Eros, Inverted—Namely: Curiosity
The Blackbird Variations, Chapter IX
“Why do you think you rhyme so much?” asked Alison, sitting in the opposite booth, after lending her ear to an early instance of the above.
She was a friend of Lilly’s feminist roommate, and was a feminist by admission, too. She just didn’t argue like one—or was it assume? Always proffering him questions, whereas Lilly’s roommate always had the answer. Always and imperious.
He took two days to answer her, having dodged her question at that moment by putting all the stress on the “so much,” saying he wanted the poem about Time ‘to have as many lines as the days of the year—though I probably should have stopped at degrees in a circle, ha, ha, ha.’
This evasion clearly didn’t satisfy her, but he didn’t have a better answer til two days later, which she wasn’t there for, but had she been, he would have said: ‘I feel like poetry is there to keep me solving the problem of language, and when I’m awash in prose I end up calling all my attention to this same problem.’
To which she would have asked, looking him in the eye, had they been in George’s, her knee quaking the scored ceramic cup and saucer rimmed by pale yellow squiggles which was one of his ambitions to immortalize (where else but in verse?)—she would have asked:
“And what is this ‘problem of language?’ Is it your problem, or is it language’s problem?”
And he may have answered something along the lines that for him it seems all about the getting into trouble, the creating of problems, and with rhyme and meter, he at least had something evident to wrestle with—to test his mettle against not just a diffusion of expressions and explanations, but a sensual contraction of thought into sound and then sound into thought, as if language perpetrated the various wavelengths of consciousness, or ever tries to—and though he was not with Alison—boyish, pointed, a blade, a feminine blade, he liked her and that like could get very strong sometimes so that when she wasn’t around he thirsted for her, spindling clouds of thirst for her when his mind was not otherwise occupied—though she wasn’t with him and they were no longer in this conversation, even though he was with Leslie now, who had just smoked him up a few blocks west of campus—he said aloud ‘Viscosity.’ And Leslie asked “What?” And there was my cry again, interrupting him:
“What?” Leslie asked, and Thomas attempted to chase down the thought, which I caught at least this much of:
‘The difference between Time and the Shadow… has to somehow do with their internal friction… oil is bound to itself differently than water is, differently than glass is, too, which bindings allow for the passage of light through all three, but not all three to pass through one another, I mean dissolve, without separating… And that has to do with the viscousness of each… And what about the light that passes through thoughts… that has to refract differently through different syrups of gnosis—all we have to do is find the resonant thicknesses of the different refractivities of thought, then map them into a manual of some sort—a fancy faculty! A lexicon of locution, a colloquial codex—a greatness granting grim—’
And swirly foams were made of where his thoughts’ pathing forked forth frothily, he began to assemble in the gravel the letters:
TU SHEA IS NOT THE DARKMAN
And later, finding paper, pen, dramming:
The viscosity of invention and of clarity. But that wasn’t nor is it, isn’t it? I’ve been toying to spark of the Void as were it not empty but were it a regression, a distance interposed over the actualness of the possible—isn’t it IS this: the Void is but the sky I breathe through and see through, its viscosity insofar as it has viscosities and it must have viscosities, the further it regresses from the realness, distinctions successive not only from the something that I’m situated in, but this “Possibilitress,” the mother of the mother of Space of NIGHT and deny me, please, at any moment, that these are but symbols being played with1 (tu shea never was the darkman but the darkman might be tu shea at any moment) symbolism then might act best for the articulation of these née precocious viscousnesses, not only of thought but think of what story is made out of think of that transcending both the philosic and poeic by means of situationalistic symbology. Symbolism ergo as a way (symbolism nested in characters that one reconnoiters later on in thinking back on the story sung, tale spun, ale clung to the inner brain (if not tu shea, then why not I? I am not the darkman, nor am I the understudy maybe, maybe place my thoughtsinto a container that can be moved about, checked and mated to propagate more sound-designed chambers full of variant characters, studies—and that the problem is displaced from language—from mere poetics and prattled philophics dimmed and shackled and given to grapple with time now in a space other than specluæ, dipped and soldiered in the hummos of drama’s urgy costumes, MASKS, a change of face always ALWAYS the problem remains displaced into a bigger problem for the implementation is the viscosity of work and the Work’s requisite mastery—every aspect of its artifice comes with like seven years of time sunk into their perusal pursuit purses purloining forthwith—Father Time perpetually returns to her pillared circle, seeking that Question Three of the Little One’s, for without being able to answer her final query, he cannot be freed from that terrible power of hers—Eros, Inverted—namely: Curiosity—
In his periphery, the sound of Shore was replaced by the sound of Tide, but he was batted back thankfully onto a Beach formed of the broken glass of his shattering thoughts, he trudging through their liminal static for an hour as he walked around and I lifted from him his stubborn joblessness-for-the-sake-of-Work, for I could stomach no more his expenditures into the desolute gnoesis and so gave him over to the hunger for menial activity and the shame of bills stacking: Go, go, my truant boyman, go out and seek something other than this wastreling minstrelation….
He found himself at the end of the Ravenswood line and fished coinage for train fare and wound up on Belmont near Clark, curbs still packed with sandy slush from the latest snow, eventually the cloud of weed clearing and his mind pliant and supplanted far enough from that tight-knotting of thoughts that ever seemed outside both where he was and where we are, his ficciones. But it was three or four PM and he couldn’t imagine doing any of the many things that people were employed at, all around him, and he felt like sitting and trying again to get work done, coming to the Quidni Café and seeing its patrons both few and mostly at study, and so he walked inside, hanging coat over the back of a chair and setting pack at table’s legs, then went up to the counter to order something cheap, sweet, and fluid, finding there an older man perched on a stool and slowly acknowledging him with a frown.