Jacqueline Winter Thomas
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER
I. The rivers are clear and, if you say, The rivers are clear, then there are fields crushed below.
II. If fields, then there are lines perceived as distances above and below, and these are the assumptions of distance:
IIa. If it is not the same fire which burns the rivers and the fields.
IIb. If the body separate is the leitmotif of the body.
IIc. If the other is the other side of the river.
III. If you miss me, sister, and I cannot speak, and there are bodies crushed below.
DIALOGUE WITH AN OPTIMIST
Today you called the light a syllable and I thought it should be a longer one which sweeps over the valleys of our language. You say, There is a word for that, and I know you mean Love—but what then of the dirt where we buried the field mouse? The light touches there too. See the still small weeds, recalcitrant and rising against earth's cold? They are like hands reaching. No, I think they are the hands that come too early, tear the roots. Today the light came and did not come. Today I opened the curtains and saw the light, in straight lines, refract. I tell you, Light is geometry, not love—the sharp angles and delineations, a terrible clarity everywhere reaching. This is not salvation. No, not salvation, you say, this is Light.
on "The Other Side of the River":
This piece began in the margins of E.M. Cioran's On The Heights of Despair, and so its form was to some extent dictated by that first context. I like to think of it as a poem in silent parentheticals.
on "Dialogue with an Optimist":
"There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so." (Shakespeare)