from My Life by Lyn Hejinian

Back and backward, why, wide and
wider. Such that art is inseparable
from the search for reality. The
continent is greater than the content.
A river nets the peninsula. The
garden rooster goes through the
goldenrod. I watched a robin
worming its way on the ridge, time on the uneven light ledge.
There as in that's their truck there. Where it rested in the
weather there it rusted. As one would say, my friends, meaning
no possession, and don't harm my trees. Marigolds,
nasturtiums, snapdragons, sweet William, forget-me-nots,
replaced by chard, tomatoes, lettuce, garlic, peas, beans, carrots,
radishes–but marigolds. The hum hurts. Still, I felt intuitively that
this which was incomprehensible was expectant,
increasing, was good. The greatest thrill was to be the one to
"tell." All rivers' left banks remind me of Paris, not to see or
sit upon but to hear spoken of. Cheese makes one thirsty but
onions make a worse thirst. The Spanish make a little question
frame. In the case, propped on a stand so as to beckon,
was the hairy finger of St. Cecilia, covered with rings. The
old dress is worn out, torn up, dumped. Erasures could not
serve better authenticity. The years pass, years in which, I
take it, events were not lacking. There are more colors in the
great rose window of Chartres than in the rose. Beside a
body, not a piece, of water. Serpentine is fool's jade. It is on a
dressed stone. The previousness of plants in prior color–no
dream can come up to the original, which in the common
daylight is voluminous. Yet he insisted that his life had been full of
happy chance, that he was luck's child. As a matter-of fact, quite the
obverse. After a 9-to-5 job he got to just go home. Do you have a
compulsion to work and then did you have a good time. Now it is one
o'clock on the dot, but that is only a coincidence and it has a bad name.
Patriots drive larger cars. At the time the perpetual Latin of love kept
things hidden. We might be late to the movies but always early for the
kids. The women at the parents' meeting must wear rings, for continuity.
More sheep than sleep. Paul was telling me a plot which involved time
travel, I asked, "How do they go into the future?" and he answered, "What
do you mean?–they wait and the future comes to them–of course!" so the
problem was going into the past. I think my interests are much broader
than those of people who have been saying the same thing for eight years,
or so he said. Has the baby enough teeth for an apple. Juggle, jungle,
chuckle. The hummingbird, for all we know, may be singing all day long. We
had been in France where every word really was a bird, a thing singing. I
laugh as if my pots were clean. The apple in the pie is the pie. An
extremely pleasant and often comic satisfaction comes from conjunction,
the fit, say, of comprehension in a reader's mind to content in a writer's
work. But not bitter.

by Lyn Heijinian
excerpted from My Life

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