Water, Earth, Sky – #21

July 29

1. The wave drew back again, eroding the sand from under my feet, making a space for me to fall into, a barely noticeable fall.

2. I woke up and listened to the waves the full moon pulled toward me and I watched the horizon in the blue-dark and saw lines of shadows coming.

3. I woke up thinking about tsunamis and watched the horizon.

4. I woke up and went to the glass door and stood there naked looking out, trying to see if the horizon was rising. I measured it against a branch of the Tamarind tree.

5. I woke up and watched the sun-rise and the moon-set. The horizon didn’t change.

6. I think this series on the horizon is not interesting because I’m not connecting it to anything. In poetry workshops, 3 decades ago now, Stanley Plumly extolled the importance of an objective correlative that could intensify the poem’s subject, an object to act as a complex metaphor that would shape and expand our understanding of a story. I have an objective correlative but no story.

7. I read to you these small observations – of my middle-of-the-night anxiety projected onto horizon lines – after the earthquake that killed more than 10 and less than 20, injured over a hundred. I felt it as it started and went on and got worse and I woke you up and the roof started to crack and shudder and I was out of bed, frantic to get my clothes on, and thinking it was stupid to risk death to protect others from my nakedness, and people started yelling and children cried and I imagined the roof tiles falling, the roof collapsing, and was about to run out when it all stopped. You had earplugs in and didn’t hear the roof crack and flex or the people yelling or the children crying. You didn’t feel it when it started and got worse and went on. You held me, maybe thinking I was overreacting.
And it happened again and then again, maybe again, but none like the first and the roof didn’t crack and flex again but I was still out of bed every time, grabbing my clothes.
I decided my animal brain felt something deep in the earth, knew things were shifting, but fixated on tsunamis because the ocean was before us percussing, dragged to land by the moon.

8. I read you these small observations of horizon lines and you looked sad.

9. I asked you about it later: did my observations make you sad because you thought they were about him? You answered – of course they were about him – which made me angry.

11. You knew that I felt the horizon line in one of his photographs was a speech-act. I didn’t hide that. I wrote about it.
I had sent him two versions of the same picture of a black beach. Beach and beach-sky are not a natural subject for me. But I knew he would have found something sublime there. So I took a picture I would never have taken but which I thought he would take: my first visual speech act.

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In the edited version of the image I tried to channel his eye.

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I darkened the sky, focused attention on the clouds, accentuating their compositional mirroring in relation to the meander of the river entering the ocean: my second visual speech act. I commented, when I sent it, that I felt the second was more like him and he admitted it was.
I wrote that I was trying to learn something about clouds from him but that he would not have had the horizon line aslant. He wrote “as above, so below,” but said nothing about horizon lines.
Then, amidst a series about volcanoes and glaciers, he posted a picture of a beach, the horizon line just barely aslant. I interpreted his public photo of a beach almost imperceptibly aslant to be a response to my private one, though I don’t know that it was. I left a comment that the horizon line was aslant because I thought we were in conversation, that he was channeling me channeling him. That exchange of two photos, if it was an exchange, does not mean all other horizon lines, in all contexts beyond photos – fear of tsunamis, thrill at the moon-impelled tide – are about him.

12. Sometimes a horizon line – actual or described – is a horizon line just as sometimes salt is salt, not a love-gift, not a ground for expression of attachment or a misunderstanding intention.

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