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Whatnot by Rob Stephenson
 
Recital by Author
 

'Library of Glass'  2007 Alice EgoyanLibrary of Glass

 

Visitors expect to find reliefs and depressions, instead of flat surfaces that have been scissored out, packed like the leaves of a closed book. They find lanterns of special forms and colors composed by years of suspension in air.

fifteen fireflies in a five-cent cage

They hear incessant ticking as it shrivels up the little wings of dreams. This seems more real than the arching blue emptiness above them.

They find the dust of dead selves softly clinging to a clear calm sheet of water and an instrument that makes planes look solid. The past tense has fine gradations crowded with angular bits of stony matter and disseminated all through its structures.

The eye alone cannot detect the beautiful trickery, the faultless mimicry of nature.

They see the rich yellow light over a gray gliding mass: a muffled shape stealing into the scene writes a hundred biographies in their imaginations.

Now this paper is sensitive, afraid of daylight. The perpetual stream of figures leaves no definite shapes. It contributes to the stains they see in the pictures.

In the glass, bodies continually throw off certain images like themselves, colored shadows in the throbs of the air. Dark silver is thinly sprinkled.

ark-shaped houses made of wisps of straw

They see a roofless pile: an idle legend that dwells entirely in the mind of one elderly woman. Is it possible to step inside this dying language?

Tiny gushes of song.
Subtle emanations.
Effigies.
Membranes that sparkle for a moment.
Shooting stars as yet not dreamt of in philosophies.

They are known to be something more than a surface, a bark that is shed by trees.

What is difficult to see makes it disappear: a very brief fall of snow drifted by the wind. They make a sheet of paper reflect images and hold it ready for its frame.

It has fixed the most fleeting of our illusions in a long, long silence: a soft staccato in the midst of one infinite charm.

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last update: June 25, 2007