an ear afoot

 

i’m not sure if i could ever express the purposefulness of my setting out.

looking for the perfect field in which to set down and begin gathering specimens,

only ever finding through so many stops along the way that it is my own biological pulse

which is that continuity binding so many isolate objects and areas to an unexpected field

                                 which, it turns out, is no more than my subjectivity.

        on this particular day i take my pulse from a lap of foam and find

        myself drawn through dusk to the deserted room of a friend,

                                                                     far inland.

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out in the morning i am overwhelmed by the grain of mist against my face

and in my ears.  for a good distance this is all i take in of the landscape. 

when the road drops into a vale i discover a great muscular tree standing barren

in the hissing white day. 

                                  in a slow fit of arboreal time its roots pull up from the ground

                                                                                          as if this entity too is afoot.

a bright vowel rings across the mud and fades up the slope of the hill at my back.

.......................................................................................................

sometimes i wonder how things come to be where they are found.

just when you begin to find yourself coursing  selflessly along a footpath you are struck

by something such as a dilapidated machine part or piece of siding propped vagrantly

among the shrubs and grasses.  this is just detail enough to prick you in the wilderness of

your sentience and bring you to thought and action again.

the sonus of the afternoon touches me and, unlike the music by which i once led my life,

i am able to touch it back.

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i languor in the spaces between objects.  i watch as blobs of white sky

                                                                                                    float down,

                                                                                            positively,

                                         inside the arbor’s canopy, through the latticework of branches.

 everything seems to exfoliate some immateriality of itself

                                                          and the air resonates with these noisy

                                                                                           arcing apparitions.

afoot in the landscape i find myself subject to an order of wooded entanglements,

             footpaths, boulders, creekbeds, weather, trees and degrees of living things. 

                                       myself become a hedge of nerves. 

i cannot listen without running my hand across a surface, without inhaling a pungence, without

fixing my eye on some submerged green detail.

............................................................................................................

because i am drawn to confront this world through its sonus, i liken my entire body

to an ear.  the word otic describes a relationship to the area of or around the ear. 

i feel that my body has become otic, that it is all a stem supporting this

                                                                           precious and discerning double flower.

................................................................................................................

further afoot in the afternoon i behold an ear that is not mine, listening,

but to what i don’t know.   i can just make out its shape way up the path, perched at a height

among the foliage. i am not sure if i am in its range, if my footsteps fill its folds. 

                 when i reach the spot i find only a strange sprout pointing out a direction,

                                                                            wound in a spiral and faintly emanating.

.................................................................................................................

listening to the sonus of a creekbed i feel my presence blurred.  i am a long way from the

woods now, prone and relaxed beside a window.  foul weather sputters in the alleyway

and a hybrid entity of wind and rain murmurs at the windowsill.  the recording refers me

back to a particular place and its lighting, its smells, my actions and the environment there,

and a time. the room has such conditions of its own that influence me.

    it is much like i am in two places at once;  not quite a simultaneity, but a feeling that

                                                                        time overlaps in me.

 

              i have a fuzzy understanding of what it means to make oneself a field.

....................................................................................................................

      cables sag and stretch across a large area of nowhere,

      facilitating a uniform surge between two rooms.  slivers are thrown off

                                                     like tiny spinning stars that fall slowly into the grass.

                                                                          the siphon glimmers then is gone.

 

later, in another heart of the landscape, i duck and pass beneath a black cable hanging

across a sunken footpath, not missing a faint emanation

                                                  as if from some interstitial material coursing.

.......................................................................................................................

inside the ruin i am stirred by the ghost of human actions. 

      damaged wood and metal variously ajar and fallen, vast areas of mold across

      flecked surfaces lit by stray beams, scattered broken glass and opaque pools,

       mulched paper piled with feathers and birdshit, dangling wires and conduits,

                                                                            holes, mounds, drips, webs.

here and there the remains of personal objects resonate and remind me of the personalities that

once persevered through daily life in this mill.  i move about warily,

brushing past tiny plants sprung from holes in the walls, dodging soft spots on the floor,

                           breathing quietly as i step into the cave of a shadow.

..........................................................................................................................

i could have sat for hours beside the web-filled bore just waiting for some flutter or noise. 

what would a tiny ear far into that length of log make of these frosted grasses under           

influence of my parting footfalls

                                                                       and the steeply-angled wind?

..........................................................................................................................

 

the specimens of the field resist captivity.  i return with my tranquilizations and find that

they ecstatically ‘come to’ during playback.  they release in spasms similar to the ones

under which they were initially coaxed from hiding.  then, it is almost as if a pile of debris—rusted

flecks, effluvia, twigs and splinters—has accumulated on the floor beneath the speakers. 

the insides of the cones show marks where they have been singed,

                                                                                                   soaked,

                                                                                           beaten and scraped by wings.

                    the siphon rasps as the days spill themselves onto the hard edges of the room.

...............................................................................................................................................

many days after my setting out, just as the breadth of my loneliness was becoming unwieldy,

i heard a solitary and playful laughter emanate from an opening in the trees. 

it is hard at moments like these not to give in to thoughts of the supernatural offering itself,

intimately, to you and you alone.  this woman’s voice coming through the trees was

much like an isolate and palely glowing door, inwardly ajar like an invitation onto some

adjacent world.  having allowed myself these glimmers of fantasy, i now wished only that

it was someone much like myself, purposefully afoot in the landscape in pursuit of some

curiosity, evidence of some belief, and that we might travel for a short while together.

 

when at last i stepped into the clearing there was nobody to be seen.  momentarily some

other sound begansurmounting the periphery.  it was as if everything that had ever passed

through my ears was coming to some ecstatic culmination in which i no longer played a part.

 

 

                                                           home again

                                                           i am sound.