alligatorzine | zine
Eric Selland Four Stanzas from Object States

The border passes through the interior like an invisible door. Finally I found the book, written in another language. I know this man, I said to myself, when I saw the words for north and island.

That was another country. And we were different people. The pink lanterns lined the river, demarking a city within a city. The importance of boundaries. The hand was found in a dream. The man without a face.

I come to a bend in the road now, and the stone steps leading upward. I read carefully the strange characters inscribed on the wall. The trial itself is transformed, little by little, into the sentence.

The language of propositions relating to finite objects. This is the door. The table, the shoe; the metallic pedestal upon which the many indescribable objects linked to the system are temporarily placed.

How one comes to terms with space. There are figures that rise up. What emanates from the figure. Nameless things in progress. Now past all those images, what happens to the pages.

A man walking in a movie, adrift in time and space. I walk across the lawn. The wet paper adheres to the sidewalk. A close reading. The excess of the subject.

The system exhausts itself in the process of its own unfolding. The autumn insects commence their nightly interlude. Then later a thick fog oozes up from the earth.

Virtually anything becomes material. The entire relationship. In which objects become visible to us.

Tossing the ashes like worn symbols, the words repeated three times. Boat and mirror, dream and bridge. Forms grown distant in the light.

The paintings occupied the entire dimensions of the wall, while on the opposite end of the room a picture window looked out over the city, cliffs and sea just visible in the distance. To forestall or interrupt, to displace or deconstruct. Objects which function as containers. This distance is the dialectic. The abyss that the text opens.

Entire passages were painted over again and again, lending the colors a subdued luminosity. The turn toward winter. Night filled with the chatter of distant voices.

The street also was quiet, giving rise to that series of shapes. Only this suspension of the face provides an opening. The limit horizon. The mirror’s surface. Space thus shattered into images.

Eric Selland is a poet and translator living on the outskirts of Tokyo. His translations of Modernist and contemporary Japanese poets have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. He has also published articles on Japanese Modernist poetry and translation theory. He is the author of Beethoven’s Dream (Isobar Press, 2015), Arc Tangent (Isobar Press, 2013), Still Lifes (Hank’s Original Loose Gravel Press, 2012), The Condition of Music (Sink Press, 2000), and an essay in The Poem Behind the Poem: Translating Asian Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2004). His translation of The Guest Cat, a novel by Takashi Hiraide, appeared in January of 2014 from New Directions Books and made it on the New York Times bestseller list.
The book Object States is forthcoming from Theenk Books by the end of 2018.
/ | © alligator 2018