Sesquipedalian // Thomas Cook
At the end of the day, I describe myself. I can only begin again. I create the routine out of the mountain, the indecipherable out of what has been given to me. I require things, like a cracker or a toothbrush. Putting these things into categories of want and need tires me in the way of the getting tired of putting into categories what haunts the empirical mind. In the way of myself, I am twenty years older than I was.
There are various times in a life. At my desk, the day is a shade. On some occasions, I have written sentence after sentence, each one connecting to the last, forming a syntax of thought, describing the world. Sleeping and waking, I find myself in between.
I copy out the poem, “The Wall,” by Donald Justice into my notebook. I remember studying the poem as a young man in college. I emulate the poem. I decide that most of what I have written sounds like an essay that requires quite a bit of the reader.
I read a book of poetry that is a lot of dense paragraphs of prose and I understand what the world has become. I become something else as I read. I eliminate the word “sometimes” from all of my poems by Ctrl + F and “delete all.” I consider what the word sometimes means to me when I use it, a comma that creates appositives of experience. It is 10:00 AMon the nose on Thursday 3 December 2015. I will edit this writing and that date will remain, or I will edit the date out of this writing when I revise because it will no longer be true.
The date will require me to think about the difference between speech and writing, a much discussed topic for those of us born in 1984. Born in 1986. Believed to be born in 1988. I appreciate the idea.
Sometimes I want more from the facts of my birth, but then I find myself at the grocery store, distinguishing myself. I’ve decided that each thing I say, each thing I write, should be measured in a certain way. I decide that I am the one to make that measurement. I decide that, despite what I know about knowing and saying and writing that I will continue.
Most of what I read feels like a good try, and a good try can make me feel the real depth of human experience that I have come to expect from art.
I have come to expect things from art, which is a way of saying that I am open to experience without an idea of what that experience might inspire in me, but only if that experience is also aimed at celebrating the human spirit. Some art is sad, of course, but the human spirit can be sad as well, often is.
The thing that I remember about the Donald Justice poem is probably the thing that you remember about it, or what you will remember about it in the future after you read it. It is about a third person plural pronoun in the object case. They’re surrounded, is the gist, by what they cannot see.
Experience can work that way as well, in time. Some people that I have met have very strong opinions about time. My opinion about time is that I understand it very little. It is real, but it is not what is really changing me. What is changing me is what is moving through my body, even oxygen, and then of course there is blood and what it carries. Somewhere in the body, there is electricity, which I have written about, first as a young man and now as a man older than that young man. I could go on, or simply begin again.
Thomas Cook lives in Los Angeles and is one part of Tammy. He recently explained why you didn't get into the MFA program of your choice at Entropy.