I:  The wounded hand or the scars of the poet

The image of a writer typing until his fingers bleed is, I’m afraid, a fabrication attributable, perhaps, to Bryan Adams.

II:  Do the walls have ears?

Next door lives Jimmy, who has Tourette’s.  Sometimes, late at night, he screams, and the screams penetrate our shared wall, and it almost sounds as if the wall is screaming.  The walls say, Ahh!  Jimmy!, an unbroken howl, as if they had done something unspeakable.  In the mornings, Jimmy nods and say hello, and the walls stay silent about the previous night.

III:  The snowball fight

In Colorado, the snow is wholly unsuitable.  It’s crisp and powdery, impossible to pack together.  The balls disintegrate in your mittens, and if you manage to get one to cohere, upon contact, it evaporates, a whiff of ice, a halo, a cloud.  On the East Coast, however, the snow is wet and slushy, as if it had already partially melted on the way down.  It clings to branches and cements itself to the sidewalks and will, overnight, in a feat of treachery, turn to ice.  The crystals are and thick and gristly.  The snow tastes of salt and metal; in other words, like war.

IV:  The profanation of the host

Jean Cocteau, speaking before a 1932 screening of his film:  “One can’t tell the story of film like this.  I could give you my own interpretation.  I could say: the solitude of the poet is so great, he lives out his own creations, so vividly that the mouth of one of his creations is imprinted on his hand like a wound; that he loves this mouth, that he loves himself, in other words; that he wakes up in the morning with this mouth against him like a chance acquaintance; that he tries to get rid of it, that he gets rid of it, on a dead statue; that this statue comes to life; that it takes its revenge; that I sends him off into terrible adventures.  I could tell you that the snowball fight represents the poet’s childhood and that when he plays the card game with his Glory, with his Destiny, he cheats by drawing from his childhood instead of from within himself.  I could tell you that afterwards, when he has tried to create a terrestrial glory for himself, he falls into that ‘mortal tedium of immortality’ that one always dreams of when in front of famous tombs.  I’d be right to tell you all that, but I’d also be wrong, for it would be a text written after the images.”

This is Orpheus, who, with a glance over his shoulder, sees the image of Eurydice, now fading from view, now disappearing back into darkness.

 

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