“I am inclined to believe there is no such thing as repetition. And really how can there be.”
—Gertrude Stein, “Portraits and Repetitions”
“Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone-quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Man,
“Plato; or, the Philosopher”
He particularly enjoyed the edges of woods,
Their ledges, their cracks/ the fall of the voice/the crevice in which it lingers
The rise and fall of empires, the cycles of cosmology
Particularly enjoyed the edges of words,
Their serrated blades, their gaps/how she fell down in them
When she ran too fast/the fall of the voice /the crevices in silence
The last berry before the fall
Particularly enjoyed the distance between their difference and sameness,
How they created the illusion of space like a mirror and subject
How by perceiving a superficial distance, a profound closeness was realized
Of who they were in their listening and their speaking
“History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme”
The rhythm of personality; its insistence on expression
The rhyme of rhythm
Particularly enjoyed looking at sound, found sound…its insistence lulling like water, like bird calls, her sound and the sound around her. The sound around her no different, though not the same as sound emanating from her, to her; she perceived the sameness in the difference, and perception blurred in the speed of it, how sound never stopped to claim identity. Sound of a train, a gong, a vibrating cat, sound of a noun, a car passing her thought, its driver singing a lullaby, moving toward her, whoosing away. Wash drying in the breeze, soaking in the rain, the motor in her intestines, the way the sound grounded out of her as she listened to it and spoke. There is no repetition, Gertrude Stein said. Only in the stagnant can it exist, and what is stagnant? Even the dead rot
When looking at sound, what do you see? When looking around. Water
Sound. Sound land. Sound in the eye. Teeth chiming.
It enters into the character
Of sound—its light. Sung
Night. Snug light. Night eyes brighten the darkness.
Vibrating, emitting, expressing
Sleep sound. Sound mind. A bird’s flight
Into its room to sleep
As a woman
Chirping, the sun warming her lids
And when she hears doves mourning, she coos.
Words stored in a safe. Prayers chanted.
It is night, again, and she walks through the woods,
His home, and words pine and stand.
And then morning, and then night. There is no repetition.
How many times does one tell the same tale?
Her favorite lesson in school was rhyming, learning
That words have families too, that they’re at home in the womb of the mouth
And then they leave home and become another language
—The At family, the Un family. The relationship of words, their relationship to home.
She speaks two languages—one to communicate.
The words are not always words as one is wont to identify words.
Sometimes they’re misshapen animals,
Music. Sometimes they’re hoots. Pictographs. An abrupt thumping of
Of wind. Passing through. Space roiled, shivering. Language
Of body—frenetic and dancing.
It’s the silent pictures. Sentient pictures. There voiceless shrills. Trills.
Though fight-or-flight triggers the sympathetic nervous system
And praying or counting breath
Ameliorates and binds. Bounds us with motion, with birds.
In the story, he was an upholsterer/the imposter
He had echolalia, echopraxia
He had prosopagnosia, face blindness,
Because it is the face that triggers memory
The sound of one’s face
The space that identifies one’s language speed
When he looks like no one, everyone, sounding everyone in the calls
That leave his mouth
The composition in which we live—its five paragraphs
Same scene same theme
Anyone can resemble someone
Anyone can be processed to resemble anyone
Anyone can have echopraxia, echolalia
It is impossible to speak and listen without embracing one’s oneness with others and one’s otherness with one
It is impossible to live without embracing one’s oneness with others and one’s otherness with one
It’s impossible to not kill without embracing one’s oneness with others and one’s oneness with one
Remembering is the only repetition, the only confusion
Her wolves sleep beside her, inside her—her left-side and right-side wolf
One’s different parts spring up differently in different ones—By perceiving the superficial differences and the profound resemblances
The problem of thought: to separate and to reconcile. To be divided and to unite. Existence mutually contradictory and exclusive
Eliding at such speed that one can never say what is one, and what it is not
When one is Emerson or Plato
Sea seen from shore, shore from sea;
In transitions from one to the other
Adroitly managed to present as much transitional surface as possible
The surface of the longest wave quickly lost at sea and resurfacing at shore
Resurfacing on one’s face, in one’s song, in one’s Stein, in one’s bird, one’s burden, one’s bind, one bond on a journey away and toward one
Spills into the willing, spilling into the will
Mutilated mother, muted mother.
Our mother tongue.