Lyn Hejinian

Lyn Hejinian

from A Border Comedy
for John Zorn

Reason is an aid to stories
It's the ghost out of the cell
Reciting what it remembers, ruling nothing out
Like the Narrator known as Anonymous
But if the flesh of the ghost is no longer under 
Then, like a ghost, it's gone
From its unusual or even downright alien position
Of which it is an imitation
Not knowing where to go
An aporia
Which will allow us to go beyond the limits of any 
	one viewpoint
And remain there
Though it may not seem to follow
In the tracks I make
I've gained weight, my own weight
Under my own trusted and selfish senses
My memory is filled with their impressions
I write when nothing answers
That something appears
A terrible slaughter occurs
Technology has done nothing to make slashing and 
	hacking obsolete
(Definition: action; motivation: lack)
Resulting in expulsion
(Expulsion here assumes the nature of a certain form of justice)
But in the thought of it misery is guaranteed its 
	place and every dismal sound its habitation
Is "the story of our time" a confession?
A confession is a repetition
In search of consequence
Do I want to be bound?
The story confesses to the ego's attempts to master 
	every datum, including itself
It takes the and and links the sentences into 
The performance of a play
A plot in preparation
Scene: the scene consists of scene changes
The longer one plays the more the scene is 
	consistent with playing
Scene: the scene consists of scene changes
Hour after hour, sewing spangles on the horse 
	blankets, drawing roads in the dirt
Scene: dirt
Change: rain
Scene: mud
Did we believe in it?
Of course
One of the demands we impose on the imagination is 
	that it present to us the everyday world
As a world we can recreate
As a world that will create for us objects of 
	imaginary experience
A pedestrian with two black dogs pulling uphill 
	means augmentation of sameness through outward
A child on the grass with water in a bucket dumping 
	it and a doll in the grass means a feeling of 
	"Those lines will never meet!"
A nasturtium with a hole in it means when things to 
	be attended to are small, attention to one 
	interferes with perception of the other and the 
	wraith of the flower has passed through
A woman whisking ants off a flower pot set on the 
	windowsill one rainy day means huddling 
A man in short pants pedalling a blue bicycle across 
	an empty intersection means we can only use an 
	object to our advantage when we have it in our 
	muscular control
A woman in a short coat pocketing a candy bar and 
	running to catch a bus means the train of 
	imagery may wander at its own sweet will
A man with a trumpet case and a very large thermos 
	turning his back to the wind means an awareness 
	of the passage of time is always accompanied by 
	a sense of the overlapping of an experience 
	with attention to it
Two sales clerks, each reluctantly wearing the 
	required store shirt, means that will and 
	belief may be two names for the same 
	psychological relation between objects and the 
A woman carefully separating pieces of a previously 
	worked jigsaw puzzle means the smith may see 
	the sparks fly before the hammer hits the iron
Which is to say that however lively the imagination 
	may be, it still benefits from contact with reality

My grandmother said so too and counted backwards 
	from 500 by 7s
With a little left over "for luck"
And one fish for the river
As our stories continue
At the edge of the hill where they so love the view 
	of the hill
Things that stand in the light mean the light to be 
And the night wants things to continue
Logic does spring from subject to object
And the big fallen branch speaks back to the boy 
	with the grooved foot
Who walks it
Branch: Wife-to-husband, violin-to-cello, skater-
	to-ice, parent-to-child, worker-to-boss, snake-
	to-bee, bullfrog-to-bulldog, plumber-to-pipe, 
	medicine-to-measles, reporter-to-king, john-
	to-whore, bread-to-bologne, Ariel-to-Prospero-
	to-Ariel -  congruent normally but you never 
If you meet your mother over there taking bets at 
	the track the impact of the locale on the 
	conversation will most likely be pretty 
Boy: All foreigners are in a situation like mine
They sat that we never provide information about any 
	situation, about the social status or 
	relationships of people to each other, for 
Branch (shifting): A fatter one is generally more in 
	the light and greedier with water than a 
thinner one
but even though we may recognize knowledge, we can't 
	do much but wait to see what falls when and 
Like me
But here and there you are on the side you didn't 
	begin at
And I sense a border guard
Having reached the far side of the gorge the boy 
	gave a golden egg to the branch, who put it in 
	her nest, and two golden eggs to the border 
	guard, who put them in his omelette, and out of 
	the nest came a singing hermit thrush and out 
	the omelette came the warm odor of midday 
	summers, and the branch lay across the gorge in 
	the wind for many years, and the border guard 
	eventually retired and lived with his daughter 
	and her husband who enjoyed his help and 
	company, while the boy went off to join the 
But there was no circus so he became a physicist
And the groove in his foot disappeared
Just as the holes in your ears will do if you go too 
	long without earrings
To block the view
From a voyeur whom night requires to introspect
The holes
Of course, senses have objects - everything 
	provides evidence of this
The objects make themselves available and laugh
Suddenly you're one of them
In gender while sleep comes down
And inches

It branches
It hands and fingers
The objects of the senses cannot know how to behave
They cannot scrawl and intend
There's a message on the postcard
Upside down
It says, They war
A tent
But nomads would neither win nor lose
The living space
The warm touch of the dog
As Margaret Cavendish says, I say
Those are in particular favored by Heaven
Who are protected from violence and scandal in a 
	wandering life or a travelling condition
Passing through the holes in the connection
The Singing Man gripped the tree which stands for 
	the pole at the site of the unknown
And moaned, Nature!
The threat had no effect on my ideas
But I felt (not for the first time) an encircling 
	desire to organize them
I had read somewhere of a philosopher who had 
	sketched out a diagram of his life
A labyrinth lacking spiral, a maze without center
Without concentricity
No passage
No sound
But suddenly how musical the mere practicing of the 
	thought of music becomes

The bird is out
We do not want all loss of boundary
At boundary is the body of experience
It affirms our solitude but it negates it too
It makes conjunction, has beauty and clue
It makes of the body an erotic talisman
Then the woman sewed it into a silk pouch and tied 
	the talisman to her thigh
And there it was

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