What we can make of the mess we have made of things

That world! These days it’s all been erased and they’ve rolled it up like a scroll and put it away somewhere. Yes, I can touch it with my fingers. But where is it? – Denis Johnson, Emergency

One of Eno’s Oblique Strategies:

In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly.

My mother was mostly deaf when she was pregnant with me, though unrelatedly. Fixed by surgery two months after my birth, just try to imagine what it is like to go from mostly deaf to holding a screaming child. The way the rocks from the pavement hit the bottom of the car, she says, was an unbearable noise. Grocery stores, people in rooms: the world is loud.

Specific, too. Each person who gets glasses at an age where things are memorable has a memory of the sudden observance of individual leaves on trees. Revelatory things, that come from an absence-to-presence, which if we’d like to talk contemporary-experimental literature/poetry-strategies would take us miles. No doubt because of all the there-ness these (ahem) days, though this in and of itself is not revelatory.  A lot of things exist, everywhere, all the time. Uh huh. I, too, have windows, and the Internet. 

Still, presence-to-absence outweighs, unless you are John Cage.  John Cage in an anechoic chamber: “That experience gave my life direction, the exploration of nonintention.” There is a hole in the world, where you used to be. Though: which would be weirder, to suddenly have one less arm, or one more arm? On the one hand, growing an extra appendage would be extraordinary and undoubtedly disturbing. On the other, phantom limb syndrome exists exactly because of the trauma of missing a limb, while it is likely you would get used to having an extra arm. Plus then here I could give three examples: and on the imaginary third hand…

Sometimes things appear, and it is easier to make sense of the rest. Sometimes they disappear, and then it is easiest. 

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