Skip Fox
Composition with Baby

Yesterday some shit-outta-love son-of-a-bitch, arguing with his former girlfriend, trying to regain the sanctuary of her graces no doubt, held their daughter, ten months old, out of a seventh-story window, . . . then threw it out, . . . just to make a point. Simple punctuation. Then throwing himself out while running to the hospital. All aswirl in an emotional clustered cocktail-fuck, the simple ingredients of which exceed his expression, as they say, . . . but this: she won't date him, he holds the baby out the window, pulls it back in, she dials 911 (has a restraining order), and while she's on the phone yelling, "Oh, my god! Oh, my god," he tosses the baby out almost as casually as you might toss aside a football to go eat lunch. So far, so good, right? It's all been carefully, if quickly, argued, down to the 911 recording we have of "He's killed my baby! He's killed my baby!," but it has not yet exceeded the bounds of the daily domestic comedy, species urban. Something for the ol' bumper: "THIS SHIT EXISTS," etc., or "GET TOUGH." But then the story turns, slides down a country road in an old truck, far from the projects: she throws down the phone and grabs a knife, he says, "So you want to kill me? Okay, go ahead and kill me!," she aims for his chest, stabs him in the hand, blade damn nearly goes through, he runs down seven flights of stairs, grabs the baby off the cedar-chip tree bed where it landed, miraculously alive, only cuts, bruises, and a broken rib where, in passing, the branches that saved it made their several comment, the fruit of which is this story as he jumps into his car, exploding with new clarity, he's really in it now, baby in arms, and drives to the nearest hospital, where the police find him bleeding in the emergency room and place him under arrest. He offers no resistence. Says nothing. Rarely has a man been as articulate.

“When Zeno returned”

When Zeno returned from his visit to the sea, a young man was waiting for him. They went into the house and Zeno made tea. When both were settled, steaming cups before them, the young man, who Zeno had previously known as bright, engaging and friendly, told the elder philosopher about the wonders of logic. How the city was brimming with its magic, a binding spell that brought all knowing into a vast singleness and threw away the key, a system of interconnections, an otherness of identity amid discrete and autonomous units that can be combined in such fashion that the world may have no further need of eyes or ears, for instance. He laughed. Zeno sipped his tea. As the young man spoke, an openness on the plain between his cheek and eye and on his brow indicated that he anticipated, even hoped  for, the possibility that the elder’s wisdom would rise again as a living presence in his life and call into question all he that was saying in his knowing, which included everything which had enthralled him the previous year. He wished this almost as much as he wished Zeno’s approval. When he stopped, waiting for his elder’s reaction, the old philosopher stood, and seeming to observe the deepening shades of afternoon, poured himself another cup. The young man had barely touched his. Zeno sat, paused, and after a few niceties, observations of light and shade saturating the season, while sipping tea, thinking, slowly lifted the young man’s reason to mind, took city’s logic and all its levitations which never touched the ground, and using the paradoxes we now know so well, over the next several hours and pots of tea, proved that nothing is moving and everything is the same thing. "You are basically a block," he said to the young man, a parrying shift in his eyes, a brief flash of utter delight. Throughout Zeno’s disquisition, the young man sat drinking his cold tea, listening and thinking, eyes agleam with hares and arrows, coliseums and chariots, trails and foot races, heroes, processions and digressions, demonstrating that reason’s nature was not _of_ nature, except as we might have it, at least as it was proposed, founded solely on the notion of a world composed of discretions, finite particles we can know without thinking, with intervals if not obstacles between all elements of what confronts eye or mind, as though interstices were not invented, and all of life entwined, whereas actual existence, Zeno continued, is otherwise disposed, a fluid multiplicity of reticulations waving in florescent webworks of waves, each moment a blooming nexus of delicate intricacies aquiver amid each other’s so-called identities, flowing, each shot through with everything else "that is the case," joking with the young man’s words, and at last showing how even logic’s reason, the mind in harness, might be realized as “part of” the world, praising its rigor,  but dismissing its sense of exclusivity. After pausing, Zeno said it again, for sake of simplicity and memory, “You are basically a block.” He young man laughed, enthralled. "And yet," Zeno went on, "there is also truth to which your logic gives direction. Nothing _is_ moving. And everything _is_ the same thing. And it always was. And will ever be again. Or will it? What is it to know anything? Here we are, speaking of it, that in which we sit. Of which we are. Always.”
         Later they ate supper, talking and laughing. The young man spent the night and left refreshed in the morning.

Heaven's Scrim [from clouds]

A sound like a tetherball hook hitting its pole forty-seven years ago in Livonia, Michigan, a playground, or the pings in a sub's sonar room, but irregular, ringing in evening and a storm to the north after the world's most irritating man, a true simpleton and my neighbor, whose most significant emotional relationship is apparently with his riding mower, has "given it up" and gone in, leaving me to the thud in thunder's distance, cicada's staircase of echoing hills (once only), and the land given over to the chirring of all directions (an accelerated chirping?), the putting forth of every diminished goddamned lovely thing, soft, diaphanous, ubiquitous live wire in brush round the pond and from the coulee behind me, stray electricity, call it, pouring over a thousand tiny ledges into all the world spread out and beneath its wide sky like an aperture in sense (an observing of the result produced) itself, so far beneath are their considerations, or are they among them, woven into the literal fibers of the fabulous, else why are they so constant? Such an evening. In actual there are no mistakes, no arguments. Monstrosities are another matter. Altogether. By the actual I mean everything that is the case including its adulterations, the toxicity of a consciousness, say, that puts us 'besides ourselves,' at remove from that which we might, given our own direction, follow as a nose and so profoundly find ourselves among such clouds, we would but seem and so surely know. Where we might come to apprehend what intimate can truly mean. Baskets of fruit in the sky. It is all so surely a question of sleep.
         Perimeter on perimeter, late summer's gears, the storm has skirted us. Cicada build temples to dusk, into which they climb, and disappear, as into a cumulonimbus, slowly drifting eastward, which night will erase . . . to all but itself. Omen clad apertures of evening, I wrote, about these lost, wandering portals, into exquisite rooms or onto evening streets come alive on Friday night, people pouring out to supper, markets, clubs, galleries and lectures, talking and laughing, why not? Are these lost to all but themselves as well? To themselves as well? Ancient regime.
         A motor in the distance, someone is screaming, and the peacocks begin. Stevens wrote that he was sorry some poetry contains "any ideas at all" if  "its sole purpose is to fill the mind with the images and the sounds it contains." That's a fat brush. Wittgenstein would rid logic of the world. Timed backup. Consider a reasoning of the actual: trees, bugs, clouds, electricity, words, a car's dump, dump rounding the curve of a Saturday night, and why not? I.e., rid the world of logic, clasp a world..
         As young boys we were told to strip and run through the sticky buds, to play vigorously among the plants and to worry about nothing. Every so often, they would call to us and we would go to where they would scrap the resin from our bodies with wooden paddles. By the end of the morning we were dizzy with play and clouds of resin would enter through our pores and rise like arched skyways in our minds. After dinner we would sleep the peace of Allah, . . . then rise to run the remainder of the day.