from Velocity But No Location

Rosmarie Waldrop




There are convictions anchored so deep inside me that I cannot set sail for other islands, of which there are many. As if I could not put my legs into boots. As if nerve ends had been amputated. As if all I could do is moan. Animals got a grip on the world. Scent. Consent. Economy of reflex. I’m less interested in digestion or other issues of survival than distracted by gleams of sunlight on a leaf. Linden, aspen, will-o-the-wisp or other details that wander on like extras on the set. And me still with the same cup of coffee, obeying signals from some ancestral traffic jam.

I may not be sure of the meaning of a word but I don’t doubt it has one. The way I seem to see the ground with my feet, even the uneven ground in the garden, even when it’s too dark to point a finger at the trees, every one of which will outlive me. The way I am sure of my body, but don’t trust my feel for its edges enough to relieve myself like a man, standing, legs spread above the waterfall. Instead just fight against sleep, lack of stamina, the storm, such bitter cold, my fingers numb with. All the while trying to catch up with the words that outrun my understanding, let alone salt on their tail.

A thought is a tremendous excitement. Like a stone thrown into a pond it disturbs the whole of our double nature, bass, reed, breasted, boiler, gänger, entry folded over understudy doubling the cape of good dope. Even though each nerve fibre carries only one sort of signal and has to act together with others. The word together, however, and the little word and are nests of ambiguity. This is why you look for a device to measure how far we’re out of each other’s depth. Or bed. Intimate brace of nerve cells not all alike, immense number of words in infinite combinations.