Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In an earlier post I wrote:

"For decades I've assumed a 'continuous present.'  Now I wonder if the present exists.  Isn't, for example, every utterance always already in the past?  (I owe this insight to Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vasquez.)"

Eileen Tabios emailed this poem in response:

"The present is thin
as thin as action
when action's completion
transforms present
to past
Thin for the act
can occur (thus
be completed) in phases
which can be so thin
they are invisible
but still exist
So thin it might
feel imagined
The thinness of
the present--
another reason
to treasure
or fear
in any event, respect
the past
The past is thick"

I was moved by Eileen's quick and eloquent response.  

The idea that time happens in phases or layers makes sense to me.  

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to Eric Fischl's paintings.  Early on he did works on glassine sheets that he piled up to create composite images.  I haven't seen any of these pieces except through reproductions, but the idea of them has become a kind of obsession for me.

Experience is a kind of ghostly aggregate, isn't it?

I don't have a goal when I'm writing except to pile things up in a way that bleeds back into what came before.

"The past is thick," indeed.

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