Transmission Mist

by James Greer


I could break the shell of myself, if you want, or you could try to fail. Here’s how the thing works: some injustice must be left un-righted. Some tumescent flaw must be kept in the perfectly silvered surface of your Venetian mirror, set in the bark of a living tree.

In a stand of reflected catalpas, on each broad leaf, a poem appears in dendriform. In the grass we sit broadside down, and read the fallen leaves, turning pages and colors and sheaves of wheat-seeded idea. From this time to that time is the distance of dewdrop from its source.

Outside the shell, a sinewy thread connects consciousness to individual spirit. The desultations of philosophy, according to some lispy Latin (twining his elder Pliny with De Rerum), are essentially binding, essentially religious. The trinity is one God, four Gospels, and a multitude of loafs. A Character-Not-Yet-Invented hovers over mother-father earth, investing via uncreated breath each holy relic, each storm-born hiccup, with a sailing grace. In order to grit out the truth you have to tell stories that are not stories.

Frank the letters I gift you. Resist upon the justness of my claws. Have prayings for the marks and stick-matter of poor Mary’s rosy crux. Did she treat you well, muttering?

Sing to me now of infinity. Sing infinitely well, and finish with a flourish. Whose fingers now are stained with what type of sin? The devil you say. Named after light but hiding in the dark. In the beginning was the bird. The bird was made fish. Everybody, hellbound pelican or lofty perch, must eat. Must take part or partake, body and blood of Jack Christmas. Each act of kindness is a hopeful mistake.

The old man slumped at the table in a suit spun of flax. “I offer my heart to anyone in need of a muscle to move the lever that moves the world.”

Gemmules of inspiration pop like dolorous spit bubbles. Everything proceeds. Momentum of the moment, refracted in the prison of sight. Uncountable fragments that, together, unreveal a pattern no one stoops to admire.

The shell of the constructed self cracks like brittle candy on the rocks that shift, with predatory intent, from ship to shore. I think, therefore I’m not who you think I am.

Without his coat he believes himself naked, and that unreal nakedness drives him nuts.

Which is the true grammar? Break me if you will. Will me to break myself, to hoist surrender to an army that seeks to conquer itself. O Lord of guests, bid me to build myself a lighter limb, and chatter like a bird. I know, now, I cannot fly. I can only fall.