W. B. Keckler




Spring Poem



Not wanting to know the constituents which compose your aggregate
is the usual human cloud; a roiling personality.

Your body's microflora and microfauna have a rich inner life.  These are
probably more photogenic than you will ever know.

(a) The Chinese considered the wild asymmetricality of funguses to be beautiful
(b) so they carved them in jades so many lifetimes ago
(c) or they saw them as suitable subjects for art

(d) and the concept of beauty was either irrelevant or absent

A lover you have let fall outside the sphere of your life is either irrelevant
or absent or both.

Until you arrive at a perverse urge to telephone, which can be complicated
by a desire to telephone his body without signifying to his consciousness.

This perhaps comes closest to the bitchiness in art.

A telephone call in art can travel across many, many centuries.  Further,
it may be placed between two dead artists, posthumously.  In these cases,
the call is made for the benefit of living artists (or so they imagine) who eavesdrop
with a sense of absolute credulity, impatience.

The anticipatory, smooth reductionism of figural sculptures from the Cyclades islands
(800 B.C.)

A nude sunning itself on rocks, abandoning gender.

The telephone call is not placed as the observer wills.



We couldn't decide whether what was growing down the bathtub drain was a
fungus or a plant, the pieces that washed up and floated alongside our naked
bodies freaked us out.

Sometimes we thought it looked like kelp, sometimes it seemed like something
that might grow on shit.

Possibly, it had been living there for decades, symbiotically.  Certainly it
preceded us and our species.  Preceded us moving into this old building.

We made jokes about the X-files.  It enriched our dream-lives, which is silly.

Gilgamesh, we remembered, is looking for a plant which confers immortality,
which grows at the bottom of the sea.

Dying can occur when something grows beyond its boundaries, when a necessary
check ends.

Remember the illustration of Leviathan, the man composed of all the little homunculi?
The image has recurred in horror movies, where a human falls to earth and shatters
into a jillion little angry troll-men, who run off all directions, bloodthirsty.

To what degree might images be considered as microfauna in human consciousness,
as independent versus nested entities?

The greater fear is that the plant or fungus might be deliberately severing parts of itself
to get to our naked bodies, the joke being that it would gain entry, to colonize...

like the fear so pointless it has probably been forgotten, or become liminal

that language is a similar growth, that words are colonists or colonialists



Scientists still argue whether viruses actually fit the criteria of life, are alive

But it is a human perspective, necessarily, a human parallax

Of course we can enlarge the definition of life to include more entities

Certainly viruses are not abstractions---no one is saying that

She found herself playing for days with the idea that two abstractions like
nature and language could be seen as interchangeable, with not much harm
to their conceptual functioning.

This was a mote to trouble the mind's [reductive] eye

Certainly, she had seen movies where the idea of being fatally colonized
had been eroticized, had come to symbolize a form of control on the part
of the victim choosing such a fate

But these had all been horror movies, bad horror movies, and later she had been
repulsed by her previous fascination

He cried when he realized she was using A.I.D.S. as a metaphor to advance
her argument, which was not even a passionate one for her

The animal in the foreground of this picture is not a carrier of H.I.V.

The animal in the middle ground of this picture could never contract the A.I.D.S. virus,
never die in that manner.  But look.  The gods of genetics have intervened.

Now the structure you are observing becomes supersaturated with information--
it retracts from its own borders slowly, like color at evening or a sponge filled with blood
that discovers a vacuum at its center suddenly,

Now the streets are dreaming without you, right outside your window



Animals other than us will use abstractions, it's quite obvious

That the world is composed of so many languages and even translation can be glimpsed
being carried-out inter-species

This species of bird is warning that species of bird, this type of insect is misleading
that competing insect with chemical messages communicating food's availability
or unavailability, which is a lie here

Even trees that are being chopped down will warn other trees of danger though
this seems ridiculous to us

Because the signal for danger preceded "chainsaw"

to the degree that we understand how to escape a previous lover

we use the same tools by which we keep society in check, at bay

You realize you could spend your life discovering and documenting the ways that other
animals tell lies

You realize how important lying becomes in nature by which is meant here "the survival-

Lying is also seminal in art,

it is the semen of art

although I malign one sex over the other here, although I remain patriarchal
and Western in my lying with a metaphor (insemination)

One can lie by entering or being entered, equally



One can lie by entering or being entered, equally

I must have been thinking of you in that recalcitrant, oblique way I have of tracing
a shape around you at a distance

though it's not really you, is it

but a cyborg composed of metaphors and tired beauties
(but let me play tsar with the language a bit longer

I think I've earned my laziness...

I suppose our language has colonized me, in that permanent way of viruses,
which never leave the cells, just go into permanent (or temporary) check

and wait for nature's checkmate

no, it's really not you, is it, my struggle which refuses reality

as a confidant or playmate

I don't expect the net of lies matter has cast so sensually (creating the world)
will be cut through, or that it is even politic to do so

There doesn't seem to be any danger in thinking

so we ask if that world is real   (which is a fair question)

If philosophers died by asking their questions, we would no doubt accord philosophy
the same reality as the act of climbing glaciers

A word you have let fall outside the sphere of your life is either irrelevant or absent or

But you should probably critique my use of the word absent above

The plant or fungus or whatever it is could conceivably have stayed down the bathtub
drain all my life and still entered my body at the level of unconsciousness as spores or
microscopic seeds the way a concept can enter thinking at the level of mental

                       &   &    &  &   &

You will never know so much of your body and your mannerisms, your thoughts and
much that you encompass will remain a "stranger's skin," something a lover might relish
and consume for years

without your cognizance.  Your lifelong lover might love someone you never got to meet

who occupies your place in space

And if you change without knowing it, he might leave and his whole life grieve someone

you never really met,        nor needed in your life.


                                                                    --for Mei-mei Berssenbrugge