lazy drive codicil.
"that road is named 'addendum'"
there was a little shower
an oak leaned over water
it was twelve palms reaching
and i was their piece of paper.
sometimes the questions are addressed to you, and they involve your skin.
"what do the stars mean?"
it's asked of you all the time about the other ones, the flowers, the heart. but this was the first and only time of the stars.
you were in a bar, once interesting, now stupid.
she had interrupted your conversation by asking, and the initial annoyance dissolved into a flood of answers. her little excitedness triggered a new world of meaning, because you had never considered a why for these little black motes. they just felt right.
and yet, after a minute of intense thought, in a bar, with a stranger awaiting an answer, you wished to present only one, natural answer. it was, of course, the one you could not give because of other present company.
they were for a double love, two in a row, on your favorite body part, a hidden constellation, distant and unrequited. and it was one of these loves, not stars, preventing you from answering truthfully.
star and love, twice, four little words and you muted. they say so much, because they ask and answer the question, pose and solve the problem, define and erase the limits. yet they are also symbols, not words, and so really say nothing, even as they are capable of saying much more than their words. if writing tells you anything, it is that there are so many things you cannot say.
a little later, in september, they became something else. since you got the heart you were prepared for the shifting meaning of ancient icons. this was no different, a temporary shift, but one like the others, one that would have you prepare words, many words. it makes you realize that mirrors make big things small, that inexorable destruction, by being paired with helplessness, somehow needs to happen twice. it is not enough to destroy one, but both. you are shown what happiness might be like not just once, but twice, and twice painfully denied. you have been made to discover that an object of affection, who will never feel the same, is paired with the pain caused by them requesting you to be more distant.
one set of words in particular would be written, but never posted. they were prepared while holding the same star's hand, a little later in september, while a friend sang what was your little-song-on-the-sidewalk. you squeezed his hand while crying, crying because of double griefs, happening twice.
but you stopped crying some time ago.
that september's anniversary was spent conceiving a new city. there was a great deal of clangor, because inexorable creativity is paired with optimism, and everyone has a great deal to say. yet the surfeit of words was also mute: your group never thought to ask the first question, never spoke of why they would ever undo what had been done last year, even though there may be perfectly good explanations for this question, just as you never conceived of completing the logical end of the train of thought a year ago (the building is on fire, the sprinklers are certainly destroyed, there is no firefighting that high, and structural steel weakens in that kind of blaze, and therefore). the double x and double o are in perfect, opposite, symmetry.
and so yesterday you asked yourself, naturally, under an impossibly full moon, in the middle of another state, in the middle of the woods, blue-gray light spilt over the water's gently trembling surface, the hypnotic criss-cross of ripples, the disappeared stars, the misty gray-blue air that spoke of you never being alone, even when alone: "but what is the double-grief?".
over, and over, the question was yours, of and for you. you were posing a problem.
your non-answer for your non-question was you repeating the words to yourself, as the white disk shone in your eyes and the water. but you have learned well what the delay in reply means. it's how silly your strange electronic emotional life seems at times, and that the singular beauty of this planet is how its night atmosphere is lit by its sole orbiting moon, with reflected light, giving the air its fullness, the night's gift from the day.
x x , o o
there was a pause before she said it.
you can't help counting the number of relationships you've put this pause into. innumerable are the instances of an indefinite pause.
it is your only real fear: interrupting the quiet ambiguity too soon, because you never know what someone will say in return.
a little later, on the train, after a different kind of pause, one that involved a lot of talking about no particular subject, there was something else.
"but what did she ever do to you" the father was clearer suddenly. she had said something that sparked him.
"maybe you don't see it like that papa, maybe i see it differently. i notice people's facial expressions, and everything about them. it was just how she looked."
"look you can't judge people like that. don't do that. she's always looked like that no matter what, and you know it. it don't make no difference what she's saying."
the problem stems from the fact that works, and any intentions, although never authorless, are equally resistant to conveying the multiplicity of self. and to complicate matters admirers try to pursue a singular persona, and this pursuit becomes the artwork or intention itself, and for some gives it its sole meaning. and so it is those mute and soundless selves not captured by a work that are the ones disregarded (or falsely constructed) by those interested in an author: it don't make no difference what you say.
your father tape recorded you. he asked you who you wanted to be when you grew up. you wanted to be a character from a science fiction show you were following on television in 1978. when he played back the tape, you were shocked to hear your silly voice saying those silly things in a way that bore no relation to the grave seriousness of the reply. the recording was not you, but now it was real and apart from you, could be saved or transported overseas and would always answer for you, despite the fact that you had already changed your mind.
years later, it was this flexibility that you sought to capture when you made the first recordings of your self. these, of course, were of flowers, and the sun: not your voice (silly device) or your body, but what you saw and smelled, what you could not draw, but looked upon every day.
you distinctly remember making your father drive you to the hill's store so you could buy a small and inexpensive kodak camera out of your meager savings. your parents mildly suggested your money would be best spent elsewhere. yet you yearned for the device, the way some people yearn to have children, and in return it required you to see through it. you had set out to make the representations more like your selves, quickly learning that that also entailed making those selves compatible with the lenses producing the work.
a short dip in the conversation, on the train, and it happened again.
"but what did he ever do to you" the father said, repeating a sentiment.
"nothing, i just don't like him s'all. that's just me"
"he look a'you funny"
"no, i just don't like him"
"i don't know, just-don't-like-him"
that answer was thoroughly unsatisfactory. the father launched into a painful campaign to elicit an answer. he repeated several things.
"he touch you?"
"NO papa i just DON'T like him!" again, as before, never shouting, but pleading. he did not believe a thing she said. she had made a decision and did not want to discuss it with someone unwilling to accept it.
this happens to you, and it involves words and photography.
but you also do it to others. you saw a movie about your favorite band, and it supplies your dreams with the emotional footage you need to be in love with the singer, especially when he appears to need a friend. as in the long minutes after his show, when in the green room, he is asked, repeatedly, if the next album will be like this one or that one, the accidental insult of never accounting that his work would be like nothing else, ever. you were there with him, the one who would finally impertinantely laugh at the impertinant question, further complicating error, mistakenly believing that you know better.
the point is that others have opinions about you, complicated opinions born of misinterpreted selves, that you cannot control, and they really should be taken in kindly. because there is another quiet ambiguity being interrupted: your life, the life implied by your work, which is beginning to intrude on the life you actually have. the fixity of the one only appears to deny the flexibility of the other.
ps all work in this domain is copyright chad the minx.