Monday, March 13, 2006

Bringing It In

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In the story, the man is learning how to use
a hammer and an anvil. There are marks on the hard
surface of the anvil where steel has scored steel.
The man imagines the blows from the hammer
that made the metal scar another metal.

He hears the ringing in his ears.

The man needs to make something, an implement.
He knows that it won't happen all by itself.
Force must be applied in a certain direction.
There should be heat, and a bucket of cold water
into which the thing can be plunged.

To make some steam.
To make a hiss arise
from the surface of the dark water.

To temper it, to give it strength.

And there are diagrams. Drawings and plans
in blue ink on bluish paper. Angles and vectors,
plotted down to a gnat's ass. The man knows
that without a plan there's nothing
to diverge from.

No point of departure.

Which is where art happens, the man believes.
He picks up the hammer, hefts it in his hand,
swings down hard on the flat top of the anvil,
filling the small room with the bright ring

of steel on steel. He thinks of the barges
moving goods on the great rivers of the East;
a man on a girder swinging out over the
vast emptiness of air at the top
of a skyscraper being built, girder by girder,
in the heart of the city.

He rubs his elbow where it tingles from the blow
he let fly on the anvil. Like something
living traveled up through the steel.
An excitement of the axons and dendrites in the
armature of his body. A taint in his blood for
movement, a taste for force.

Later in the story the man can be seen working
at the anvil. Swinging the hammer with steady blows,
blows like the working of a clock, the ringing
of blows as regular and irretrievable as the ticking of seconds,
away and away and away, as a new thing is forged.

What is the man making?
It could be a sword, or a plowshare;
a shoe, or a box for keeping rice.

It doesn't matter to the man.

He is making the key that Death will use
to unlock the door to the Universe.
He is making a flower with hard petals.
He is bringing a life into this world
the only way he knows how.

He hammers away.
It shifts its shape under his blows,
he puts it in the fire until it glows
white; he drenches it in the bucket,
listens; turns it over and over, picks
a spot and hits it again.


He is bringing a thing into the world.
He knows that he is damned.




*

2 Comments:

Blogger LKD said...

Without a plan, there is nothing to diverge from. No point of departure.

We need structure in order to deconstruct? We need rules in order to break them?

Sin would be no fun if we hadn't labeled it thusly.

Hmmmmm.

I'm thinking of that Frost poem.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I....

For some reason, too, I'm thinking of that seen from 2001 Space Odyssey in which the apes go u, ape shit, and toss the stick into the air and stick becomes the obelisk.

Or was that a bone?

One of the most terrifying pieces of nature video I've ever witnessed was of a group of chimps who attacked one of their own. It was like human beings in a riot, only worse. They kicked and stomped and bit and beat and tore at him until he was just this bloody heap on the ground.

They tore and bit off anything that would come off including ears, fingers and his penis.

What the hell am I talking about?

I don't know.

I keep wondering if that's how my heart sounds right before I fall asleep. Louder than loud and aloner than alone. Like a hammer striking an anvil.

5:56 PM  
Blogger OrphanedPoet said...

oooo...this gives me shivers. reminds me of the tom waits song

What's he building in there?
What the hell is he building
In there?
He has subscriptions to those
Magazines... He never
Waves when he goes by
He's hiding something from
The rest of us... He's all
To himself... I think I know
Why... He took down the
Tire swing from the Peppertree
He has no children of his
Own you see... He has no dog
And he has no friends and
His lawn is dying... and
What about all those packages
He sends. What's he building in there?
With that hook light
On the stairs. What's he building
In there... I'll tell you one thing
He's not building a playhouse for
The children what's he building
In there?

Now what's that sound from under the door?
He's pounding nails into a
Hardwood floor... and I
Swear to god I heard someone
Moaning low... and I keep
Seeing the blue light of a
T.V. show...
He has a router
And a table saw... and you
Won't believe what Mr. Sticha saw
There's poison underneath the sink
Of course... But there's also
Enough formaldehyde to choke
A horse... What's he building
In there. What the hell is he
Building in there? I heard he
Has an ex-wife in some place
Called Mayors Income, Tennessee
And he used to have a
consulting business in Indonesia...
but what is he building in there?
What the hell is building in there?

He has no friends
But he gets a lot of mail
I'll bet he spent a little
Time in jail...
I heard he was up on the
Roof last night
Signaling with a flashlight
And what's that tune he's
Always whistling...
What's he building in there?
What's he building in there?

We have a right to know...


(and if you feel up to REALLY being creeped out....this wonderful streaming video from 1999)

4:06 AM  

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