Zoning the Reagent

Posted on June 15, 2008


I imagine it is like one of those cricket scoreboards; in fact just like one; beyond a screen with a half-hidden figure moving behind it, untidying it so to say, shrunk across a field of short scorched grass, periodically slotting numbers in, the cumulative show of runs edging up throughout the day, and the process somehow convincing despite the clear evidence of the strings suspending the puppets on the pitch reaching up to heaven: in this case of the wickets and so on – the day of the week, do they do that too? – or perhaps like on a tv quiz where a short-skirted miss with a half unbuttoned blouse takes a stack of lettered cards or numbers and so on; she takes a brisk step or two across the studio and magnetically attaches them to a wall with a deft upward swing and where someone else decides what word they can make from them, and her skeptical but enthused face darkens or lightens depending on the plausibility, or the nearest to a number number that they can reach by dividing, multiplying and subtracting that she herself calculates; in either case the essential thing being the blanks, the clearly marked absences where the word or number has to go and where finally – this is the happy part – something is decided on and yes we have the word, we have the number and we can all go home.  That I imagine is what it is like to write poetry.  You have a definite space, as between two brackets (thus: [                                     ]) into this a word or phrase has to fit and so you concentrate, you reach deep, search your memory, and you think up associations, perhaps you recall what happened yesterday or the day before and after a while it all works; say a phrase like “zoning the reagent with parafin” or a word like “equinoctial” it becomes clear is the missing piece, the final part of the jigsaw, if I may descend into cliche – in any case what you have is the completed burnished chrome article.

Posted in: Aesthetics