Monday, November 30, 2009

Charles Freeland, "Units of Measurement"

Charles Freeland

Reducible to Units of Measurement

The levee stretches halfway to Albertson, a town I remember from childhood when we used to invent towns in our conversation. And then endeavor to make them real by drawing them on pieces of paper. I concentrated on the packing district, sure that some day I would quit school and wind up there. Like the uncle I was also forced to invent through the strictness of the rules. Sometimes we acknowledge what we have until that time steadfastly ignored – as if changing direction might allow us to free ourselves from the grip of fear. Or small-mindedness. But there are suits of armor in the hallway and you can’t just wish them away. They have to be dealt with in a practical manner. The same as those mummies you saw in a case once in the museum in St. Louis. You kept asking whether they were important personages wrapped up and stowed away for millennia. Even the placards refused to tell the whole story. The cobb salad did not end up causing you the distress you suspected at first it might. But no matter how frequently you expressed this and other fears to the patrons who accompanied you through the hallways, no one seemed to believe a word you said.

It’s like there are two layers of discourse at all times – one associated with the surface of things where we move about quite comfortably. And another associated with that which is hidden or underneath (depending on your perspective; depending on, for example, your age or your height relative to those who constructed the buildings in the first place). This is, finally, an illusion. Much like that which occurs when warm air gets trapped under a layer of colder air and all sorts of human figures seem to dance around beneath the trees that line the horizon.

Charles Freeland lives in Dayton, Ohio. The recipient of an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, he is the author of two collections of poetry, Through the Funeral Mountains on a Burro (Otoliths Books) and Grubb (BlazeVOX), as well as several chapbooks: Eulalie & Squid (Chippens Press), Furiant, Not Polka (Moria), and The Case of the Danish King Halfdene (Mudlark). His website is The Fossil Record (www.charlesfreelandpoetry.net) and his blog is Spring Cleaning in the Labyrinth of the Continuum (www.charlesfreeland.blogspot.com).

RECONFIGURATIONS: A Journal for Poetics & Poetry / Literature & Culture, http://reconfigurations.blogspot.com/, ISSN: 1938-3592, Volume Three (2009): Immanence/ Imminence

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