Following the Blueprint

When my father died, I took photos from his wallet, among which, one of his dead sister.

I heard him

say it

not once 

but twice:


we are all



not in these words


That snapshot

A girl's sailor suit

Posing in a cardboard stall

On a boardwalk in Coney Island talking to a hand

Dressed as a puppet

I had carried it since his death--

A picture of a sister, now

Somewhere under Pittsburgh

Zeta, my father's sister.

He thought

he saw

Julian Jaynes 

at the outpost 



Why are you...

-a little girl conversing with a hand

-just as dead as weight to a Galileo

-in cornerstone cited for demolition

da Vinci spent 20 years somewhere I'm told

and accomplished nothing




it's simpler: 






Were you buried in that suit with your

Diseased lungs

You weren't even smiling yet your brother

Always talked of buying a stone

The puppet is not the painted hand

The stall is gone

da Vinci carried off the Mona Lisa to France

The brother carried the face with him then I with me

If it moves it's alive!

If it moves shoot it!

If it moves eat it!

If it moves

I am never asked these days about art. But if I were, I would speak: Each artisan worth his salt should have a vision of what is to come and a better working knowledge of what has been. So in the artisan, a certain ability to set stage, juxtapose those things primary, prepare a facility, find the answer to the critical. But above all a personal anger, which, if worthy, become an beacon to the soul.








A vision of puppets is not enough

but knowing which paradigm 

one is currently lavishing is of more value

I would not ask if the hand is alive or no 

but rather 

why do I think that it is not


Olson says: It is space.

I say: It is velocity.

Thales says: Know thyself.

I say: Careful of the industrial norm.

Aristotle says: It's alive.

I know: The world is not complex.




And where does an artisan set his bearings, ahead or behind? If I were learning quickly, very quickly, I would take bearing

 on what is rapidly receding, grow splendid in the longer recurrences, and discard prudently. 


And the post-moderns? They are not talking to the hand. They know only raiment. We have been in the grip of the Phoebus

 for ninety or more years. It  is too long. Even for the intellectual: that little indiscretion, that sidestep, then that wild

 momentary gallop for the girl. And that monotonous prick couldn't quite do it;, when he found a couple a raunchy ones

 and set 'em on the crack in Delphi to smell rotten eggs.... we all realized from then on it would be like tossing coins.


...and so what is to be said about post-modernism and its long  awaited demise?


I say we can no longer:

be cynical and whimsical;

view the world as contradictory,

complex, or chaotic;

seek a new allegiance with nature;

assume the role of sophisticate;

crave the public coffers;

transform the commonplace with ulterior imagination;

confuse the novel with the dernier cri;

read them;

quote them;

believe them.

time dilation==> slower decay==> elixir of life==>

mind for technology==> standard operating procedure==>

polyps==> monads==> toids==> turds==>

and fractals: in love with a designer measurement?


So what's wrong with the white lines on this blue field? Where I trace her through its grid, waiting to be excavated? I got the blueprint and it's mine. I'll resurrect the subjunctive case, the passive voice; and, maybe I'll add a room at the back.


My favorite mistress?

The one who on her own occasion

crawls up my throat

to my anterior commissure

where she shouts from a bridge she cannot cross?

This city is new! This city gleams! She has her tomb!


and so....

am I by default that diseased girl

who would return to the painted hand

when the folk of her history begin

to ready themselves for that great Diaspora.


...and this the hand could sign:

there will be few

who maneuver amid jetsam,

and then leave

like Dionysus or Mr. J. Appleseed

to rename metropoles.

from Drei Gesänge-
Kaselsl, spring 1997

©syprian harvey