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Ocean of Discontent - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Ocean of Discontent
On my way down the stairs
I stop to feel the boards
that spring back, wobbling
with regret. I've been here
many times, each visit bringing
me to the same spot, each time
a little farther than before.

Or is it just my imagination
running away from me?
Tonight the tide is high
and I'm holding on
to this awkward ledge
with muscles I didn't know
I'd ever have to use, just to
write this message on my
phone, blot out the emptiness

with its glow. When I first sat
on the rock, I looked out at
the sound of waves getting
too close and thought that
there weren't enough pixels

in my mind to turn the vast
gray noise into something
worth remembering. Only
the one light on the water
made the spectacle bearable.

But I drowned it anyway
with this light in my hands.
Sometimes I lift my eyes
to see the rectangle blur out

over the breakers, leaving a
blank to hover in their wake.
The water is almost at my feet
now, I hear the little rocks
make the sound of popcorn

right before it's ready. It's time
to go back, though I could
stay until there was nothing
left but a piece of useless
plastic, buried in the sand.

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2 comments or Leave a comment
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: June 3rd, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I always love reading your poetry. I love poetry. But then I don't know what to say. I'm sleep-deprived today, which is part of it, but I've read this through several times and each time the feeling of Sebald gets stronger and stronger. And yet he is utterly re-voiced if he is here at all. This is not his language. If anything, I suppose what I mean is that the images this calls to mind call to mind his--his Rings of Saturn especially comes into conjunction with this for me. I mean that in a good way...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 8th, 2010 07:13 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Rings of Saturn has been in on my mind a lot lately, particularly the way Sebald consistently evokes the concerns and attitude of Benjamin without ever mentioning him by name.

It's a situation akin to the one the Foucault experienced in being interviewed by Italian radicals in the early 70s, the fruit of which encounter we know in English as Semiotext(e)'s Remarks on Marx. They ask him why he never mentions Marx in his work. He replies that anyone who has read Marx with care will know that he is everywhere in his own work.

All of which is a very roundabout way of saying that something in me was thinking of Rings of Saturn and Benjamin's meditation on the same topic, even though I was doing my very best to write a poem in "real time", without really pausing to reflect.

Anyway, thanks so much for your comment, which I am belatedly but enthusiastically acknowledging with this excessively long one of my own.
2 comments or Leave a comment