Thursday, November 9, 2023

"Privacy" by Carla Harryman


       The insects hung in the air, frozen invisible pouches, contorted
parodies  of  medieval  fate.  How  right for such an afternoon!  Do
not  pull  down  those  varicose  blinds.  Motion  and  noise are one
thing.  The  red dragonfly behind the dangling rope is alone forever
but  the  grey  has a hundred mates.  Brushing aside the air with the
power  of  propagation they yield,  like boulders at a hydro-electric
plant  in  Siberia,  to  the  touch  obscurity  bestows  on  them  via a
cook  displaying  a  mound  of  fried  food  for  two  thousand  fund
raisers, whose charitable ideas drool,  green-eyed, onto the turnstile
of  insect  life  so  often  compared  to  the web of human saturation
points  in  an  adept squirming of an old,  an approximately plowed
field.  A  dog’s  obedience  can’t  be  more  touching.  Everything is
allowed  to  pile  up.  And  why  not?  Why is the shade thick?  The
house  is  lumpy  with  numbness,  protruding  from below.  And so
the quiet day is heavy from a body in a sink.
       Expression  concludes  existence.  Though  though and though.
A  thousand  red  spiders  living in brick and that’s what refusing to
talk  is  like.  Below  is below and in is in and this is in.  People are
surprised.  They  wake  up  to  find  the room, a tiny machine.  This
is  not  the  time  for subjectivity.  But it survives.  Because space is
small.  For example,  love  me  but  don’t talk to me.  A size crosses
the  street.  The  street asks,  what’s going on?  Some facts are to be
gotten around while others remain external to their shapes.
       People  in  the  kitchen  picking  at  bones  don’t  want  to  pay
attention  to  the  heavy  air.  We  let  them go on  they’re not hurt-
ing  anybody.  This  special  mode  of  address  is  used to captivate
inanimate objects,  in our sanctuary.  We look at our things because
they have our respect.

Source of the text - In the American Tree, edited by Ron Silliman. Orono, ME: The National Poetry Foundation, 1986, p. 162.

TJB: To what extent do these crisply-written sentences relate to each other, or to privacy? They do “hang in the air” & “captivate inanimate objects.”

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