Monday, October 1, 2001

A SHORT STUDY ON SYNAESTHESIA


A SHORT STUDY ON SYNAESTHESIA

Like a writer unable to translate ideas into words,
the composer Ravel, awoke stricken with aphasia—
he could no longer translate patterns into symbols.
His new music, trapped forever in his head.
Notes descend, an angry rain piercing his skin.
La Valse, a premonition of madness coalescing
into the dimensionless existence of a Cartesian point.
We dance around the emotions.
                                                            Remnants of earlier fires.
Is it love or lust? he asks. Think of the blind man
who saw scarlet as a sounding trumpet, or the woman
who heard chromium light & turquoise when the wind raged,
and the walls between the senses come tumbling down.

Decide the dual physics of light: wave pattern
or photon particle? All shadows contain the color
of the object casting the shadow, and its opposite.
Separate emotion from logic & fully understand neither.

In a dark room, Newton reduced light to its true colors
& sought alchemical algorithms to equate the frequency of sound
with wavelengths of light, then blamed Pythagoras,
only to imprism himself: a small boy at the seashore distracted
by metaphysics of smoother pebbles & poetics of prettier shells,
while the great ocean of undiscovered truth lapped at his toes.

Aristotle wrote emotions carry their own logic.
Why was he afraid of metaphor; how did he dream?
He’d deny the music of daylight at sunrise, or the taste of sunset.
The idea of color constancy is an illusion. The artist seeks the truth
of light. Ask Kandinsky about the optics of fretted chords.
Or Nabakov of the long “O” of the alphabet at orgasm.
The logic of emotion is beyond our control.

To approach a paradox: one hand clapping with the intellect
is to either see       or to not see                        in the dark.
Try to write an objective definition of love, rearrange
memory, mix metaphors midstream. Drive Aristotle crazy.
Ask what the stars sound like.
                                                    Describe the taste of darkness.
Plato was right: we are prisoners of our feelings.
Plato was wrong: sometimes it is better to let go
the sacred chord of reason. To be lost. To surrender
            is to find your self again.

no idea when first draft was written 1999?
rev. 10/2001 2001 Transfer Magazine, #82, fall issue


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