Gerald Burns signature    



joy which knows itself prior. If you hit it right, drums are philosophy.)
Her parentheses are a bother. But they fan out, so everything's a parenthesis.
Indirectness is directness, the drumbeat or coitus a word in no language. So,
what you hope for writing is better than what you want it to be; "is" announcing
presence, the being so next to you that "value" shimmers off like a butler, self-effacing.
The painters given winebottles to paint in art school paint nothing after but winebottles.
Keats's unwritten poems, incinerated by fever, are particles in the blood of the one
who said to me, "Keats? The classics, I hate the classics," and was right to.


The purpose of the jungle is to exclude domestic animals.
That means it inhibits a readiness of naming,
like your first taste of guava. Even what is speech is hard
to guess, might be no more than signs like chuching to horses,
sounds without syntax, white columns rising out of the floor
on which you place your camera, turn your back and it's gone.
Relief from naming makes some sense, from reference.
But relief from readiness, I think, matters more, custard,
as one described it, words slashing through each other, a dish for . . .
the unwilling servitor, not to be named. (Names summon.)
Name your child Liana if her irises are silver. She has
no more to say than a spider, comes to know it like tchk,
kneeling, resting her front weight on her palms, fronting
a pool colorless as her eyes, Hepburn miscast.
Brown bodies make clear water more blue.
What's steeped in jungle loses its structure, even people
more like the vines or white columns than strictly necessary,
the nameable that which needs to be explained, obstacle in the road.
So say the one thing the jungle can't have is a tag with a hole
through one end, a bit of string, not tied to anything
but it could be, and you don't want to -- scientific name,
price tag, no matter -- the ascribing value what's forbidden,
which is why wicked explorers in Tarzan always want Cities of Gold,
which are gold, but not to be moved, not banked,
so a child not particularly natural on hands and knees
can experience relief from all that gold with a silver pond,
swims there if she likes, a nutmeg-colored fish
if the fish doesn't taste of nutmeg, her color not a color because
in clarity not "like glass," or even "clarity." She dives,
to touch at the bottom of the pond the close-set ingots.
Her hair, wet or dry, is the color of spit.

Images without words, imagined as prior to words, gets you this tinkertoy
Quaker Oats constructivism, silver paper or cigarette-pack foil taken as
silver, naturally, curve held in still air with staple or glue. The wrong
material titillates, flat ships on French stages imitating maritime packet deco.
Having more and more to say, you imagine it is like the world's fecundity.
And yet the world produces not like things but like words. So in
The Tempest Prospero is not drowning in his trappings. Or psychology.
Even though the island's an imagined jungle, actor play-space.

Copyright Gerald Burns 1995-1997

  back next