Wittgenstein’s Bookends

1  The world is everything that is the case.

7  Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

– First and final propositions of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

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4.112 The result of philosophy is not a number of “philosophical propositions”, but to make propositions clear.

The Copse

***

Fields of wheat undulate northward towards Pennsylvania. The sun lowers. I measure my steps, timing myself as color saturates the horizon. Once at the thicket I do not go inside. I did not plan my time. I left the dogs on the patio. Halfway circling the copse I see further northward more field, more islands of trees. By the time I reach home the light is nearly gone.

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A month later half the field lays fallow, half is a wall of high corn. I skirt along the edge between the two, towards the copse. Abbreviated stalks of dry, cut grass crunch under my feet. The brightness of July creates a haze in the human eye. Too much light.

In the open field the light and heat made a sound. It is the sound of an insect, like the buzzing of florescent lights in the underground print-making studios at school. It feels dangerous and unnatural. I always hated the smell of ink and acid, the overly large machines, the complex, cumbersome processes. I couldn’t bear the sound. No outcome was worth it. I prefer to make images above ground, in clear, quiet light and with simpler tools. I have always had an affinity for windows.

The land is a wide wave dipping and rising, a field of spacetime. Gravity seems evident, visual. As I near the edge of the copse I slow. I cannot see in. The green of the perimeter foliage is blinding, the interior insensible.

***

 

Maps

Space and time.

I.

two sounds, train and owl, signal

through dark’s slow moving enclosure

framing the land, untangling its shape

with opposing agencies and a clarity

other media are incapable of

 

II.

these are the pastures of civilization

these few acres, these few necessities

a map unfurled in the cranial cave

lit by the flame of some ancient genius

as time flickers in and out

 

III.

we cross the transept, into the anthropocene

dumbly staring down the void, stumbling

over ourselves, our words, our language

a pile of signs, painted steel and reflective tape

glowing in the sun with a photographic dullness

 

IV.

particles of dust hang in the light that moves above the shadow as it solemnly follows us along. smaller shadows fill and define our bare foot prints behind us. dust hangs gently in the light above, slowly settling back into the undefinable matrix. eventually we have gone far enough away from all the places we don’t want to be and stop beneath a tree.

 

V.

I stand in the doorway

of your small room, shivering

faced with stricter definitions

it becomes harder to stay here

than when I was a cloud

and flawed like a piano

 

SM