“Architecture is the masterly, correct, and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.”
I. This span of the bridge under its reconstruction
What has duration as something other than possession? Which amounts to the question of the unloved, the port-wine stained hand. This question of palm-lines and a puncture wound and chiseled my name into the brick without practicing. Or stamped and the ink blurred and the ink travelling and so all dressed in blue and released under amber light. Which is a definition of architecture, masses brought together, etcetera. We advance into a story when I start listening for you to say a name. With a tone indicating obligation. Indicating something in the grain of wood, that I might sense this because it was etched with condemnation and the system wearing away. Because I am inside the room now. And in alternate times I had this penchant for the indication of such a sign. Which was milk breath and something turning into mud and so absolved myself of footprints. Because some people are constructed of definitional statements. Some of glossing over some of honoring the strut of sentiment’s attachment to its broken plank. And the only possible motive is to traverse the moment unveiled as relief, here, divided by the bridge gone and then rebuilt, gone again, rebuilt again, the sun now occupying a slightly different position. One resonating the warmth of skin and fabric, metallic of tram wheels of baby strollers of the sparrows freshly come.
What was duration but a question of the composite, the water tasting strongly of iron, that is to say, of blood. If to look out the window and maintain the gaze and then record what was monitored through the lace flanked. Which is to create first the inner window and then the outer window giving on to the inner wrought iron and then the outer. I am studying the metal roof and saying the word patina over and over. Leant by sand and having been designated as the woman who receives bouquets of roses, the lake circumscribed by definition. The building that was designed to look damaged. The angle designed for triumph of the force that just bent it. The question of the unloved standing in the picture alone, but not dressed for the part, waist cinched so as to be encircled and the eyes orbing larger than this question of port-wine, life lines flensing. The puncture wound you can no longer see clearly of the bridge gone and then rebuilt and then gone and then rebuilt until at last the city reached such a civilized age that you sent, instead, small vials of rose perfume to women situated in strategically located buildings.
This question stamped and the ink blurred and the ink travelling between the absence of a thing and the absence of a sign. Each state of affairs calculates differently. I cannot tell you what reveals itself in the street below because from this position I cannot witness it. But as a linking gesture you provide the figure of a pilgrim because we mark the month by a scrawl up the staircase in the middle of the building. Text coming apart into the lap of another text, all dressed in blue and so waiting to be released under amber. The back of the building turning its back on the other buildings, showing its ornament only to what maintains on the other side of the river. This means to have been read, but the reader abandoned the book before you got to perform the battle scene at its center. I was startled out of the story by seeing you walk up the street as if you lived here. And this was not just a version of you as somebody else, an earthly region surrounded by impasto brushstroke, copper in the paint mined with hard surfaces. As I stand along the river I might be gesticulating something of a desert terrain with my hands. Or you might think that I am, because this would not be unlike me, according to written fact.
And so to advance the story I listened for you to say a name. I bargained that you would because of the silk flower tucked behind my ear and they tell you this only after you look through the electron microscope, as in the good swan versus the bad swan. Think: which one is costumed in black and then think in terms of opposites. But this morning, instead, I am studying the metal rooftop that faces me from this window. Flanked by a gesture not towards bridal winds but something that has been lost, the ring box flung into the river without the ring, which was buried on Castle Hill for the raven-like bird to dig up in its own time. In daylight the furrowed surfaces of the facades look as if they’ve been etched by rivulets of water. This new agency eschews all tones indicating obligation. Is there a chart for this moment wherein the distance outpaces itself? From me to you. From you to the small girl tucked away under the arch. She smiles into the camera as a jitney goes by.
And so adds a charm against the reason not to travel. Because looking into the camera only as a beloved. Because if I were to undress this of all cause and effect, what then is implied by the still life with no objects touching. You have induced this image of yourself, or nobody has, walking along the shoulder of the expressway, cars moving so fast you cannot see who might be inside. Whereas you have said that everything in the picture has garnered new import, I only have a sense of crossed threshold where one language is saying either you or I while the other follows the curve of wrought iron, its approach towards lace. Because you were waiting for me to say what was inside of the puncture, which is nothing compared to the twist of the trees around the figure, the small house in the background indicated as hers.
But what of the small boat in the circumscribed lake in the center of the municipal park? What of the washing machine now off-kilter and a disruption of knew-you-then, and the little while of connection blooming out of your ribs. The power of the design only deepens when it is looked at in relation to neighboring buildings. For example a steel frame building clad in neo-Gothic terra-cotta panels marrying the technological innovations that gave rise to the skyscraper and the handcrafted ethos of an earlier era. Because according to this, identity is, and only is, a way of solving oneself out of the forest you were sitting in when somebody arrived to paint a portrait. Which means standing at the mercy of rendering or tuning alone into the arched architecture of doorway one instead of doorway two. Because it depends on the chosen wind and the ornament of the building fallen into the river. A whiling away that others call time, but might, depending on the dream, be absolved of footprints left on the parquet. The price is the mere game of pretending to be entranced by the costume you’ve been given. Regardless of whether red or black. Blue or green.
II. Which facet possesses the action of building
Or, in the spirit of this reverse we might consider arrival as a form of slipping away, of contra an I-you designation. Because while statements have become fixed, the form of this indicates that what comes before is now unknown, lost with the foreign city. In the stone folds of it. We call this tracing, the paper bag thinned where it held heavy objects, my sense of this mirroring the hour divided from the elected day. And then divided again. Because what has been said is neither true nor false. Precarious as a prism and touch the beveled edges and lest it cut you as a picture. As a form of working myself into the embedded text. A form of weaving that was protected by the arrival of the horseman it had been modeled on. If you call this a dedicatory day you must have in mind a to whom and to what purpose.
And so here arrival as a form of heading back to the window, the view already in mind before you opened the shutters. And then a clicking as of a photograph being made and the interior has no choice but to align itself with the city beyond. There is an arrow pointing in this direction. I see an angular patch of clouds moving east and then denser clouds that clutch the morning light. This through the appropriately curled iron grate a form of framing with security as if to say we have always been in danger but isn’t beautiful? The sea birds landing on the river and then resting before taking flight in a circular pattern. Contra an I-you designation there was so much about your performance that I didn’t understand. I daresay not even you could explain it to me. Entering the shop and looking at the shoes but not knowing how to say anything about them. And the middle broke into fugue, an implication of ancestry even further east than what could ever be imagined by the woman holding up a cage to her face so as to see into the eyes of the bird.
Which may have been the first mistake, that impulse to throw your arms out regardless of what you had been holding. Because it was yours did that make carrying it impossible? But what if our language had appended possession to the object possessed, rather than to the subject who performs the possession. The weight of responsibility lifting, a balloon bouquet honoring the secretary’s twenty years of service. And then the service wears the weight and she is free to rise in her ankle-length skirt and walking shoes. Up over the bridge with the sea birds, with the lighter clouds heading east. And so follow. But this statement has the pretense of fixity, a form indicating what comes before now, while unknown, has predetermined this. A look into glass and then stopping. A look over the railing and you knew enough to see that forces were at work in the river, but what forces. And does that silver flashing designate school fish or a flung ring’s gleam?
Do you see how I have taken the fragmentation of the first paragraph and woven it into a still-shifting form? Isn’t it remarkable, the hidden faith underpinning the way we so easily append possession to ourselves. And the four steps we might take to its unleashing. As in the small gold buckle holding the watch to the wrist. As in put down the cage and open its little door. And contra this distinction, the little door then has a cage and the cage has the bird and the whole confluence is something that is had-by. This may have been what she meant when she looked into your eyes and wished you the best of luck with the secret all women hold inside of them. Your first impulse was to read this as sisterly love, but this not born out by gripping your arm as she did, not letting your gaze go, saying her piece so softly, so as nobody else could hear. After backing away, discarding the slip of paper, taking a snapshot of the hotel, the way it appears to be the mouth of the bridge, not just at the bridge’s beginning.
We call this tracing, when modeling a figure after another’s figure that you can see, just lightly, underneath. This is different from projection, a past-future sort of thing. Tell that to the woman still looking into the cage. The bird released into the country fulfills its destiny in a tree. Has a nest of baby birds to look after before pushing them into the world. The bird released into the city, she fears, will suffer a quite different fate. How many have flown into the observatory window? The glass at such high polish they are rushing towards what they think to be a mate. Your second impulse was to pull your shawl closer around you, to finger the embroidery, to wonder at the relation between folk patterns and chemical bonds. If x looks like y does it bear a connection? Was it tracing or projection that brought us to this place?
III. Because took to shards of glass in the water as a form of mirroring
Does an absence of answer necessarily mean a series of selves to give away? I saw a woman on her knees in the middle of the crosswalk and thought she had bent in prayer. This donated, dovetailed with the illustration called hush. Because I afforded my own answer, modeling the way he sat on the banks with his face tilted up to the sun. This a form of something earned, gathered in the force of one tree sways and the other, because touched, has no choice. I want to say that there is no such thing as the impermeable or there is only a thing that is for now impermeable, the statue’s gaze. What is to be done with this, driven into the side of the building as affixed, and appropriated the history of this building by renaming it. Or by simply refusing to recognize the advertisement for oranges showing itself underneath fallen moments of plaster. Because born into a place already come undone and nothing lively about the stone banks sloping into the river. The minerals of this, the discipline of stopping to soak first your feet and then into the water and swimming along in a new measure of discovery because what you meant by cosmopolitan derives its meaning from the symbol for setting sun. This only a form of the tattered edges of tapestry. This only the edge of transcription.
Which means a series of selves to give away or to collect for the polished wooden boxes of the kunstkammer. The self that lives to the north of the river in a block-style apartment building with a series of ideologues. The self living just a touch south with a view of flying buttresses glanced off of the river. Someone murmuring French into her ear. And then scattered myself along the bridge at intervals. Just standing so close to another human brought tears. This donated, dovetailed with the illustration called hush. Which was the result of having been buried with the cockles and strands of fresh water pearls. If I miss you for these reasons I afford my own answers, none of which are acceptable but all of which are said with such an earnest gaze you ask me to stay on to look after the carousel horse. Down a series of stairs to the first train. Across the courtyard to the second, modeling the way he sat on the banks with his face tilted up to the sun. The way he sat on the banks with his face burnished by the sun. The sun tooling into the creases of his face as if to remember them always, as if refusing to depart in any significant way from this precise mode of touching.
Because I afforded my own answers, or had the pretense of doing so, though at night under the covers I had my flashlight and my book. The script not so much memorized, but infused into the incline of my head as I pretend to listen to your discourse on the nature of sound. First the quality of touch to the keys. Second the quality of humming the tune under the playing of the tune. Liszt never would have done such a thing. There is a river willow behind the thought of you and a misty island that will never be returned to. Even in the darkest hour, with the crows drawing entrails from such an ever-occurring corpse, entry barred.
And so what is left when the architecture of the exhibition hall amalgamates centuries of design. Can we call this postmodern if montage performs without intention? Or if the intention has a dose of genuine homage? And who hasn’t already tired of these questions? You return after many years with a suitcase full of nothing but photographs of cities you failed to visit. Come here and let me deliver truth into your ear. What is required by the borrowed blue dress, by sitting patiently inside the circle that somebody else has drawn? This has not been a unique answer, but is an attempt to pry thinking from the pattern stitched into this tablecloth. Gathered in the force of one tree sways and so the other doesn’t have a choice. If it was once standing alone this is no longer the case. If it once hovered over the grove of children this is no longer the case. If it once ignored the darling scene of little boys sprinkling little girls with perfumed water so as to make them grow, etcetera.
For in standing alone who loves the damp detour of the body? The waiting for mineral breath to seep up into your chest. If only a form of exhaling, the way I changed my aspect with my role. This, classified under the categories of both “natural” and “unnatural.” I was at home and cooking all morning and setting the table and bringing dishes and clearing dishes and never mind the winter scraping outside. Or I was in the garden trying to dig up the stones and came upon the skeletons of not one but two small birds, and cried not over the birds but over the death of the cat over the exile of he-who-will-never-again-cause-me-harm-in-the-present-tense. I push the button that re-plays the film so as to don my white lawn gown stitched over with the feathers of mourning doves. Soiled at the hem because I had been out all night looking for you and now have expired into the velvet of the couch, back of the hand to crumpled brow.
Or you push the button and change the story and this time you have re-appeared to pull the scarf so tightly around my neck the audience covers her eyes with her hand, peaking through small spaces between fingers, the camera reports a fragmented version of what happens next. This was the effect of having afforded my own answers, which amounts to zero standing in for nothing. Which amounts to never coming to a conclusion about agency. Or coming to a conclusion and then factoring in the role of oxygen as it breathes over the copper roof for decades upon decades. I knew after the fact that this was what I had asked for when I went from paper to digital, from the center of the room to some corridor that ends in a door opening upon the sea and moonlight and a series of southern winds.
Which allows us to approach the story of the locked tree. You thought it meant something akin to fidelity, or was a new way of expressing the attributes of the lion. If you do not know the story, your relationship to what I have to tell you will be altered. Not by the telling but by silence. This is the test of significance, though I am uncomfortable with the way I then become a swan circling the lake. Again we ask ourselves to be conscious of the cyclical motion of intention in history. I took a letter opener to the seed pearl bodice to no avail. And then I took a butter knife, then a tube of blue paint. If thought is to life as phosphorus is to match I stand before you naked, meaning the blue silk dress isn’t meant to deceive anyone of my real state, but rather to act as indication of the way I would like you to talk to me, the way I want to be touched. I think we need to renavigate these metaphors into something a little bit less meaningful. The statue’s gaze following the path of the sun or the statue’s gaze leading you to the doorway normally hidden by stonework suggesting the continuity of an outer wall. Or the statue’s gaze telling you quite plainly to never, under any circumstances, answer the voice that is singing such a song in your ear.
IV. Which facet takes the out-sized cards in hands, folds them, fans them back
The result of this is to call this moment a duration of wing in the mouth and the roof that is aligned with your sight-path a patinaed thing. A mixture of what has welled up as concurrent with the river. Or we say scaffolding and leave it alone for the beloved to gather. Which is some sort of painting performed from the vantage of a hill. Call this a form of practicality because we see things as mosaic, the picture derived from the eye’s sphere of trust. And then the mosaic floating into its historical elements, tiles mined here from glass gone cobalt, there from a vein of chrome, and another unable to move past its history by marking a chalk X next to the entranceway lion. In this way it is natural to conceive of oneself as a figure pulling gazes into itself. A figure with no little accusatory stare, and saying something driven apart and riveted back together in the dawn because I could not begin the sentence with a statement of my own agency. Rather we feature these things by a bolt of cloth. By the electrical wires frayed in the here-to-there of light, hidden behind a collective pronoun. But no intention towards duplicity. The opposite in fact for in walking along I became several selves and this sense overtook the phrase at the corner of my mouth.
If you call this a duration I might call it the disruption of a tradition, although I will cede to you the notion that disruption is like bad press. Any condition of likeness, a wing in the mouth and the roof that is aligned with a patinaed thing. Not to repeat the obvious, but we began with the locked tree and so it is not a question of where do we go from here, but where, even, is there to go to? We are not only meditating on departure, but on the gesture of the hand, which is a form of the peacock saying in this way. The wind, when it blows, comes always from the North. A mixture of what has welled up from the inside, but you would never know from the blue silk dress. If we were to observe the unity of time, spanning the drama of the length of an entire day. Does the status of the import-export economy matter? Does the hinge in the mind that allows the bird to sing in the brain. Or, I hear a knocking sound that has come from no bird I have ever known.
Which is some sort of secret painting as in the underpasses and you didn’t expect to find such a beautiful thing. Or the green French glass that constructs the balcony of the building. When standing and looking out what do you see? The locked tree hidden in the middle of the city. Something said about the street south from here and does the father protect the son. Does the father give credence to the fact that he is here only for a short while. The responsibility of the movie is to project this in visceral form. The responsibility of the poem is to allude to a life beyond the one wherein he does or does not show up at the bus station. Surely, your fate was changed in that moment, but dying your hair black registered as little or nothing at all. Back in our real-time scenario she sits at her desk and she writes. The quill pen and embroidered shawl are for our benefit: she will have to transcribe the text later. Because standing there saying yes to the toy windmills outside of the opera. I am at times a culmination of such decorative things.
Because if you put the question into the weave of a tapestry and call it a movement, which is what he whispered in your ear as you looked out across the plain as if it were a painting rather than something lived in. Somebody has to wake up early to tend the livestock as a form of practicality, which may not have anything to do with seeing although the promissory note begged for a new articulation of this divide. One that does not culminate in the way you lift the small silver fork in mid-sentence, the way you smooth the skirt of your Easter suit and use public holidays to recount where you were last year at this time. Because by these rules of the game you cannot speed the script past the mundane or the banal or the simply ugly. It is Sunday and only churches and museums are open. There must be a pleasure equivalent to this, to dry you into the body that enjoys the elegant truth beyond the earthworks, the puzzling column of figures. Because we are only at this point meditating departure, we are not face-to-face with it. Time has not yet made good on the decay of the river bank.
But taking the dress out of the cardboard box where it had been kept for ever-so-long. Here the scent of the locked tree and the green glass porch foregone. You speak a certainty when you say that we cannot possibly get very far proceeding in this way. Three steps to the right, followed by two to the left, makes slow going around the circle. But what do you accomplish by completing any circumference. By definition there was never an arrival point. Here the scent of having stated, very matter of factly, as we stood at the window overlooking the city: I will not be one among a series of another after another. Recipients of small vials of rose perfume. Women in blue dresses painted into their own happy gardens. To say this, while thinking about the nature of futile exhalations, the tree’s leaves turning the sky into a river. Somebody has to state the impossible so that we can maintain our satisfaction in small photographs, taken but never printed, emailed but never opened. The file was too large and the system was too slow. The day was too short and the task was too monumental. The call was too expensive and the purse was lost. To escape the spiraling back that this proposes, marking a little bit of your own history next to the lion’s mouth. I know which direction is north only when the wind is blowing.
See, now we’ve warmed up and regardless of the fraying chord connecting the lamp to the socket it is the time of day to declare your stance over what keeps collapsing. Make the sound louder than the pigeon cooing the in the courtyard. You and I both know that the building surrounding him is much too tall to provide an exit. This can return you to an either-or situation, or not, which becomes only a theory when the sun gets lost in the overcast. Because when they met a richer version of you on the street did they think of you first or after? Because I could not begin a sentence with a statement of my own agency, but you can be certain that she could. And watching this happen from so far away I didn’t even bother opening my mouth in protest. You’ve performed in enough Summer stock Shakespeare to have figured this out. Playing a character that is playing somebody else, etcetera. Meanwhile, the nightstand clock and its incessant ticking. And so the only conclusions to draw alludes to siren song and her fault or you saw something good and so like all strong men you fulfilled your cultural destiny. You went with it.