1961, 7*, air, anxiety, being, blindness, breeze, children, Denise Levertov, doors, exit, face, hands, image, journey, joy, light, movement, nowhere, passing, people, presence, quiet, right, seeing, shame, smile, solitude, sound, speech, stairs, staring, station, stranger, streets, sunlight, thought, train, water, way, world
A blind man. I can stare at him
ashamed, shameless. Or does he know it?
No, he is in a great solitude.
O, strange joy,
to gaze my fill at a stranger’s face.
No, my thirst is greater than before.
In this world he is speaking
almost aloud. His lips move.
Anxiety plays about them. And now joy
of some sort trembles into a smile.
A breeze I can’t feel
crosses that face as if it crossed water.
The train moves uptown, pulls in and
pulls out of the local stops. Within its loud
jarring movement a quiet,
the quiet of people not speaking,
some of them eyeing the blind man,
only a moment though, not thirsty like me,
and within that quiet his
different quiet, not quiet at all, a tumult
of images, but what are his images,
he is blind? He doesn’t care
that he looks strange, showing
his thoughts on his face like designs of light
flickering on water, for hedoesn’t know
what look is.
I see he has never seen.
And now he rises, he stands at the door ready,
knowing his station is next. Was he counting?
No, that was not his need.
When he gets out I get out.
‘Can I help you towards the exit?’
‘Oh, alright.’ An indifference.
But instantly, even as he speaks,
even as I hear indifference, his hand
goes out, waiting for me to take it,
and now we hold hands like children.
His hand is warm and not sweaty,
the grip firm, it feels good.
And when we have passed through the turnstile,
he going first, his hand at once
waits for mine again.
‘Here are the steps. And here we turn
to the right. More stairs now.’ We go
up into sunlight. He feels that,
the soft air. ‘A nice day,
isn’t it?’ says the blind man. Solitude
walks with me, walks
beside me, he is not with me, he continues
his thoughts alone. But his hand and mine
know one another,
it’s as if my hand were gone forth
on its own journey. I see him
across the street, the blind man,
and now he says he can find his way. He knows
where he is going, it is nowhere, it is filled
with presences. He says, I am.
how to be in another’s head about being in another’s head: this is a wonderful example of Whalen’s ‘graph of the mind’ – the reach and score of effervent; there is a wonderful clarity and excise about these words such that the encounter is ours as much as just reported; thank you Denise Levertov, as she touches her throat lightly to feel the vibrations as she listens
air wormhole: THE DESOLATE FIELD by William Carlos Williams
anxiety wormhole: anxiety
being & water wormhole: `whappn’d!
breeze & hands wormhole: Lapping Reflections [Deep Within Waters] – old George
doors wormhole: letting them go
light wormhole: I don’t need to go out / onto the balcony to see behind me / to know what’s going on
passing wormhole: SPRING STRAINS by William Carlos Williams
people wormhole: tram
quiet wormhole: new blue porsche
seeing wormhole: TO A SOLITARY DISCIPLE by William Carlos Williams
smile wormhole: SUMMER SONG by William Carlos Williams
streets wormhole: PASTORAL by William Carlos Williams
thought wormhole: presence
train wormhole: all the low clouds keeping pace / through the train window, / always arriving, whether fast or / slow, but never actually moving
world wormhole: scintillating to mind’s content