Friday, February 4, 2011

We Know in Part, and We Prophesy in Part

You are awake, standing up to your shoulders in a sea of shredded paper under a clear blue sky. There is nothing else visible on the four horizons, except here and there other people, stranded as you are. A few are just within shouting distance.

The paper is loose, and yet you do not sink. A leisurely motion with your legs is all that is required to stay comfortably on top. You have no thoughts.

Picking up one of the bits of paper, you notice it has a word printed on it: "grey." You pick up another: "caboose." And another: "wedding." Every bit of paper carries a solitary inscription; as you look at each word its meaning is imprinted on your mind. "hoarse-wishbone-ulterior-upset-tangerine-froth-road-contents-bark-looking-incident-carryover-favorite..."

Gradually you start building a collection of the most interesting words, forming them into interesting combinations, and then interesting sentences. Occasionally a wisp of breeze disturbs your work and forces you to start over.

Your mind begins to quicken and expand. It is like playing with chemicals and fireworks - these sentences. You notice prepositions are in short supply and start keeping them folded in your right hand. Each sentence brings you closer to something - or somewhere. You do not know what you should achieve or where you should arrive but somehow you feel that trying is worthwhile. More words. The world swimming in black and white and blue.

"most houses are red"

"tangerine solve problems"

"future makes contents"

"nothing rightly sounds but never"

The wind confuses your sentences or simply blows them away. You wonder if you ought to feel perturbed about this, but somehow you sense it is how it should be. We look for the unknown; we accept arbitrary obstacles. It sounds noble.

You find an unusually long word: "prognosticative." You cup it in your left hand, feeling it must be useful; why else should it be so long? Heavy tools are for hard tasks.

Someone shouts to you over the rustling sea, cupping their hands around their mouth: "What words have?"

You do not have those words but you understand them when you hear them. You shout back: "tangerine - contents - prognosticative!" You are conscious of feeling envious that they have a "what."

Someone else shouts: "Where is land?" It is a good question. You wonder if they also are lacking a "what."

Someone else: "Who is iron horse?" The iron horse lives under the iron sea, or maybe under the iron fist. There are many fists. Maybe there are many seas. Maybe the world is just shredded paper. You wish you had more words.

Someone quite close to you: "Stapler nobody have?" He sounds excited.

The conversation continues through the afternoon. Sometimes there are many people shouting at once. This hurts something that is not your ears.

As the sky turns to rose and apricot colored tendrils around sundown, someone shouts excitedly from the South: "What meaning say is world?"


"I am hoarse."

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