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Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end

D. C. Reid
From:   Open 24 Hours. Fredericton, NB: Broken Jaw Press, 1997.


Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end.
                        - Carolyn Forche

"The poem doesn't happen this way," she says and paints a lighthouse
              that isn't there.

"One rearrangement of living is art," I say and squeeze the perch until it bleeds.

There is no danger as her leg blurs in the water off the dock, that world
       before man and paint, her calf within which razors could sink
                               like a necklace. Then the fronds of blood.

"Another," I say, "is memory, the dominion of the past." I could write a straw hat,
       word the light that marks a landscape France.

But fish blood drops to the surface of another world
        sharks apprehend in parts per million, and the ocean fills
                            and releases the shore like a beautiful species of sex.

"All other is surrender to the arbitrary, the accidental," say I; marvellous the ease
with which reality
                        caves in to the palette,
                                              the way a building, explosives set just so,
                            collapses among the others.

And the float upon which we float is not the ground.

Her bent-up calf returns as though having passed into a milder realm
where the gentle removing of flesh from bones is a reverence.

The lighthouse rises, white upon white. Sammy loads her wand with red.
                             And now the shark comes curving,
                        eery and prehistoric, from out of its shadows.

And here is her leg, and here, the answer to the obvious question.

"I don't do people ... something about the hands."

To fish for sharks, I think, the perch is slit from vent to gills and turned out like a glove.
Afternoon under the yellow sky on a wharf named Lothlorien ends
with the reel giving ground, a rod
                                               bent under a mystery, fierce,
                                 and capricious, invisible.



D. C. Reid's works copyright © to the author.


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