Monday, July 07, 2008


Long weekend. I began The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Why, in fiction of this type (hip and best-selling magical realism) is it required that the male protagonist start out so passive? A blank slate to hallucinate on? Is that really necessary? That we can imagine (at least in the beginning) that someone simply slipped a tab of acid into his spaghetti sauce? I'll tell you, it's an immediate turn-off though I am dutifully continuing. Saw There Will Be Blood last night. Daniel Day Lewis scares me.

So I was working on a cosmogeny poem. It's a little 2-dimensional as yet, but so is my computer screen.

In the beginning

a mirror was the onliest carnage. Its oval
begged at its edges (a waterhole will
obscure predation). Its oval begged
and begged and the birds
came first and then
the wildebeests. Finally, man
augured at mirror as mud. What it was
was most truculent silver-white, but
these did not know New England snow
nor would they. What they also
did not know was they existed
not until the mirror begged them
to and be reflected. When the birds flew
over it congregations, fish schooled it beneath.
When beasts leaned in
to drink, huge jaws split the surface to feast
en face. When men walked across, as still
they could then at the beginning
of the world, their soles echoed in women’s
soles—women upside-down, women lengthening
their hair with gravity, braiding it with
movements of fish, tethers of seaweed and rivergrass.
One man reaching down to cup
mirror, brought it mouthward in a kind
of alcohol. This was the first kiss, the woman
plucked and inverted. She sucked air, for her first
time, but found hard releasing what was
insubstantial. The hole left beneath her by her
swallowed men. Several, falling under, shot up
women, until some of each were in each
atmosphere and some halfway. Here
among the air, women move
gracefully, used to thicker stuff, and can hold
their breath for lifetimes.
But this, this has all been told
from the top down. Underneath—
the story goes—crocs were always
waiting, fish doing their arithmetics, and it was
women invented the mirror, on purpose making
those who believe their own thirst
brings into being water.

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