tommandel

Books

To the Cognoscenti Absence Sensorium Letters of the Law Ancestral Cave Four Strange Books Realism Prospect of Release Central Europe Erat Some Appearances Ready to Go EncY The Grand Piano, Part 1 The Grand Piano, Part 2 The Grand Piano, Part 3 The Grand Piano, Part 4 The Grand Piano, Part 5 The Grand Piano, Part 6 The Grand Piano, Part 7 The Grand Piano, Part 8 The Grand Piano, Part 9

Realism

In Empire Camp

I resemble him in what we both resemble. The concrete tasks social life imposes extinguish all memory of the events of life. His actions pass within him.

Our actions pass within us. A contemplative corner of the world in which subtle and ironical arguments crisscross, the world I carry closes my eyes; I sleep like the stone that will wear down the mill. My hands extend into years behind and before me. Fifteen years of invention and training, then color disappears. Everything merges into black. Strung among the poplars in my courtyard, a mimetic rhythm beads the path of my eyes, raising them to meet your reminders, beliefs that for years were the refuge of our resemblance.

In physical form I do not resemble you, yet as instant film immobilizes the viewer during the interval of its self development — a devotion of soul to its own activity — so in the moment of your motion I begin to acknowledge you. Entering the path, vaguely marked and only by my travel, the road which first led me to you then bent me to become you, I raise my hands; my heart too lifts in hope.

Dissatisfied with their roles, the character actors rebel and capture the studio. While the life long interview leads out, one runs in place. The fuselage of an airplane surveys a sky of designs, radiating intelligence and subject matter. Alone with the books, I learned. A deed is not its own likeness.

So much is certain, and so much more is not. If you do not wish to join me, to look through the keyhole again and again, place your equipment in a build-up of words. In this way will we destroy what we have labored in vain to extinguish by more direct means — our memories. One day the wall of your house blew outward; it lay buried under a rotting bridge, a lapsed river whose rust-colored bottom steams through a town called From.

Suddenly we were able to thank each other in a formula for parting. For a moment, as we said goodbye, I felt an old desire, wanting to be here once more, in the way I do (am) tonight, and for tomorrow to have returned among all else foregone. On that day I had known you best and sensed your reflex as it built out of our world another world to know. We were strolling together and began to read responsively from leaves of the trees we blew past. We began by reciting the alphabet, in alphabetical order — A, "a"; D, "b"; C — and went on from there.
 

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Realism was written between 1977 and 1980 and published in 1991 by Burning Deck. It is available from the publisher or Small Press Distribution or Amazon.