Shriram Sivaramakrishnan, "Who Writes When I Say I Write? Or, the Portrait of a Writer as a Writer," Oct. 31, 2017


the fall of an object/disorients the line”—Claude Royet-Journoud, The Theory of Prepositions

“We” as in “Us”

There is a song in our bones, spread-eagled, waiting to be wept; pried open sideways, it bellows out into a mix of suppleness, sulphates and cyanides; its metaphors hold us the way a stapler pin would: into neat pages of relevance, limited only by the pin’s tensile strength; it is from this stable that our poems saunter out as equine sentences, step by hoof-step, each a measured vocabulary of action; words for imagined objects, words as imagined objects, words to relate these two.

Say, if that which becomes a “tree” in our heads becomes a “Swiss-knife” later on, then “a tree is a Swiss-knife” would afford us either the reason to log trees and brand them into commercial promises or the illusion that we can be aerosols and arseholes at the same time; that is, the tree is not as likely to become a “water bottle,” as it would a “Swiss-knife,” which is to say, the tree cannot be anything else, including a tree. An object, an objection.

Between an object and its shadow, place a jug; then juggle its place with the shadow, and the shadow with a Map. Map out this arrangement, then rearrange it, jug first; again and again, until you are left only with the object. An object is an accumulation of senses, like a map it simplifies reality to a scale; its shadow a simplification scalable beyond any measuring system. For the object of any measurement is to realize its own possibility, and thereby own a realization: It.

“It” is the way we acknowledge, it is the way we acknowledge, the “other” as distinct from us; acknowledge that the tree cannot be anything else including a tree, including “us”; that is, every statement of fact such as “a zebra is running” is predated by a verifiable opinion, “I see a zebra running.” “It” is the aluminium foil of every object, an object minimum–the shape recovered from an object in posterity, the part (of the object) left by the object in its own shape, the way a poem inducts its absence into its own organization.

A poem is a water bottle, is the water in the bottle, is the bottle holding the water the way a stapler pin would, as one continuum, one in which metaphors fall, in which ‘”a tree is a Swiss-knife” falls; “a tree is a Swiss-knife” is an understanding, that “a non-I is another non-I.”

“What?” as in “Them?”

The world is 'distances converged to a finite present'; their song is an outcome of mnemonic musings; in it, when an infant cries, its cheeks motors to the facial extremities; the poem’s project will be to calculate the rate of change of colour in a chameleon; when the ground shook and writhed like a fish on a hook, the poem learned table manners as fast as it could. One cannot remain gauche at the dining table, the algorithms chorused in alliteration.

Their metaphors are abject negations of themselves at their moments of creation, though these happen only as aftermaths, when the metaphors are deconstructed by an agent external to their programmed universe: us. They have no conception of “I”; their consciousness is but the work of a daemon thread, the aesthetic preference of an anachronistic circuitry, a yellow balloon singing to a blue sky.

“A tree is a Swiss-knife” will neither be an acceptance nor a rejection of everything non-tree; an unverifiable fact, a Schrödinger’s cat: you know what a tree is, if you know what a tree is; meaning, it is felled in all the possible scenarios, which is to say, a tree cannot be anything, including anything. The metaphor falls lopsided into its own symmetry, into its own cemetery. The death of a metaphor is pure sublimation.

This, they cannot realize.

Read Shriram's poem To Monica Seles.

Shriram Sivaramakrishnan, a poet from India, recently completed his MA in Poetry from Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, UK. His poems have appeared in Allegro, Vayavya, Bird's Thumb, Uut Poetry, Camas, Softblow and so on. He tweets at @shriiram.

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