AE Reiffs Comments
“Doll Shop.” We moved west from Texas when I saw a picture of aloe vera growing permanently in the Sonoran Desert, first landed in a neighborhood bulldozed to build freeways, then to some relic houses along dirt roads of the Grand Canal, a ditch to irrigate orange groves and farms first built by the Hokoham a thousand years before. The Canal blocked the progress of storm runoff from its natural course so the drainage ditch beside it flooded slippery with mud over the access road from every rain and irrigation cycle. We found a huge pile of dolls and stuffed animals thrown in the ditch, horribly soiled, and brought them home, which became a way of telling the day when 40 or 50 people held prisoner by coyotes were found jammed into houses to extract the last ounce. This continued a lifelong series of adoptions of the abandoned in the redemption and adoption into the new family toward which all creation groans and travails. After the events of the poem the dolls were given to a medical office in the homeless zip code where women and children adopted them.
“The Sound of Light” is like a beach where the surf is the white keys of the piano that play softly against the shore where I stand listening to that hearing that is no voice. Voice invented for thought, prethought, and afterthought emerged. Thought transcribed, heard through walls, heard and seen many times, hidden cannot be known. Where those waves roll up and fall back that identity grows slowly in mind and the longer the life land exists the more wonder it holds in the memory. There on the shore the place is its face, the land on which its feet stand and watch the waves roll in. And that is how I know I am alive.
As when sometimes in “The Sound of Light” a line begins with a word that is capitalized and sometimes not, and sometimes periods, sometimes commas appear at the end of lines, the progress of light is uncertain. First we see it, then we don’t. These grammatical mechanics show the unsteady waves as when the eclipse I just watched went peekaboo, in and out, now dark, now glowing, now light and back to dark. Two days before I had painted the exterior of an office building the color of the full moon, elastomeric white satin, but didn’t realize it was the color of the full moon until the next day. Today, the day of the eclipse, I was on my way to photograph the full moon setting above the moon building when I found that the photo would have to wait because there was only sliver of a moon going peekaboo, and then the sun came up!
“Talk” is a meditation on the last verse of the last psalm, 150, and all that went before.
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