The Presentable Art of Reading Absence begins with a slip into a meditation and a slip within that same meditation. The slip into the meditation commences the poem and acts as an entrance, one that smoothly but abruptly places the reader into the condition of revelation, specifically a mundane revelation of "secular mourning." The slip within the meditation is a dual movement that sends both reader and poet deeper into the revelation and also out of the pure meditative state. Present within the opening lines of this poem, then, one finds an effortless struggle to be precisely here, here at "the place set aside / for creating the body." Reader and poet alike enact the work of spectator and performer, and, all the while, time materializes as the viscosity that conditions these various slips.
A passage from Polynomials and Pollen offers another point of view onto the understanding of temporality made possible by Wright's poetic work:
fallacy, time breeds a small
notion to propound
an instrumental pulsing,
that courts the wish to install
itself as the thread
and perfect measure of trust. (14)
I revel in the geography of this passage. One needs to fashion a map first before traversing the stanza. The fallacy: time breeds a small notion... time, also understood as that pause that courts the wish to install itself... Once we understand what the fallacy is, we can set to interpreting the consistency of that fallacy (its "meaning"). Time compels beings to forward a practical notion, the probability that we are all progressing steadily via the pulse of time's push. Between the pulse's signals, each pause, a stillness between the beats, pretends to the status of the present. The present, in other words, is the pause between the breaths, neither inhale nor exhale but the hiatuses between the two. This claim, however, is false. The time of the present is not a pure rest, nor is time itself. Time itself does not breed anything, and, as such, beings should not feel compelled to subscribe to progressive movements regulated by steady pulses. Working back to the notion of Wright's slip, I wonder if time act rather as the condition of moving from one breath to the next, from one rhythm to another. Time as limit of possibility for rhythm.
Will Daddario is a historiographer, philosopher, and teacher. He currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina.