Start with a large sheet of polished glass and a naked
body. The pane of glass should be monumental in size and thickness, but
perfectly transparent, perfectly clean. Set it upright on the ground and
pose the body next to it. Let the body stand with its back to the glass,
feet apart, its arms hanging loosely at its sides. The head should be tilted
downwards and stare to the left, into the middle distance. It should comport
itself toward the glass monument like the guy at the end of the scene who
hears the telephone ringing.
METAPHYSICAL COMPOSITION I
A tower well back of a bridge,
Under the bridge, ignorance.
Water, perhaps, or a train.
Or a chasm, deep.
Ignorance under the bridge.
Try not to imagine.
The tower, well back, is formless.
Not round, not square.
Too far back, let us say, to tell.
Very blue sky.
Forgive the couchgrass, and forget.
Recall the tower, well back of the bridge.
Birds (for there must be birds.)
But let them be silent, flightless birds.
A solitary figure clad in beige.
Or a figure clad in beige, lonely.
There are others, unknowing.
The image opens onto the sea,
But the sea overwhelms the image.
It was a poor choice.
The sea is easy: a sweeping gesture.
The sea sleeps, or is not listening.
You say, 'the sea' and it perks up,
Smiling, it nods.
It wasn't listening.
The very blue sky was not too much.
Because the sky, when blue, is empty.
It covers but does not hide.
You can put almost anything under a blue sky.
Advertisers know this.
But they are often more careful.
They put things there that will sell.
They are carried off.
The tower here is crumbling
in a geological frame.
So is the ground, the earth.
Sand drifts past the tower, sibilant.
Because the tower says so little.
Its sibilence acknowledges the silence.
The silence remains aloof to the sand.
The sand aknowledges this aloofness.
(The signs of respect are vague here.)
There is now a kind of shuffle.
Half its steps are unintentional.
Our respect for the tower's remnants are thus.
It is like no other tower, though the birds are ordinary.
Flightless birds are nothing special.
Their silence gets you though, I know.
They are tired from speaking.
From trying to fly.
This may not even be difficult for them.
The birds have known no weather like it.
Nothing new, not like this.
The beige figure is on loan from an immemorable film.
The birds are almost single strokes of luck.
Try to open the window now.
Try just to open the window.
Open the window and nothing else.
Nothing but the window will then be open.
Imagine the implications in that open window.
The bridge, the tower, the unremembered film.
Imagine only an open window.
METAPHYSICAL COMPOSITION II
It can be set on a pane of glass.
The pane, for example, can be enormous.
A single sheet of crystal
from your chest to the horizon.
An impossible window.
Rest it there, and consider its fame.
The fame of cups is hardly new.
Everyone knows the cup in question.
Or is embarrassed by their ignorance.
Which is a species of clumsiness.
To be unaware of fame is to lack grace.
Applied to motion, such ignorance falters.
It is the cause of accidents.
But not their ground.
Under an accident there is nothing famous.
The accident gets all the press.
So the glass broke, famously.
And underneath, the asphalt lay and wept.
If there were sirens, they were off in the distance.
Unheard, unmourned, unmanned.
And the cup is almost forgotten.
Therefore: handles. To hold it.
One on each side.
Like ears akimbo.
The famous are seen, not heard.
Therein lies their particular loneliness,
and is not a truth of things.
Insert another sheet of glass.
Another lonely cup.
You understand the cup is unimportant.
What matters is its fame.
Our certainty as to the cup is not in question.
Everyone knows of the cup.
They have all held the cup.
It is, perhaps, our intimacy with cups,
that suggests their philosophical import.
Why we insist we cannot know the cup.
Like pretending not to remember his name the next day.
Despite his fame.
Fix your eyes upon the cup.
Insert another sheet of glass.
Under the present pane.
Climb the stepladder to your right.
The pain, between the pane and pane.
The famous cup, again.
You may now jump.
Throw yourself very famously onto the glass.
Onto the pain.
Let the glass shatter:
it is already an accident.
Optional: open the window.
Optional: close it again.
Devotional: speak, audit.