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Dove Creek

A woman's journey of self-discovery from her Kentucky origins to nurse and healer on a Northwest Indian reservation

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EVELYN HAMPTON :: PRESENCE IN “I GO TO SOME HOLLOW” BY AMINA CAIN

***

I have been reading about how scientists explain where in the brain we process language. They watch lines cross screens. The lines are limits of the brain's ability to represent the brain. The screens are the dark shapes you imagine.

Words in the brain look like electric chains unfurling across the screen. They are in a horizontal breeze. It is a wintry scene—

wind bends back the dune grass—

I am alone at the beach for a week. I don't remember why I came. I've brought only one book to read, I Go To Some Hollow, by Amina Cain.

Someone has written, "Poetry is situated upon the central question of our civilization—how do we know when a person is present?"*

I Go To Some Hollow asks, through me, a similar question: How do we know where a person ends and something else begins?

During winter the beach is not the same. I'm not sure when it's day—I think the light is green. The water could be any rough dream. The cabin shakes the inside of the dream. 

What I like about why I came—I am alone except for a bird that mimics the brain at a moment of realization. It is finding all these updrafts and I don't know birds, I can't call it by a name, so I think of it as Brain.

Now it's dark and I can't see Brain. I really am alone, and this is why I came. This place has Desolation in its name.

Inside the cabin, the book holds itself open while I dry my hands. It's the moisture in the air inhered in the fibers of the pages. The book behaves like a living thing. Within me, words behave just like Brain, caught in an updraft it would be silly to try to explain.

Ordinarily I am not so interested in birds—in the city I hardly notice them, except once, at night, I couldn't sleep. I biked beneath trees at 4am and I could hear each nest in each tree as I passed beneath. I thought, If I was a blind insomniac, I could navigate home by nests.

I Go To Some Hollow turns its page.

At night, sexuality is different than during the day. I read about asexuality in the first story, "Black Wings." For me the wings are the silence that a statue brings. The statue takes up the space where my body could be, and there isn't any way to make it give me anything. I can't have sex with a statue or black wings. Yet there can be a correspondence—the space takes my body in a different way through space. 

When my mind treats my body like any object, I can more easily inhabit things. Not every space inside a statue is hollow. The place where the back of the chair touches the seat, that crease, is sensual. The simple lines someone has thought to build into things—I want the lines more than the person or the things. Inhabiting objects is preferable to wanting objects, to being their slave. I  walk through walls inhabited by doorways.

This book is wider than its lines. It goes away into space. I see it on a clear day when I don't expect to see the moon. 

Brain is doing something I don't want to explain.

When I leave the beach, I pack all of the space the book contains into a Rubbermaid. It is so heavy I have to drag it. I drag the book into the water. This might disrupt the tide.

What the book displaces is not proportional to its name. 

I watch the water rise. I can feel where I become water as a constantly shifting line. 

On a scientist's screen, that line means I am reading.

[ *Allen Grossman, in The Sighted Singer ]

Copyright (c) by Evelyn Hampton

Amina Memory Cain, I Go To Some Hollow, Les Figues Press, 2009.

 

 

 

piątek, 05 marca 2010, themerson

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