heavy wind. My aunt, holding up the little letter I had written, insisted that the act of writing-down was testimonial and that the writing would always be used as proof of what I held to be true. She, too, was a clumsy athlete. As for we who “love to be astonished,” every Sears smells the same. I stopped eating corn on the cob and lobster, not because I no longer liked the taste but because I disliked the mess. A cluttered room makes for a cluttered mind. We had captured dozens of polliwogs in paper cups and they were swimming in the bathroom sink while I tried to fill a small fishbowl with clean water, but the bowl didn’t quite fit under the faucet and in trying to make it fit I accidentally knocked the plug aside, so that all the water carrying all the polliwogs, drained away while I watched. What memory is not a “gripping” thought. The mind was stocked. It was only in the summers that we were allowed to buy comic books, and then only once a week and with our own money. Queasy innards. There might be some sort to f thematic connection between the man you were and the monkey you become. If I couldn’t be a cowboy, then I wanted to be a sailor. What was the meaning hung from that depend. Today the clouds appear to be entering the world from one spot in the sky. If ideas are like air, you can’t steal them. Proves porous, held in. This morning I am enchanted by its grace.

-Lyn Hejinian