Saturday, April 28, 2012

On the Illusion of Impermanence : The Wooden Overcoat


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This is an amazing piece because, in my opinion, it explains in perfect and illicit detail why difference in perspectives is one of the most beautiful things we have in our cognitive collective. That we each have our own way of looking at people and objects and moments - -  that gives these otherwise impermanent things the grace of eternity.

If  the vision and the purpose of a thing or a person is multifaceted, then it's description becomes nearly infinite. Everything gets not only it's own personal soul, but a soul made up of collective conscience. If the next life lasts forever, then, this one has its own means of continence.

Everything on this Earth will last as long as thought exists - as long as time. And if these passing lives  take memory and thought with them into Eternity, then these things - these moments, these thoughts, these things without a pulse, but very much full of life - these things will go on.


The more I think about it, the more I believe the idea that ephemera is the only thing that isn't all together there. It shouldn't make sense that impermanence is the only thing that can be touched, yet never exits. But I guess on some level it does make sense. We leave behind a wooden overcoat that holds more than we can ever know. . . an entire universe parallel to any plane that ever existed.
Who knows, maybe you got something entirely different from the piece below, and if you did, I would love to hear it . . . I yearn for the ideas of others, no matter how different, so please, share!
And now. . .

The Wooden Overcoat, by Rick Barot

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It turns out there’s a difference between a detail
and an image. If the dandelion on the sidewalk is
mere detail, the dandelion inked on a friend’s bicep
is an image because it moves when her body does,

even when a shirt covers the little thorny black sun
on a thin stalk. The same way that the bar code
on the back of another friend’s neck is just a detail,
until you hear that the row of numbers underneath

are the numbers his grandfather got on his arm
in a camp in Poland. Then it’s an image, something
activated in the reader’s senses beyond mere fact.
I know the difference doesn’t matter, except in poetry,

where a coffin is just another coffin until someone
at a funeral calls it a wooden overcoat, an image
so heavy and warm at the same time that you forget
it’s about death. At my uncle’s funeral, the coffin

was so beautiful it was like the chandelier lighting
the room where treaties are signed. It made me think
of how loved he was. It made me think of Shoshone
funerals, where everything the dead person owned

was put into a bonfire, even the horse. In that last
sentence, is the horse a detail or an image? I don’t
really know. In my mind, a horse is never anywhere
near a fire, and a detail is as luminous as an image.

The trumpet vine on the sagging fence. The clothes
in the fire. And each tattoo that I touch on your back:
the three-part illustration of how to use chopsticks,
National Poetry Month #28
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