Aught, no. 7 (2001)

Jonathan Minton

To say what flags "has meaning
again," what ordinary sentence,
to say what bombs, what rations,
as burdened as, has borders as,
yes and this, and yes and this.
. . .at our border: the center:
between the word here
and the word for here: our signs
in glass, our eyes, in ribbons.
. . .the silence
would be unbearable,
the table pressing back
at fingertips, the ripple
shattering its glass, the facts
before their explosion.
. . .against which the logic
of glass would propose
only silence, the slow
motion between frames, a cup
catching rain, the water
spilling from its limit.
The answer is we sentence. The answer
is the frame of glass, or the reflection
in the mirror, not the glass, not the mirror.
The answer is we say this to that.
Impossible to say
that I am
else standing for something
else.      Signet.       Sigma.
Of the helix: the code
repeats: gules, hand and fingers,
downward, quarter azure:
in perfect circle: or mirrored arch.
"If. . .together"      such hour
as ours       and into
place: blazoned: the clarity: distilled
                (destined (our eyes (in blaze
to a point for "before"
          a point for "after"
                    a point for "for"
  The flag after the image after
our sign still blazoned
in sky     still     zoned
in sky     until the after-
image in error
                elides     one
in k then two
                between two
there are three                  an aberration
                after one always
in the image of                  "this is the promise
and the terror it holds for us."
"We are united" copied "We are united"
copied "We are untied" (from code,
        (in) complete     the helix
                —hidden —or stuttered —or slid
        between . . . what nearly said . . . what newly said.



A Process of Weather

William James writes of a particular state of mind "in which the will to assert ourselves and hold our own has been displaced by a willingness to close our mouths and be as nothing in the floods and waterspouts of God." Language is like the weather, an ongoing process, a rising or receding flood. Of course I don't mean the rain, but if I turn down Mozart and keep quiet, the water plays the gutters and I enjoy the music. The following example poems were translated from texts generated by a C++ computer program written in April, 2001. The program takes what was then given--André Breton's What is Surrealism?, John Cage's "Music and Mushrooms," and Charles Tomlinson's "A Process" and "The Marl Pit"--then processes the texts by chance determinations coded within the C++ algorithm. The C++ code was rewritten for Java in October, 2001. I call the program Digilgoue, after digital + dialogue, a correspondance not unlike the weather. I can particpate in such a process (poem), but once it is underway, I am no longer the authority (author). Language is then an invitation in which words are a matter (materialization) of process, as the rain is a matter of weather. Language is as given as the rain, yet the given is subject to chance: the permutations of cloud and wind in which clouds open to wind, a dispersion and return: I'm watching the script unfold, a dialogue among equals: what can Tomlinson say with Cage, with Breton? In process, words correspond freely with line and page so that words and water are of a similar source: chance happenings, source codes. The water corresponds freely with ground and cloud, a language of binaries, a code in which we choose an umbrella or a boat to suit our pleasure. I have nothing to argue.

#952: second and part

I thought of
l for example,
its density, immediately, and not
of bits or what it may
restore into a word
or the punctuation of
trifling and unbroken sounds, a static
instance drawn out--it is
liquid--it is untrue when ending
in absolute closure, absolute
certainty. Subject ears to hear
grass, and so ever
precisely everywhere,
the arbitrary outward expression, this
matter of music. We must
have sentences. I am writing outward. I am speaking
of the difficult silences to come.

#583: outward and dug

The inspeak trifling (its own) begins.
Or rain seasoned
at the "there never is a has"
that wink undefined when you have hills between tips and having
just the years
in reverse of cloud with us
of "that it has"
That origin seems suspect
own loss sheeted given
to music

#127: the and that

Mushrooms: words next to steeples, horizons undefined
and that as they just catch, just
before darkness engenders. To be tempted in Eden's rain
by making nature. The rain possesses the summer, the streets,
ever, and incessant, which overcomes return
to the, to forward, and back
(dazzle of the self-evident)
aprocession lit for the years, then
blocked, horized in
(seemed undefined, continuous basidia)
a sentence alien to light. Of the sentence:
"the night we took to High Tor." Always "to," always
sounds that we be true.



Heisenberg Variations

"The more precisely the position is determined,
the less precisely the momentum is known."

In crossing a distance
drawn by a cartography
linking the eye to one
distinct point, then another, each
resemblance proposes related uses:
bridge, nation, god. Let this
be as another. Let this grammar be as
(prop, position, prayer). Let this propose
new instances for each.

To determine the boundary of the computable and non-computable, the mathematician Alan Turing theorized a procedure in which a machine would read a tape ruled into boxes. Each box would hold a symbol or a blank: one or zero, yes or no. The tape would be threaded through a window containing a read-write apparatus, whose behavior would be determined by a program: for sequence X, replace with Y, and move the tape in direction Z. Turing proposed that whatever could be computed with pen and paper, could be computed with this machine.

At one
point in time,
eyes look out,
through glass,
at a hand lifting
a feather from lake
water. Waves circle
from the splash
of new facts.

The view from a half-opened
window is a relationship
resolving itself in the indecision
of distance, or a sentence
that could not be written that might
now be written.

Grammatical stress subordinates
uncertain direction, each relation
clarified by subject: command: object.
We must have limits. We must have
sentences. We must keep our word.

A window opens to the motion
of wind: of wings: bird flight: syntax
of fact after fact,
such computations as
yes and yes
and no and no
and yes and no:

the window opens
to prayer: the circuitry of vision
between here and there:
I am here
because something is there.

Window, wind, wing vis-
ion: in every
certain propostion: each thing
in its limit is the limit
of every other thing.

ion: condition of: particle
whose impulse pushes its
given orbit: the pressure to speak
after the silence of hesitation.

I believe these are my fingers.
I know these are my fingers.
These are simply my fingers.
This is my hand. This is my arm. This is
my shoulder. This is motion. I know
this gesture. I believe I know
what I will write next. The angle
of rain over water delineates the
measure of pen and wing.

Contained in the pressure of motion
without certain
gesture -- a blur of rain dripping
from glass, a glass between
looking and a look, a word
between syntax and sentence.

The clarity of collapse is a political
act: the gesture
opens the given limit
of blink of wings, its sentence of rain.

In the machinery:
of prayer: the fact of:
glass swinging on its hinge.

Copyright © 2001, by the author. All rights reserved.
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