Wednesday, January 12

other world

There's a William Carlos Williams poem in which a man stops his car, lets his children off at school, then drives to where the road ends and from there walks down to the edge of the river. Even in the city there still is some mud, and there still are some flowers growing in the mud, and some weeds are still down by the river. He knows the names of the flowers by heart, and for him to see those flowers growing in the mud takes him outside of what he normally calls himself. There are no windows down by the river, he doesn't look through any window, but there is a membrane there, stretched between his ordinary world which is known, and another world. When he crouches down and touches the white petal of a flower with his fingertip, he enters that other world.

Then, like a curtain pulled aside, a sound -- say a honking -- wakes him and he turns around, walks back to his car and drives away from the river. But not away from the other world. He thinks he's left the other world but the other world has come with him, and in fact if he would look in the passenger seat he would see it. But he's driving now.

-- John Haskell "Marguerite's Cat" in Ninth Letter 1:2