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Fevered [Jul. 25th, 2004|05:26 am]
Maybe I need new glasses. The stars seem a bit too dim and blurry. Maybe it is merely summer haze. Risking tick bites, I lie on the grass for a while, feeling the warm night air enfold me. Part of the dipper sticks out from behind the pines. I become aware of being in this place at this moment. Most of the time, I am not aware of such things. I exist in the passing days and nights, see the trees and houses and sky, know that I see them, but maintain a sense of detachment from my own presence, almost as though I were remembering more than being. But for a moment, in this night, I turn solid, and sense the immediacy of the grass making my back itch and the crickets making not just sound but a physical vibration of my eardrums. It always surprises me when I become aware of my material existence. That the things around me are things, and that I can touch them or see them or hear them, I never question. But that it is I who have this experience is something I seldom think of. I think perhaps that I would like to be a ghost, and haunt the world, forever apart from it, as invisible to it as I usually am to myself.

These thoughts lead me to conclude that my brain has become fevered by the heat.

Tonight, the Edward Hopper painting called Sunday Morning has been popping into my head. I keep seeing the red brick facade, the heavy cornice, the empty windows, the long shadows, the deserted pavement. It is the first Hopper painting I remember seeing, though I saw it only in a small reproduction in a book. I was fascinated by it. It reminded me of something I couldn't quite identify. There is in that painting the massy palpability of the scene and a sense of utter vacancy, and the combination of the two is most disturbing, yet alluring. The unidentifiable thing in that picture is something I have always wanted and never found. The heat in my head is making me want it more than ever, but I don't think I'll ever find it. I think maybe it only ever existed in Hopper's imagination, and perhaps not consciously even there. I have come to see reality the way I see that painted scene; utterly familiar, yet impenetrable.

Yeah, that's definitely a fevered brain.

Sunday Verse

The everyday fire

by Octavio Paz

For Juan Garcia Ponce

Like the air
            constructing and deconstructing
invisible buildings
on the pages of geology,
on the planetary mesas:
His language scarcely a grain
       in the palm of space.

Syllables are incandescent.
And they are plants:
                    their roots
fracture silence,
                 their branches
build houses of sound.
they twine and untwine,
at likeness and unlikeness.
          they ripen in the mind,
flower in the mouth.
                    Their roots
drink night, eat light.
trees incandescent 
with leaves of rain.

Foliage of lightning,
geometries of echoes:
on a leaf of paper
the poem constructs itself
                          like day
on the palm of space.


[User Picture]From: niyabinghi
2004-07-25 05:43 am (UTC)
Thank you for that verse this morning.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: jaarronn
2004-07-25 01:28 pm (UTC)


Edward Hopper has had me grappling for "something just on the edge of my memories" for so many years. Wonderful entry again, J. And, as always, your poem selection is exquisite. Thanks again.
(Reply) (Thread)