Exhibits in the ‘The Patient Dead’ Gallery

It hangs on a surface that once was a wall. Though neither penetration nor removal has reconfigured said wall’s defining and/or obstructive, mural function. But inordinate action has fused with structural fact; and multiple encrustations have covered the matter so thoroughly that “wall,” no longer seem the cypher of any locus.

The patient wall, a patient no more. The dead lie in infinite stasis. Remains, waits. A single medical object, and permanently so. But here is the calling of an ever-enlarging class-insects, large white birds, a magic spoon, persons resolved to circumstance-patient(s) all. The dead drawn in and gathered to the purity of a timeless expectation.

Something nevertheless unclean surmounted by an exactitude that renders the oily, old garage smells, hammered things and burned ones, things spotted, stained, annealed, illumined, gold drops incised on a mangled black tooth; button eyes glazed with a wrinkled bauble; over the upper edge, a thought that brooks no articulation, no consequence, no resonance. No denial. Renders them beautiful.

I am here that I am here. A metal slab. Bolted to the general surface, with an eye, that resists the devastation of its separation from…lug nuts with ocular capacity; and how is the eye annealed to the small slab, flesh merging with flesh where no flesh can be. And in the eye, crumpled paper holding form issuing image faces of agony.

Or is it a form of reason that has died; but lift your head: the eagle having vanished up through the sky light, its trace but a screech in an aura; the sense that a “portion of genius” has just flown by.

The halls of the dead wait for no one, that is, they wait for all. And underwrite the floor of all anticipation, all crisp release. Echo a primary hollow, a false rejoinder to an old proposition, one that has lost its primacy and wanders just outside the brackets that restrain it. I am going to go to sleep now. I am going to take a walk, in the region where firstness forbids its own iteration. I will find the broken dolls and green propinquities from which to recover these mysteries. I do not say this.

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Charles Stein, Cambridge, MA, 03.07.08


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