tenuous connection (from “Helmets”)

I turn my attentions to the work James Dickey was most prolific at, so as to distract myself from the dog-ears that stretch back some two-hundred pages:

The Poisoned Man

When the rattlesnake bit, I lay
In a dream of the country, and dreamed
Day after day of the river,

Where I sat with a jackknife and quickly
Opened my sole to the water.
Blood shed for the sake of one’s life

Takes on the hid shape of the channel,
Disappearing under logs and through boulders.
The freezing river poured on

And, as it took hold of my blood,
Leapt up round the rocks and boiled over.
I felt that my heart’s blood could flow

Unendingly out of the mountain,
Splitting bedrock apart upon redness
And the current of life at my instep

Give deathlessly as a spring
Some leaves fell from trees and whirled under.
I saw my struck bloodstream assume,

Inside the cold path of the river,
The inmost routes of a serpent
Through grass, through branches and leaves.

When I rose, the live oaks were ashen
And the wild grass was dead without flame.
Through the blasted cornfield I hobbled,

My foot tied up in my shirt,
And met my old wife in the garden,
Where she reached for a withering apple.

I lay in the country and dreamed
Of the substance and course of the river
While the different colors of fever

Like quilt patches flickered upon me.
At last I arose, with the poison
Gone out of the seam of the scar,

And brought my wife eastward and weeping,
Through the copper fields springing alive
With the promise of harvest for no one.

In Alnilam, there is no economy. The man will tell his story, and with it you will receive the mood, and you will not forget this mood because he will not allow it. As such, a lot of the dwellings on Cahill’s thoughts as he reacts (or fails to react) to this or that can seem redundant, though they are individually terse. It’s a 768-page meditation and it will not sacrifice this quality to narrative, to pace. It’s compelling, but slow, and it can be nice to dip into some of the man’s poetry now and again, to savor his writing in a bite-sized chunk, without any anxiousness about how slow this train is going.

In other news (speaking of folding knives?): look at this goddamn knife.



~ by ironcupshrug on 02/16/2010.

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