Friday, March 6, 2015

Joel Chace

                                            Time Rhyme


Crud luck.

Rain blinded the barren, stuccoing it only.    

She claimed that she had cut off, in her time, enough bread crust circles to feed an entire family for life.

As soon as he emerges from the tunnel, they notice the horror, the hundreds of his hands.  

Mouth hole.

One of them tossed a head-sized rock into the pit they’d discovered in the rain forest.  Down it fell, out of sight, but no sound.  Out of the far corner of his eye, the other glimpsed a worn tire on the ground.  He hurled it, and as they watched it plummet, a small goat flew past them, head first into the abyss.  They stood speechless long enough for an old campesino to appear from the undergrowth.  He asked them if they had seen his pet goat.  Then he said he’d tied it with a long rope to an old tire.

She asked if we’ve ever heard of that sort of rhyming before.

Out on the fjord, a fisherman in yellow weather stands in his dinghy and pulls mightily on his line.  His thick pole bends nearly double, and the boat begins to spin, slowly.

Eye of the daisy.

Standing with her left elbow against the cigarette machine, she surveys the tables; if she didn’t ever have to move again, she wouldn’t.

His father was “in one of his moods” again.

In the black and white photo, their grandfather sits on the front seat of the wagon, which is just crossing a narrow plank bridge over a dark stream.  He holds the reins of two immense work horses that have just set hooves on the opposite creek bank.

Out of the ground, rising all day like a huge face.



It appeared to be summer.

Look:  a slant.

Whop, whop of racquet strings against yellow balls.  Too dark to really see.

What did she say that rhyme was called?

The hughest pumpkin we’d ever seen.

Ice was thick on that plank bridge.  Somehow the left workhorse lost its footing.  It cracked through into the frozen creek, pulling its partner in on top of it.  Their grandfather flew off his tipped wagon onto the near shore.    

God is omniscient  +  omnipresent +  eternal  =  He reads all time like a rolled out scroll.

She became certain that each object has its own musical key.

You bring out curious results, Socrates, in the use of names; and when I hear the word boulapteroun I cannot help imagining that you are making your mouth into a flute, and puffing away at some prelude to Athene.

Smoke can be sighed out through nostrils.

After their conversation, he turned back towards the city, while his unenlightened companions walked out into the countryside.

The perfection of the universe, or harmony of things, does not allow all minds to be equally perfect.

Sixty years removed, he still remembers the new kid in first grade.  That afternoon they played on the jungle gym.  The next day, their teacher told them that the boy had died.

Cute  --  her grandson says, “There’s no reason for that!”

When he retired, he told his wife that he’d help her with the cooking and learn from her.  He never did.

The rhyming never stops.


Thus there is a machine in the parts of the natural machine ad infinitum, and so many envelopes and organic bodies enfolded one within another that an organic body never could be produced altogether new and without any preformation.

They stood looking up at the Roman aqueduct in Segovia, the sun blazing through its arches.

That old gardener grew the best potatoes.


But the little duck led them to the dark cellar where the grapes of wrath were stored.

As powerful as they were, the workhorses’ legs quickly turned to nothingness in the frigid, roiling stream.  Their grandfather said that the screaming was unbearable.

After men persuaded themselves, that everything which is created is created for their sake, they were bound to consider as the chief quality in everything that which is most useful to themselves, and to account those things the best of all which have the most beneficial effect on mankind.

French suits galore.

Everyone has to be somewhere.

They built reverence for inevitability into the arches.

She stayed in her car and watched late sunlight take the side wall of the yellow shed.

We spent the whole afternoon in their home but never once uttered the word condolence.

Are you maintaining that falsehood is impossible? For if this is your meaning I should answer, that there have been plenty of liars in all ages.

Prairies don’t apologize.


Shrug of his tiny shoulders:  “ I n- n- know.”

Circle of white mushrooms up through bronze pine needles.

She studies the timbre of radiance.

He was driving home on the back road and registered something that made his day:  a hefty guy, red in the face and lugging a full gas can, most likely from the station about two miles away; he walks past the truck that is towing a beat-up sedan and then starts pouring the gas into the car’s tank.

Rhyme of reason.

She explains it.  “Immense, marvelous, golden wheels roll over me, each day more of them.  They turn me into light.”

They said we had to choose:  the cave is either the rock, or it is the hole.


The mind does not know itself, except in so far as it perceives the ideas of the modifications of the body.

He plodded, heart shattered, over the coals of the abandoned railroad bed.

Every night the dead entered the house and were roundly scolded, told they had to return to their moldy hostels.

Angry banging on the piano keys actually did help.

To avoid late afternoon alcohol, she smoked a cigarette, walked her dog, then mixed martinis.

Nobody knew the rubble we’d seen.

If only the elms could have been saved.


What would his life have been like if he’d died of croup at age one?

The human body stands in need for its preservation of a number of other bodies, by which it is continually, so to speak, regenerated.

Listening to Puccini while cabbage boils.

If you’re able to make a decision in such a balanced situation, you’d thereby demonstrate the freedom of your will. Buridan’s ass isn’t able to decide, so his will is obviously not free. But then, Buridan’s ass is a mere fiction. How about real donkeys? If we could find a donkey which was dumb enough to starve between two bales, we would have evidence against free will, at least as far as donkeys are concerned (or at least that particular donkey).

Finally he admitted to himself that he might not stop hating certain colleagues and that he would never forgive them.  

But rim brightens.

Each day the world unfolds its wonders, its atrocities, yet never itself slumbers.

Whenever he entered the faculty lounge, he confronted the same two, smug and hulking.  He’d slaughter them  --  so much blood  --  but there they’d be again, next workday.  

Yes, that rhyme, too.

Ever wonder overheard, echoed, then fled.

"Beauty!" Mahler said.  "The head of Socrates is beautiful." I agreed and added that in my eyes Alexander von Zemlinsky, the musician, had beauty. He was almost the ugliest man I had ever seen — and yet the force of his intellect was felt in every glance of his eyes and in every one of his abrupt movements.



Once again a homerun ball had lodged somewhere up among the hemlocks.

Whenever he entered the faculty lounge, he confronted the same two, smug and hulking.  He’d slaughter them  --  so much blood  --  but there they’d be again, next workday.  

Yes, that rhyme, too.

Ever, wonder overheard, echoed, then fled.


Beyond the third base line that high black slice of Bronx sky, #4 trains flashing across.

Schubert’s lieder’s notes, voice and piano, hang, icicles, in darkness.

This is what I call Pre-established Harmony, which removes all notion of miracle from purely natural actions, and makes things run their course regulated in an intelligible manner.

Blithe ass-grabbers wait outside the theater.

Promise crammed air and crocodile still to come.

At first they didn’t know what to do as the bat flitted in their bedroom’s shadows.  Finally, they trapped it under a basket.  He said, “Bring me the big dictionary from the den.”  She carried it to him and thought he’d look up bat.  But he slammed it down over the little thing, then stood on the text, pressing more and more of his weight, rising up on all those words.

Could you see better if I ran up the shade?

Jawbone of the ass, assbone of the goddamn fool, jumbled in earth's jaw like a giant's coffee stained teeth.

One of those fadeouts.

He keeps listening for the click of the latch that still comes in dreams.

Still clinging, two golden leaves soften that whole wide sanctuary of sky.

If the human body has once been affected by two or more bodies at the same time, when the mind afterwards imagines any of them, it will straightway remember the others also.


She finds no consolation for her son's first wispy goatee.

They asked why he’d walked out after forty-nine years, and he said, “There's only so much a man can take.”

Forgiveness soaked up by a field unnaturally bright and green.

Positive Arbitrage.

Imagine waiting eighty-three years during which you goddamn die, then hearing from your grave that piece of news.

Staid and staying, the biting power, the hour, the state of wait.

In the watery rush, the icy font of darkness, they've bequeathed themselves the maggots of their crimes.

When a body in motion impinges on another body at rest, which it is unable to move, it recoils, in order to continue its motion, and the angle made by the line of motion in the recoil and the plane of the body at rest, whereon the moving body has impinged, will be equal to the angle formed by the line of motion of incidence and the same plane.

“I wrote that,” she says, pointing to her handwritten copy of Zukovsky’s A.


They told is they’d been home all afternoon, watching Fatty Arbuckle’s shorts.

Open, already death-glazed eyeball and tiny, lolling, already drying tongue.

A punishing rhyme.

Once, there was a Garden Movement.

Right out of high school, he started working in cock-shrinking cold, cutting, slinging beef and pork.  20 years later, neck disc raging, backbone all ground down, he took full-load compensation.

Once, there were decorative hermits.

Just tell them, “Straight down a block to the square; park; get out; yell the name you want; then listen like hell for the first window shoots up.”

But still the enquiry demands our earnest attention and we must not flinch. For we should remember, that if a person go on analysing names into words, and enquiring also into the elements out of which the words are formed, and keeps on always repeating this process, he who has to answer him must at last give up the enquiry in despair.


She warned him that she’d wring her hair, tear her hands.  

Nothing about the new apartment becomes us.

Mortal knot.

It’s colder in Detroit than it is in winter.

Certain corners in the synagogue reminded them of the smell in their old town library.

Suryavarman II killed his great uncle “like a mythical bird on a mountain ledge would kill a serpent,” made bloody insurgencies into Vietnam, and built Angkor Wat.

He complains that his son’s humor is too vitreous.

An analogous condition might be compulsive metaphor-making.

So we hit the pavements.

Sea of Milk’s churning.

Newly married, they waited on the train platform.  Their large suitcase, plastered with college stickers, had been borrowed from her cousin.  A well dressed gentleman approached and said, “Oh, William and Mary?”  The groom responded, “No, Marion and Vince.”

Often and often he has told me with bitter remorse how when playing the piano as a child he used suddenly to feel there was somebody there, and it was always his mother listening at the
door, in the covered gallery. Then he used to stop playing and show his annoyance. His harshness to her in those days haunted him in later years.

In the central sanctuary, Vishnu is not only placed at the latitude of Angkor Wat; he is also set along the axis of the Earth. The Khmer knew the Earth was round.

Obligatory apologizing for the West.

Tough, sad remark intended to bore, or bore.

Activation of each gaze center separately results in movements of the eyes along a single axis, either horizontal or vertical. Activation of the gaze centers in concert results in oblique movements whose trajectories are specified by the relative contribution of each center.

Moments before death, flesh turns off, the little bubble of soul floats away, and only
mind  --  pure, dazzling arctic landscape  --  is left.

As a younger woman, she owned that stone quarry, and worked every bit as hard as the men on her crew.  Each evening, she took the blasting caps home.

Newsreel, cartoon, matinee feature:  25 cents.

They’d played bridge for three hours, and the older woman and her new boyfriend had lost, very badly.  He excused himself to the toilet.  As soon as she heard the door shut, she turned to the other pair and said, “Well, this will be the first time all afternoon that he’ll know what he has in his hand, and what to do with it.”

We clearly understand what is the difference between the idea, say, of Peter, which constitutes the essence of Peter's mind, and the idea of the said Peter, which is in another man, say, Paul.

Sentences in his head used to match those that emerged from his mouth.

Centuries rhyme.


Her blond hair brushes the harp’s carved, blond wood and flicks against the strings.


Their toddler bends to a pile of leaves pushed to cracked bottom panes of an abandoned greenhouse.  From nowhere, maverick wind sweeps in and rushes up the glass wall.  In the leaf-tornado’s eye, the little girl stands, arms upraised, calling out to them with cry of a gull borne high on a column of swirling air.   

This leads me to think also that there are no spirits entirely separated from matter except
the first and sovereign being.

We spent one whole selfish day.

So what lies deep under the threads?

Chopin was in awe of Liszt’s pianistic technique as Liszt played Chopin’s etudes.

Before entering the restaurant, he stands, looking through a street-window at his wife, with afternoon martinis and friends. He knows he must step in, interrupt.  But he stays still, to give her a few more moments of a free joy she will never again experience after he tells her that their child has died.  


During the long and clear Cambodian nights, when the stars filled every inch of the black sky, the astronomer-priests stood on the long western causeway ...  and recorded the movements of the moon against the towers in the top two galleries of the temple.

Funerary meaning.

Jellyfish:  each a world of its own light, milky-white, soft galaxy, inhaling, exhaling cloud-edges, bulbing orange-eye center up at our bleared eyes.

Free fall, mile of air, insect swirl of gulls, rock bomb and apple smash, giggly terror, rippled fjord as far down as sky is up, June snow, and steady hum and rush of no sound.

Their uncle used to say, “Set your cocks, and simonize your watches.”

Although saccades can occur in complete darkness, they are often elicited when something attracts attention and the observer directs the foveas toward the stimulus.

Fog rises from those statues in Bergen; from bronze hands and shoulders of a little boy peeing into a white-tiled basin; from one arm of a massive nude shrinking from some terror, her face an unchiseled blank; from a unicorn’s neck and from a girl’s long hair that falls across it.  She loves the creature and does not want it to leave; but its blank, distant eyes seem to understand that it must soon dissolve, only to come again in a fine mist, to inherit the earth.

Let us suppose the existence of two objects: one of them shall be Cratylus, and the other the image of Cratylus; and we will suppose, further, that some god makes not only a representation such as a painter would make of your outward form and colour, but also creates an inward organization like yours, having the same warmth and softness; and into this infuses motion, and soul, and mind, such as you have, and in a word copies all your qualities, and places them by you in another form; would you say that this was Cratylus and the image of Cratylus, or that there were two Cratyluses?  But then how ridiculous would be the effect of names on things, if they were exactly the same with them! For they would be the doubles of them, and no one would be able to determine which were the names and which were the realities.

What miracles grew from the ground she tilled.


Eb-minor is his favorite key.

Sardine warehouses with their scrap piles where dogs scrounge and defecate.

All night smothered whistle-blasts from the fjord’s sheets of fog.  Those sure at sea, in it, and afraid.  

We had long ago drawn apart from the rest, or else they had left us alone. There was that magic circle round us which quickly encloses those who have found each other.

They actually enjoyed the comeback of deer ticks since they could then hunt each other’s secret flesh at night, in case the little buggers had started to burrow.

In Oslo, the white grounds and white, enclosing swirl dull the yellow of their palace.  Farther down that long, gray line  --  Karl Johans Gate  --  by the National Theatre, Bjornson and Ibsen stand, bronze eyes contemplating nothing.

He who feigns a winged horse, does not therefore admit that a winged horse exists; that is, he is not deceived, unless he admits in addition that a winged horse does exist.

The body can by the sole laws of its nature do many things which the mind wonders at.

Rhyme seasons.

He and his brother shared tequila bottles in a cold tent, until he had to pee urgently.  He spent what felt like hours trying to find an exit zipper, brother howling that whole time.  Finally emerging, he twisted, jerked in so many directions.  He was Elastic Man.  And next morning he awoke, a mooing bossey in his face, and his head in a fresh cow patty.  

All sinister acts are sheet-lightning portending the real thing, chaotic
elements that precede creation.

The fjords:  silver harp string coiled over a thousand miles.



The boy was rather a fool than a freak. He was crammed full of senseless absurdities. One day he hired an old horse and had riding-breeches made with one leg blue, the other red. He rode up and down the streets  as a mercenary, to the joy of all beholders but to the bitter shame of his family.

Wisdom is the science of happiness.

She molded horrible animals out of the soil, then set them loose.

Take, for example, the word katoptron; why is the letter rho inserted? This must surely be the addition of someone who cares nothing about the truth, but thinks only of putting the mouth into shape. And the additions are often such that at last no human being can possibly make out the original meaning of the word.

Only sky, the old land of ancient bear, ancient fox, and on the ground, only a black, lensed box, already always old, already always cracked.

Topographically organized maps of auditory space and of the body surface in the superior colliculus can therefore orient the eyes (and the head) in response to a variety of different sensory stimuli.

Fog-wisps cling to the cold, silver lake.  Grays, whites, blacks:  all other colors can’t pronounce themselves.

Back in the day, as a kid, he’d hold the phone-arm out in his hand and wish hard that the person caught inside could wriggle free from the sound cone’s wire-web, squeeze like spaghetti out the earpiece holes, then stand there in front of him.  “Ta da!”

Sunday mornings Father left, but returned bearing a hefty bundle and saying that he carried the world in a paper packet.

This is why I believed that it was infinitely more worthy of the economy of God and of the uniformity and harmony of his work, to conclude that he has at the beginning created souls and bodies such that each following its own laws accords with the other.

Honest weeping is best, falling to knees on hard earth, facing the kingdom of irremediable loss.

A three-day wind sweeps over blear-eyed, limp-gray dawn and noon, brittle and exhausted.

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