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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 4, December 2012

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Charles Tarlton
Oakland, California, U.S.A.


Don’t Look Now

In moments of slowed entropy: the field: a splinter of meaning, an increasingly clear then fleeting connection, emerging patterns, solidity amidst unending process, temporary and localized, a moment salvaged from the surrounding fluctuation.

Consider:

A Thanksgiving dinner in 1994, my wife’s parents still alive and well and enjoying themselves, my children growing and healthy (I keep wanting to knock on wood!), my wife and I strong and deeply in love, the dinner coming to the table, looking, smelling, and, in the end, tasting wonderful. A glass of better than regular red wine, a toast, and the feeling of universal well-being flows in and out of me.

where does the urge
come from to freeze all this in ice
to make the moment
last forever? We would all perish
in suspended animation

CARMODY: Because it is, of course, just animation, life’s movement itself that is necessarily impermanent. We are all of us rockets temporarily rushing around, out of control, making our swirly marks in the sky. They linger for the blink of an eye.

BLIGHT: Why, you barely had time for such a long speech.

my cunning rose
perfect in the gentlest breeze
holds all its petals
for only a short time, they curl
finally. Only the idea remains

Back! Go back! In my imagination, in memory, or consulting the thoughts of passers-by to recreate solidity in that moment, its enduring surfaces. But it won’t come into focus again, just scattered bits and pieces. The ground now littered with pink. I will have to invent the glue, the framework, the overall impression. Where has the rose gone? Invent it! Re-invent it!

The most devastating artifact of our civilization must be the cruel photograph. The rose behind glass in a brass frame on the dresser, the baby reaching for it, for the rose, as the mother smiles into the camera.

in the same river
not ever, nor the same bank
nor under the same
sky, not the moon not the sun
in one gigantic featureless now

CARMODY: I would be quits with this. (Pause.) With what?

BLIGHT: You are acquitted!

let the poet
have the last full syllable
write in the field
let the boundaries close in
give your sentences some form

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