Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Unpolished And Uncut Stones From “Rocks On Rocks” – #1

People grow up in places.
Places grow up, too, in their place.

Chicago grew up next to a big lake.
Lake Michigan. Named

from an Indian phrase
meaning “a very big lake,” this lake

provides Chicago with
an unbroken eastern horizon.

That flat, green-blue horizon
(sometimes touched by white – waves or clouds)

offers an infinity of escapes
to Chicagoans.

And drinking water.
Growing up next to a useful distance

so great creates overhangs
and protrusions – growth out into

the space and the open spaces
brought on by all that distance.


Overhangs and protrusions.
Space and open spaces. The lake

and the city. This place
and these people in it. Life and death.


Overhangs and protrusions.
My mind into reality.

Reality into my mind.
My raised-Chicagoan mind.

The minds of all raised-Chicagoans
with the lake always east.

Lake Michigan, that “very big lake,”
that useful distance, east.

Space and open spaces.
Distance. Overhands and protrusions.


I stand looking out
my apartment window fifteen stories

up and facing east. Outside, moving east,
buildings as tall or

taller rise high between my eyes
and Lake Michigan. Between

these tall buildings – seventeen stories here,
twenty, fifteen and

twelve nearer the lake – smaller buildings
of one, two or three floors

make up the low middle ground
between the height and the sidewalk

and street and small lawn ground.
Staggered north and south by blocks, these tall

buildings lead to the lake
with two and three blocks between them. My

building, measured straight,
measures six blocks from the water. Eastward,

I see space
between these buildings – open space over the lake.

This dichotomy of space
seduces me and defies me.

A thing protruding
into an open space creates spaces.

Space in front and space behind
and space above and space below,

in every direction, every which way.
Space to think about.

Space to think about, talk about,
make all kinds of fuss about.

Space to judge near, big, crowded, wet,
cold, light, quiet or perfumed.

Space to judge far, small, empty, dry,
hot, dark, loud or odorless.

But open space, a wilder thing all together,
defies thought.

A cloudless sky straight up.
Waves on water to the horizon.

Unresolvable stars
against the blackness surrounding them.

Open space encompasses too much thinking,
too many thoughts –

far and near, empty and crowded,
hot and cold, loud and quiet.

This: The comprehensible
set against the overwhelming.

Me, say, moving among
all the people moving around me.

My thinking
set against the thinking of everybody else.

Any one person
overhung into the mass of others.

For that matter, any thought
held against a day of thinking.

A desire
within a body and mind bloody with passion.

Space and open spaces
and consciousness and everything else.

* * *

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