Thursday, March 5, 2015

Indefinite Divisibility (Yves Tanguy), Sonnet #232

On planets unnumbered a rock lies among rocks.
Inside each skyscraper are painted staircases,
We have never seen or used; the mind erases
What it can't perceive; a man's death stops all the clocks,
Stairs go down to Hell and all the rocks grow faces.
And that's just the world we live in at this moment.
There are others of unimaginable torment,
Where my undying brain sits in a silver jar
Forced to think forever now and here and afar,
Fed equations to steer ships through the firmament.
Now, each time I blink at the sun I am made new,
Turned into, before I blink again, one of two.
By the time the sun sets I, having become three,
Will generate newer me's indefinitely.

Maybe we cannot know that A will precede B,
Or take comfort knowing B always leads to C.
Though we often do, it's just a human habit,
Says Hume. Tanguy, refusing to see, illustrates
The unlikely and all expectation frustrates.
The white fur around the bowl clock being rabbit,
The articulation of bones, interstices
Of machine parts, all trued, introduce new species.
There's another universe exactly the same,
Where the things in this painting actually exist,
But with one less bowl clock and a different name,
And faintly familiar songs too many to list.
I pick up my old coffee cup and take a sip.
It tastes of peat, ashes, and salt, and burns my lip.

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