H u g h  S t e i n b e r g


The Way, a Way, Through


This trapping of heavier objects "moving them upward when one
would expect them to fall down, the same is true for particles
that tend to move randomly within cells; can be captured,
ratcheted, perform useful work, made safe" safe in its choices.
Not wrecked, tired. Of the technical language, the
topographical information from ground and air surveys, from
radar data gathered by aircraft and space satellites, maps
showing the elevations and depths of the surface, black and
white images of the planet unobscured by clouds, fog or

The world is a lot more complex than that. The lumps, the
chart, the fraud of language, those fakers, it is equivalent, is
a satellite, knocked out/off say skewed, say the months were
minor virtues. Lurid, why bother? Sinking, into the knee
kingdom, praying there, I can find you. I know where to find
you. There are all sorts of levels. There's so much noise in
the data. To fly the radar equipment and mast again, or knowing
your enemies, each one of them. Decided it was a good idea to
preserve the past, to keep the capability to bring the past in.
Like they say there is no neighborhood [up here], just a number
of houses.

Attached another meaning to it. Of a time when we were close we
looked upon a model of the world. The Amber Room, the one that
was lost so long ago. Once it was beautiful, but even before it
was stolen, it was in poor shape, in need of restoration, the
pieces were falling out. The outcome has been curiously
appropriate, such is the will of God, a symbol of the huge loss,
of perhaps unwilling to dwell. One long vertical panel is
finished, as well as the lower perimeter along the floor; we
stayed up and talked of snow.

From the first, we felt the most interesting expression of faith
was a test. An underlying somewhere, underneath, in the dirt
and salt of it, the rounded smooth, the scatterings, all of
them. This is a way. Luminous monochrome paintings on shaped
aluminum. Lacquered industrial finishes, no trace of the hand.
Stitching them together, keeping them close. Logs to burn;
sending the ghosts of these buildings heavenward, where they
belong. Its vast contributions, it's warmer, more vulnerable,
more interesting, drumming that threads together a little more
faith and the shabby state, a mysterious song, with handcrafted
defects all over it. A long version of empathy. About as a
word you keep hearing all the words you keep out. The main
evidence soars freely atop the music, drifting into range from
the world below.




Hugh Steinberg was a board member of Small Press Traffic for several years,
and has been published in Grand Street, 14 Hills, Melodian, among others. He
is currently the coordinator of the Euro-San Francisco Poetry Festival and
teachs at CCAC. Hugh Steinberg lives in San Francisco.