XII. Local Realism
Metonymy describes the figural structure
Of contiguity, nearness. The metaphysics
Of the figure begin the chant of their murmuring spell
When contiguity, nearness, is engaged
Complexly in all of its conceptual suggestiveness.
Under such circumstances, the greatest distances
Collapse instantaneously. And yet,
One would never think of Odysseus,
Driving back home around dusk, up 99 into the city
That isn’t a city but rather a town
Untended, overgrown as the orchards
And unkempt vineyards surrounding,
Those hard fields even as they collapse
Into the housing tracts their sprawl
Had already suggested. Everything looks the same
And like nothing at all. I can’t tell you
The last time I even saw any of it,
Though my early work in object permanence
Suggests it must still be right in front of me
And not only this layer of dust, this grudge
Held by the heat. One wouldn’t think
Of Odysseus because what could that help?
Who the hell’s he supposed to be anyway?
What story could have any say here, where water
Detests the earth and yet everything will be made grow?
People are still trying to talk about themselves
And sometimes even others as if there were human beings.
A car I once owned turned up after I sold it
Torched in an orange orchard with a body in the trunk.
The detective seemed satisfied I hadn’t done it,
And after he hung up I never heard another word about it.
We used to skip school in it, listening to music
On a battery powered boombox between us
Because I only had an AM radio in the thing,
Used to drive out into the blossom’d valley distance.
In music, I think what we’re talking about might have to do
With a patterning of the interval, but I don’t pretend
To understand music all that well. The names
Of things are uncountable this evening. Are and is.
Is and are. When will the garbage mountain
South of Jensen alight? When will the image
Stop stalling and fulfill its potential?
O to be near to you tonight, so near that, even here,
Where nothing at all can any longer be imagined,
Even here, when I open the door of you you appear.
Jeffrey Schultz’s artist statement:
Title of series: Fifteen Variations on Themes from Levis.
In a series of fifteen brief variations, Schultz will meditate on a number of themes–some of them poorly recalled from memory, some of them badly obscured or poorly understood–from Levis’s work.