December 19, 2009

The Crystal Text


Saturday, December 19
Beginning at noon; ending 5:00ish

The Waypost
3120 N. Williams
503-367-3182

Free admission
(Audience welcome to come and go)

The work of heaven or hell: to somehow
become aware of a howling in the motors.

                        Clark Coolidge, The Crystal Text (54)

As the solstice approaches, come in out of the wind and join us to listen to Clark Coolidge's compelling booklength poem The Crystal Text, read aloud by a dozen local writers.

Readers will include James Yeary, Jesse Morse, Sam Lohmann, Maryrose Larkin, Rodney Koeneke, Patrick Hartigan, Jen Coleman, Allison Cobb, Joseph Bradshaw, Meredith Blankinship, & David Abel.

A colorless quartz crystal sits upon the writer's desk, still and irreducible as a death's head in St. Jerome's study or Cezanne's studio. But what would the crystal reveal, if it could speak? How might the issue of its presence be brought into language? The poet of The Crystal Text, by means of a rare stamina of attention and listening vulnerability, seeks to become the medium of the crystal's transmissions.
                       (unattributed blurb, 1986 edition, The Figures)


I began to rise but I could not leave.
Beginning to see, one leaves the world. Taking it
up again and again until the sheets are dark.
An inlet of the sea sharded with sails. The sun
coming up over a blinking multitude, specialty humans
provided for this purpose alone. I am the one who
stays up to see that they do not leave.
Cardboard hinterlands of the drained liquid trace.
Grey distances of chimney and low neighborhood.
Wet snap.
  (85)


As luck would have it the sun was charring
the fiberglass tufts in the yard even from such a great distance.
A granite shithouse exploded in a cloud of bee odor.
The very earth was tacked to my wall, a ball of
limpid snails. Glass, blown firm, and then the
waterfall in the photograph it reminds me of.
Prose does not care about sharps and flats. It
continues to accumulate in the straightest of language
keys. I put back on my cap, it says. I lost my things
in the race for the car, it says. I am
not interested in the language of my past (my trail),
it says. It says these things and then loses
my interest. Two blanks, curling in the same sun.
  (87)


Awakened by a bang
or sudden rent of room
a collision of the thinking with
where the thought is not
or negative moon spot
or release of the chimney from
behind the pie tin, night
and left partial, face erased
prepositions for furniture
  (115)