Distribution Automatique

Friday, December 17

It comes down to little specks of things. Even
the smallest particle of time can be crucial. Like
an accordion, life expands and contracts.

For example, a bit of a lesson might be gained in
experiencing a mistake. Such contractions and
expansions emit, over time, a considerable
amount of energy.

I wonder what the relationship is between such
tiny specks or particles of things and the constant
expansion of time which is called "forever."
Except as an idea, whatever forever is can only
be understood in relation to the tiniest portion
of time.

"Anything might be transformative if you would
only allow yourself to complete it." He had come
to distrust any kind of explanation. Or is that a way
to talk about what you might talk about
in everyday conversation.

For example, some sentences may be incomplete,
in verbal terms. But the nuances of a person's gestures
and tone of voice- not to speak of years or
even decades of exchange...

Always, some things are too much to say,
or too little. Then, more and more things are
too much to say or too little.

The glances may become embarassing. More and
more, and eventually you turn to your violin.

You take your violin in your hands and play it.
As you play it, you're creating the melody. You've
put on a tape recorder. Unbelievably, you realize
as you are playing that you are actually creating
music. As a result, later, when you put it down,
you suspect very strongly that you'll come back
to it.

As you are playing, you realize that the opening
chords were very important. You go back and
listen to them. You go on your way after them,
but now and then you come back to them.

To know how to do something is to know
what the constituants of the doing might
be. There might be many different kinds of
steps, but there will always be steps.

Sometimes there is an apprehension that
precedes the steps. The step is visualized,
imagined, and anxiety creeps in. On some
level, however slightly, danger has been
realized, or rather, recognized. there might
be hardly any expectable order in the
events that precede the steps.


The piece we listened to this afternoon
is the type we may call expansive, or
ever-expanding. Constantly pushing on,
but calmly, the oboe guides the violins
to places where they did not expect
to go. By means of a kind of gentle
layering, or playful challenging, the violins.
those so sweetly sighing sopranoes, echo
or announce their companions, the
woodwinds. The ending leads to
nothing more astonishing, or tragic,
than a nap. But such a lyrical, seductive
flight, that all memories and words have
vanished, both happy and said. (Debussy's
Prelude, on the radio, the second hello
from him today).

Notebook: 8/8/98
Saturday, Dec 18


Fall / Winter 2004
$5 admission goes to support the readers

Jesse Seldess lives in Chicago, where he edits Antennae magazine, co-curates the Discrete Reading Series (www.lavamatic.com/discrete) and works in social services for the elderly. Recent poems have appeared or are soon to appear in Crayon, Conundrum, Kiosk, Traverse, Kenning, and First Intensity. Jesse's chapbook, Who Opens, was recently printed by Milwaukee's Bronze Skull Press. Jena Osman's most recent book of poetry is An Essay in Asterisks, published by Roof Books. Her previous book The Character was published by Beacon Press. She co-edits the journal Chain with Juliana Spahr and directs the Creative Writing Program at Temple University.