• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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The meaning of an avalanche

Seeing the five bottles, a flock of blunt geese, flying towards me in a V-formation, the sky a perfect Pop-Art blue, and their beaks filed to bottle-top smiles, thin underneath as skimmed milk; as if they knew all the while they could not escape, and this was Zeno's paradox in art, not life or philosophy; I drew a deep breath, amazed at what an image could do; and wondered at the character of clouds, children's cottonwool clouds, suspended on twine so fine it almost fragmented. And this was rapture, the "first, fine careless rapture" that some poets knew. But then I thought again, and wondered if each bottle were a bomb, filled with gelignite, and the blue were a cold climate, mute with the hate of those threatening shapes of white, not formless, but anonymous; and they descended, abseiling on floss strings, into my consciousness. And multiplied: first four, then eight, then twelve, then a countless number, an infinite series of white. Is this what it is to be dead? To be stripped of every feature you once had; and are the obsequies in red, but written in whose blood? I cannot decide. Maybe the image will speak, develop a mouth which opens on the screen, till I can see behind it, as if the shattered mirror held a secret. All the time, we attribute our thoughts to what we see, forgetting to look, and so pass by, on the other side of meaning, where everything resides except the truth. Ah, Freud, how you let the comet's tail stream out, forgetting that the head was empty space, and all the asteroids pursuing it hastened, only after a dream, with no more substance than the closing of the eyes.