Riddle with Miniature Rooms InsideJasper Bernes
Each one a high desert mesa-scape in silhouette, broken by sawtooth hill clusters and hanging gorges—they swoon over the phonebook’s edge, bound by a hoop, like the fish of high pathos in seventeenth century still life paintings, their dead eyes wet with a still-lingering vivacity, open to the keyhole stares of studious museum-goers behind the closed doors of the twentieth century, who walk on, also closed. They point continuously, these do, they say these and those, yours and mine, long after their insignia have been smoothed away by the intelligible whorls on fingertips, so that they become like morals abandoned by their fables; little priapic lonesomes that once held perhaps a tawdrily human secret; custodians of the Proustian junkclosets, the dusk-edged dishevelment that fetters mind to its ball-and-chain of belonging. They are dead mind, what’s left after desire breaks itself off in the locks, the unrhymed bit-ends of abused figures of speech, like the heart; description’s zero-cal wedding-cake. In the lamplight they cast a ragged alligator shadow, or a pair of mutilated legs. But the rooms inside them are dark.
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