First there was the revelation that I did not matter.There was a kind of freedom in that.I could stand in my office above the garage,In the clutter of files and insurance bills, postits and catalogs,Thoreau’s “ton of brick,” the finallyUntranscendent,And be the simple instrumentOf necessity,Played in this minor, suburban scale.If this is enlightenment, I thought,Then it has nothing to do with simplicity,With silence, the moon suddenlyGone from the spavined bucket.It is the moment when the disciple sets out,Warned against persecution, assuredOf the pentecost,The testimony in tongues, the single–Minded speech of what will not cohere.Here is the tongue of the notebook, like blue coalRattling in a half-empty scuttle,And the broken E-string of my older son’s violinLike him, a tongue of barely contained fire.And the bank statements, impolitic, reductive,The photo album, with its babel of allegiances,The address book’s aphasiac stutter.And outside the window, what was there to trust?If I bowed my head slightly, who can blame me,Who could not translate any of thisInto any language but belief’s.—Jordan Smith, “Matter”Art Credit Jeremy Geddes

First there was the revelation that I did not matter.
There was a kind of freedom in that.
I could stand in my office above the garage,
In the clutter of files and insurance bills, postits and catalogs,
Thoreau’s “ton of brick,” the finally
Untranscendent,
And be the simple instrument
Of necessity,
Played in this minor, suburban scale.

If this is enlightenment, I thought,
Then it has nothing to do with simplicity,
With silence, the moon suddenly
Gone from the spavined bucket.
It is the moment when the disciple sets out,
Warned against persecution, assured
Of the pentecost,
The testimony in tongues, the single–
Minded speech of what will not cohere.

Here is the tongue of the notebook, like blue coal
Rattling in a half-empty scuttle,
And the broken E-string of my older son’s violin
Like him, a tongue of barely contained fire.
And the bank statements, impolitic, reductive,
The photo album, with its babel of allegiances,
The address book’s aphasiac stutter.

And outside the window, what was there to trust?

If I bowed my head slightly, who can blame me,
Who could not translate any of this
Into any language but belief’s.

Jordan Smith, “Matter”
Art Credit Jeremy Geddes

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