March 18, 2008




On the under-mothered world in crisis,

the omens agree. A Come here                        follows for reader & hero through

the named winds as spirits are

lifted through ragged colorful o's on          butterflies called fritillaries, tortoise shells &

blues till their vacation settles under

the vein of an aspen leaf                                  like a compass needle stopped in

an avalanche. The students are moving.

You look outside the classroom where      construction trucks find little troys. Dust

rises: part pagan, part looping. Try

to describe the world, you tell                    thembut what is a description?

For centuries people carried the epic

inside themselves. (Past the old weather    stripping, a breeze is making some

6th-vowel sounds yyyyyy that will side

with you on the subject of syntax               as into the word wind they

go. A flicker passes by: air

let out of a corvette tire.)                            Side stories leaked into the epic,

told by its lover, the world.

The line structure changed. Voices grew    to the right of all that.

The epic is carried into school

then to scooped-out chairs. Scratchy holes in acoustic tiles pull whwhoo~~ from

paperbacks. There's a type of thought

between trance & logic where teachers      rest & the mistake you make

when you're tired is not breathing.

The class is shuffling, something an          island drink might cure or a

citrus goddess. They were mostly raised

in tanklike SUVs called Caravan or           Quest; winds rarely visited them. Their

President says global warming doesn't exist.

Some winds seem warmer here. Seme.      Warriors are extra light, perhaps from

ponies galloping across the plains.       

Iphigenia waits for winds to start.                  

Winds stowed in goatskins were meant      to be released by wise men:

gusts & siroccos, chinooks, hamsins, whooshes,

blisses, katabatics, Santa Anas, & foehns.  Egyptian birds were thought to be

impregnated by winds. The Chinese god

of wind has a red- &-blue cap                    like a Red Sox fan. Students

dislike even thinking about Agamemnon. You

love the human species when you                 see them, even when they load

their backpacks early & check the

tiny screens imbedded in their phones.      A pony-tail holder switches with light,

beguiled. Iphigenia waits for the good.

Calphas & her father have mistaken the     forms of air: Zephyr, Boreas, Eurus

the grouchy east breeze & Notos

bringer of rains. Maybe she can                  see bones in the butterfly wings

before they invent the x-ray. Her

father could have removed the sails            and rowed to Troy. Nothing makes

sense in war, you say. Throw

away the hunger & the war's           all gone. There's a section between

between the joy & terror                   

where the sailors know they shouldn't         open the sack of winds. It

gives the gods more credit. An                 

oracle is just another nature. There's           a space between the two beeps

of the dump truck where the                    

voice can rest. Their vowels join                 the names of winds in the

acoustic tiles. A rabbit flies across             

the field with zephyr right behind.              Wind comes when warm air descends.

The imagined comes from the imagined.                                           



—Brenda Hillman


Pieces of Air in the Epic, Wesleyan U.P. 2005

Posted by dwaber at March 18, 2008 01:35 PM