Prose Sonata In G-Flat

Music is a dimension of memory and mode. The notion that certain effects of music are so much like feelings that we mistake them for flashlights is illuminating. Imagine enamel. Impersonate yeast. Music baked in solitude appeases the pain of romance. It awakens the soul. It is a raft of sound floating in the air like a fact cracked into pine.
     Music articulates the forms that language cannot set forth, like slowly getting into a hot bath, or feeling the current of a river pull against your legs.
     Music is an essence of scale. It is a graduation of treasures beyond the world.
Music is the water lapping the sand of foreign shores, chromatic tones touching the ivory of incorporeal dominions. Blocks of sound gliding up and down. Hammers pounding pandemonium on string.
    Words scar the air like a reptile immersed in Mozart. Skin heaving tongues of wet trembling sound. 
    A piece of music can embody a feeling a debut of doubt a triumph of will a man sitting at a table pondering a fragrance.
    Space hemorrhaging thunder. Snow somersaulting in a glass wound. Shakespeare crackling with sonnets. Being and nothingness mingled in dots.
    Music is made by instruments, oboes, pianos, violins, and clarinets. The world of sound is constructed with percussion and tone, melody and bone. Thelonius Monk leaning into a keyboard to draw sounds out of rosewood and contiguity.
    The native hue of resolution is immaterial. Perceptions render the world accessible to thought. Top hats and chandeliers. Jets and blackberries. The savor of fugitive phenomena. The play of fingers on a keyboard. A nuance percolating through stone. A cobweb floating in a borderland between keys.
    The shadows between notes widen with undulation. The lights and shadows between notes trace implications of a space haunted by portent and otherworldly phenomena. The cold edge of the abyss. Impressionist paintings on the walls. Meaning is thick when it spills an emotion. Piccolos, pianos, drums. Violins creating elusive effects. In such instances we are being led by the ears towards a knowledge of the human heart. Ermine and art. Energy and stars.
    The play of lights and shadows deepen a consonant twisted to sound like quartz. A watercolor fantasia welcomes the interval of a perfect fifth. There is no single emotion that cannot be splattered with flutes.
    The life of a pin or a mood rippling with vespers deepens the hyacinths reflected on the surface of a pond. The pop and crackle of a fire in a stone hearth walks the walls between notes. Saturn’s rings provides the raw material of sound pulse of an inner spirit not one but many human emotions harps and the human voice ribs, blood, heart, spleen, bladder, bones, muscles, circulation light prismatically broken into separate colors those quiet browns in a painting by Rembrandt art is not a material place but a non-place stars trembled by the handshake of gravity a veiled blending of hues a sound sliding down a closet door.
    Music comes from the body the blaze of white in new fallen snow daylight nailed to a nerve circumnavigation of the tonal globe in an invisible realm. A G-flat descending to F elucidates a photograph of deer. Evanescent harmonies breathe a blend of emotions into an otherworldly domain vapor dangled in knots flutes and clarinets in the dark lower register. A box of laundry detergent vivified at noon by a ray of sunlight.
    Humanism means headlights, the crucial ingredients of a conviction. There is a music for that, too, and it comes from the din of traffic, cantatas of gas and combustion.
    But there are worlds not so immediate as ours. Not so decisive as a sidewalk. A school of smelt just below the surface of the sound of a sound surrenders the invisible made visible to the ears gravity and ointment violins in their lustrous upper range a railroad redeemed by melody the give in a trampoline a thesis of light in search of a prism a sonata crowded with meaning the heart teeming with feeling.
    A music born of words is like an earthquake folded into a harp a raw tone of nervous beauty copper pipes zinc counters a stretch of air ribboned with larks the muscle of proposition lifting a volume of tints and crickets.
    Characters in Proust are unzipped by music a cymbal brushed with drumsticks arouses the smell of popcorn in a movie theatre busy words huddled in ink shapes shells columns vaults a gladiator entering the ring embossed wings on a Roman shield. 
    A realism consistent with horses gravity described by carrots might be twisted into winter. Thus music has fulfilled its mission whenever the voice pours out of the head in gleaming overtures of pitch and portulaca.
    The writer as musician the painter as a phantom amid a uniform gray a shape taking form in the light the diffusion of tints in the cream of clarinets. The baroque organ had a transparent tone that was oftentimes absorbed in angora. Preludes, nocturnes, arabesques. Feelings are genuine it is words that sometimes fail us. The biography of a crowbar explains the failure of the human face to topple the tyranny of the eyebrow.
    Pain is a tool. We can use it to make contrast, history, heaviness and sauerkraut. The creaking floor of a tool shed a rubber tongue bouncing an alphabet of bees.
    A bright silver tone captures the feeling of hindsight, the mathematics of apology aching with moonlight. A leaning toward an intimate lyricism that evokes worn leather wallets and faucets, a steam radiator in an old hotel. A closet crowded with ghosts. The disorganization of vision. Down is up upside down.
    A truck parked by a diner in Oregon grips the residue of experience and gives it the tender, subtle, intimate expression of grease and oil, the mysteries of diesel and the music of gears. Insects attracted by sugar. Slammed screen doors. An ambient western charm that has allowed room for so many personalities that life assumes the calm reflections of an idle digression, an oar in the water dragging behind the stern of a small boat. Aberration in all its forms. Strange, unexpected radio stations picked up late at night while on the road. Clouds scudding past the moon. Static. Headlights. Outburst. And then, finally, that piece of music you have waited your entire life for, its sounds are so alluring, so familiar, yet so unfamiliar, haunting and glad.
    Words are tinctured with music so that we may give titles to fables, haze on West Virginia hills, the curl of leaves and flowers, a bell tinkling on a gate. A world of dream and enchantments, fountains in fonts, the clatter of tools in a toolbox.
    Space is the music of volume, a man holding a detour sign by a road crew. All around us are invisible chambers, consonant chords overlaid with dissonant intervals. A chair moved closer to a window. People in skins and helmets. Trout swimming under a branch of cedar.
    Tone combinations are French as bread, gardens in the rain, circumference jangly with bells. There results a fluid scale pattern large as all life, the clash of overtones on a piece of cardboard someone has used to paint a room multiple colors, the paint dripping and dribbling with random inevitability, like the black in Pollock’s Sea Change igniting the reds and silvers, little daubs of blue, like the rumble of a dryer accented with the occasional clicks of metal snaps and the clatter of commingled zippers.
    It’s like that. Always like that. A music not quite squeezed into the words. So that it cries for a sunrise. Rhetoric erratic as a bat.

Eternity Is Mostly Peas

A Rembrandt crock refrigerated in carnations is like a piece of thunder, a rumbling tenderloin of air, of which the jackknife is such a splendid example. Because no assignment of meaning is conventional, the aforementioned crock is a crock of chalk, subtle, complex, protean, just like the jackknife, but robust, round, and moderate to livid red.
    It is tempting to elaborate, but prudence cautions against too much caramel and quizzical propinquity. Too many similes spoiled the spacecraft.
    The rain is balanced in two respects: topcoats and badgers. Wilderness and topaz. This is why we prefer to baste our philosophy in ruins.
    Pork is a career. The very word in my mouth is a document of meat teeming with meaning.
    Imagine life as an usher in a movie theatre. The twilight of a fine career. Ushers are a dying breed, like poets. One hardly sees them anymore. Except in the lobby, taking tickets.
    Better to be on a catamaran on the open sea hugging reality like foam. Clam chowder in a bowl of onyx will lead to entertaining orthorhombic ideals, words toiling to describe a nomination, an acre of door in a Galaxy convertible, a heart full of nouns warming experience with blood and privacy.
    A voice in the corner argues detour as the biography of a narcotic takes shape, proposing a landscape of geysers and foghorns. Width has much to do with length. As does walking. Walking anywhere. Walking home. Walking away from home. Walking to the store. Walking around in circles. Walking around Milwaukee. Dangling a yoyo. Laughing out loud.
    My legs are my current residence. I like to put my guts in orbit. I am the Neil Armstrong of walking. I am the gutta-percha of guts. I like Whitman, corn on the cob, and electrical insulation. I sing the body electric. I am Pink Floyd in the shower. I believe in the importance of being amphibian.   
    Exult in your hand. A hand is an example of personality, like eggs.
    My memory of Spain, on the other hand, churns with aggression. I put flivvers together to make it happen. Make it roll, like little white pills. Gambling, grease, almonds, flannel shirts and smooth brown foreheads. The smell of burning candles. Beads slipping through the hands.
    I never feel the same from day to day and this is because of mountains. This is because biology is beautiful and huge. Prone to the languor of absorption.
Some people spend all their lives trying to make a new feeling. For some people a feeling is everything and for others it is just a suitcase or occasional sulk or silk or supplement to thought which is a thickening of feeling the brain where it is refined and stirred or sublimated into jokes.
    Did you know your nipples are omelettes? The horse was just an idea. Hence, muscle and bone. The taste of sorrow in a fold of Muddy Waters. Reflections juggled by nouns. Keith Richards smiling at the residue of meaning in a vibrated string.
    Love your brain. It’s the only allegory you have that succeeds at cocooning pulchritude. Hence, paperweights are generally glass. Gut instincts authenticate eternity. Energy inspires baggage. It is all England, all guns and ideas.
    Tremble in play. Tingle with brass.
    One day, while riding around in a glass jeep, Arthur Rimbaud found a carrot of flabby asterisks. He took a bite and discovered Etruria. A warm emotion splendid with arteries. The hulk and hue of meaning in a fold of sumac. 
    It has often been said that fate is a fat mysterious throb called lingering. This is why is it always feels good to get up and leave. You don’t look for excuses, you just do it, just get up and walk out. You fold your head into a lily and ooze abstraction. Squeeze topaz. Spit chrome. Chew coal. Bare your nipples during the hula. 
    Seeing is seeing. Seeing is breezy and energetic. Seeing is occasionally cork. Seeing is cemented in necks. Seeing is brick. Seeing is a cello made of beef. Seeing is a cow made of pearls.
    I am saying all that I am feeling I am saying that I am feeling all that I am feeling. I am feeling astronomical. Delinquent and humid.
    Humid you. Humid me. What is in you? What is in me? It is exciting to be proceeding and to hurry into hypothesis.
    Rawhide is the sine qua non of toothpick helium. He who drives the jeep has an eyeball which bites the alley to energetic worlds. A beach cow the sword reflects. Chronic crucial flap dot. 
    Don’t worry about growing a beard. Beards inspire existence. Excitement, carnivals, and rope. A jeep that broods in its metal like science.
    The ideal muscle heaves with gravity, a large black knot lingering in algebra. It is too soon to stretch the abstraction of obstacle into full arousal. Suffice it to say that the logic of muscle is capable of conveying a meaning when it lifts something, a truck, or a belt buckle.
    The debris surrounding Muddy Waters is a credit to the credibility of weight. This causes singing and generosity. A being in the world that is aggregate and gallant. 
    Power tools are Aristotelian. A saw bites wood a tense bites time. A language so the table at it gets ocher. A Sunday by the ocean all toe and cloud. A pair of binoculars twisting space into fonts. An iguana hemorrhaging thunder. Wet skin in a room of leaves. The funny luster of passion as you freeze a moment in snapshots. 
    We live in a Congo of thread playing to the jam of our identity. A tattoo personalizes the refraction of need. People crawl out of themselves in stories. Tendrils of sound make it hair. Inflamed and sudden like a window.
    Let the show begin. An extraordinary haze falls over fairyland. It is a smile trilled in a bowl of ammonia. It is a sunfish shiny as a jukebox. It is buxom as a balloon in a bayou. It is invisible as the trigonometry of tea. It is a matter of energy, Spinoza spinning in plywood, quack quack.
    This is the real beginning of wood, a tall-masted ship anchored in a bay of nebular apparitions. As soon as sensations function as sails, the ship moves, and the surrounding world explodes into water, bulwark and tin, pictures patterns textures, thickness and age, actors on a stage, foam of a wake, fire and rain, understanding a stern, regarding a deck, the crack of canvas at daybreak. Knowing something is charming. Knowing a knot is charming. The particular is charming. Particular and dear. Particular and trembling. Particular like mathematics. Particular like two plus two is ageless. Particular like one plus one is clean and daisy. Naturally, it is tempting to try to peek behind this veil. Writing is quick to make it hair. Homogeneous and isotropic but not static. Meaning eyebrows. Meaning nuance. Meaning the reality of anything is as variegated as the wrinkles and hues of someone’s skin. Meaning speaking. Meaning spoken. Meaning conviction and barrel and bowsprit. Meaning age. Meaning air. Meaning spit. Meaning fore and aft. Molt and molten. All the facts available to us. Every little bit and particle. Trace, touch, hint, trifle, tinge.
    What is missing is percale and what is recent is cotton. Death is larger than retail. It is something to have a feeling inside one’s body and not know what it is. Which makes it fascinating and strange and something to put into words. Stencils warts jaguars. Theories nods airports. Robberies rockets bees. Anything is something. A color is something and a snack is something. Chafing is natural and alive. The difference in weight between a thought and a dream. The way wind makes itself apparent in tinfoil. So that it becomes necessary to float a utopia into someone’s mind. 
    One feels a library is a possible solution toSunday.
    Eternity is mostly peas.

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johnolson is the author of four collections of prose poems: Oxbow Kazoo (First Intensity, 2005), Free Stream Velocity (2003),Eggs & Mirrors (Wood Works, 1999), and Logo Lagoon (Paper Brain, 1999).  Last October Olson received The Stranger's 2nd Annual Genius Award. Read an interview with Olsonat the Jack Straw Writers' Program, listen to him read here.




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