Reading The Blue Clerk, 119

“Verso 32.2”

What if you refuse the but? And, having refused the but, what becomes available? Also, what babies do you throw away? And whose babies? Don’t throw away the baby with the bathwater, they say. As though we did not watch Omen.

You know the but: “owned slaves, but”; “governed colonial territories, but”; “raped and plundered, but”; “wrote us as negation, but.” To rewrite the poet: who would you have to be to sit in that but? To take that but as the ground strong enough to escape your negation?

I am a soft-hearted person. I cannot get past this.

You see, when they have asked for my method, they have wanted to hear the accumulation of but that permits me to sit in negation. Have I sat with negation? Of course. I was trained. That is training: to sit in negation. (I saw a young person who I think wants freedom desiring to sit in this negation, imagining that their will and genius would permit them to transcend the damage. I wish them well. I fear for them.)

All and any interpretive strategies are of no use to me.

I have been asked to sit with the people who have sat in that negation, and I cannot understand what they say, the sentences they form, the paragraphs they unwind, their choreography to sit in and with the negation. It is rewarded. Acclaimed genius. And I sigh.

Perhaps. To sit with something else. An opacity grounded elsewhere, and opaque because grounded elsewhere. I’m not always sure where. But there is an elsewhere:elsewhen, and when I listen closely, I get brief glimpses. Call this how the senses entangle.

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