Solid Ground

Analysis I (Self-Portrait). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

the sensible say
you can coexist
with the monster

just try to avoid
violent gestures
violent speech

when threatened
take on the form
of a stone or leaf

obey wise Nature
who urges mimicry

breathe shallowly
play we’re not here

Mr. Cogito however
dislikes living as-if

he’d like to fight
the monster
on solid ground

Zbigniew Herbert, from “Mr. Cogito’s Monster,” The Collected Poems 1956-1998

(from the archives, Seattle, 2014)

Idling

Stairwell.© Chris Bronsk 2015.

“Strange people. The kind that leave the merest blur behind them, soon vanished. Hutte and I often used to talk about these traceless human beings. They spring up out of nothing one fine day and return there, having sparkled a little. Beauty queens. Giggles. Butterflies. Most of them, even when alive, had no more substance than steam which will never condense. Hutte, for instance, used to quote the case of a fellow he called ‘the beach man.’ This man had spent forty years of his life on beaches or by the sides of swimming pools, chatting pleasantly with summer visitors and rich idlers. He is to be seen, in his bathing costume, in the corners and backgrounds of thousands of holiday snaps, among groups of happy people, but no one knew his name and why we was there. And no one noticed when one day he vanished from the photographs. I did not dare tell Hutte, but I felt that ‘the beach man’ was myself. Though it would not have surprised him if I had confessed it.” —Patrick Modiano, from Missing Person

By Appointment (Self-Portrait)

By Appointment (Self-Portrait). © Chris Bronsk 2015.

“I like a steady disruption. I like it when the solid mantle turns
to shingle and water rushes up it over and over, in love.
My white-noise machine from Argos is set to Crashing Wave

but I’m not averse to the presence of numerous and minute
quanta moving very fast in unison; occasions when a light
wind undulates the ears of wheat, a hessian sack of pearl-

barley seed is sliced with a pocket knife and pours…”

Nick Laird, from “Feel Free”

Pattern of Strings

Warm Sunday Morning. © Chris Bronsk 2014.

“They rebuild Ersilia elsewhere. They weave a similar pattern of strings which they would like to be more complex and at the same time more regular than the other. Then they abandon it and take themselves and their houses still farther away. Thus, when traveling in the territory of Ersilia, you come upon the ruins of the abandoned sites, without the walls which do not last, without the bones of the dead which the wind rolls away: spiderwebs of intricate relationships seeking a form.”—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities