The Dahlias

By | 7 January 2008

My reluctance to choose York Street didn't last long, at first simply finding myself there, then deliberately heading up or down, what with the light slanting just right, it must have originally been a ridge above the harbor. Then, the native grasses in front of one house & an empty lot, most of which I can identify by name, which gives added pleasure: timothy, yellow & red foxtail, along with a solid stand of Joe-pye weed in full bloom. Today I chose it on my way back from the farmers' market up on Congress, where I purchased a couple of pots of dahlias, my favorite flower. At the corner of York & High, after reminiscing delightfully about the Guadalajara & Mexico City flower markets, recalling too that dahlias originated there, the sun was turning me toward it, pressing viscerally against my skin. Suddenly some of my recent readings made complete sense. Without going directly to the pages, it had to do with language's ability to harness drives, drives that are at once aggressive, destructive, & potentially pleasurable. According to Kristeva in Revolution in Poetic Language there's a lot of repression going on regarding those drives, but that some few poets, (she cites Mallarmé & Artaud), are able to let the energy speak for itself. She calls the space of reverberation prior to language the chora, & the inevitable end product, 'art,' is derived from the act of a word that has always been close to my heart: aesthetic. That's it. Standing there on the desolate corner of York & High, my senses deriving a truth out of the haptic touch of the sun, the image of the grasses I knew I'd see along the next block, & the dahlias.


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