In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Discourse 24.1 (2002) 8-22

[Access article in PDF]

Don't Know

Richard Foreman

Hence, the most beautiful flower.
Hence, the certain likelihood of its being plucked.
Hence, that beauty migrates.

Two children sat waiting in the small station. They were ugly. One of them held a beautiful flower. A woman, obviously their mother, equally ugly, entered and sat beside them. She glanced at the flower, and a patch of redness excited itself in her brain.

The next day at the same time, the same family on the same bench.

What would happen: was it predictable?

He stopped writing. He had felt the need to write. Then he stopped. A memory flooded, water, the ripples reflecting a low sun. Hundreds, from one.

Something rolled like thunder from the hills. What was it? Thunder. But no thunder—no sound. Just the rolling. It entered him.

A hollow space in the center of the city. Such was alluded to by the walk of the young man towards the north side of the street.

The sun, the sun. An empty hole of brightness that penetrated the city in at least five evocative locations. The way up was analyzed.

A man hesitated at the entrance to a tobacco store, and the young man crossing the street saw the hesitation and echoed it, mentally. Did a bell ring? It was the sun. I saw it (or regretted it): one didn't. Inside the tobacco store, a middle-aged man was smoking a cigar. He looked through the plate glass window that said "Smoke" and saw all there was to see. But he couldn't, perceptually, re-process all that he saw so all that he saw, hovered, full of holes. [End Page 8]

The young man continued. That meant, he disappeared, through the use of his feet. But one direction was erased by others. Under the blanket of streets, he motivated his listlessness with beauty. It appeared to him in its various forms, re-energized by a cloud that wiped out meaning.

Here, this perfect, translucent face shone with the glow of a forgotten-not paradise that rolled forward the heavy freight train of easy collisions.

Is this paradise?


And I find myself reflected in all mirrors.


So, if I unpack my suitcase, and its contents tumble over the floor—

Oh, eventually, it's all . . . re-collected. Are the gods here yet?

Hence, under the influence of April, the roses turned color and eluded me.

The Gods support me, so that I float an incalculable and small distance over the floor.

Therefore, I ask you to be seated.

I think the Gods hover, disturbed, outside the window.

Hence, the window breaks.

Hence, the flowers in the hair tremble.

Hence, the solid apple falls from the sky.

When I'm threatened, the Gods form impenetrable lines of force.

How fortunate for the one so protected.

I'm not protected. I'm . . . distracted.

You mean your enemies are distracted.

No. I have no enemies.

Hence, the clouds part, and an idea vanishes. [End Page 9]

Could I remember a story that might make you like me best?

Best of . . . ?

Well, best of all.

(Story from earlier)


A hollow space in the center of the city. Therefore, the generation of impulse. Therefore, the foot that defies its appropriate direction.

A young man faces space, which is achieved by looking through a window in the room of his hotel. The woman at his side looks elsewhere, but her heart is with his heart. The light that encircles them both, a motif registered or not registered, that expands, endlessly.

Hence, the smoke rose.
Hence, a sense of direction.
Hence, the stress and strain of possibility, like an ache inside the eye when the eye is closed tight, doubly.

Were you beautiful when you were a child?

I think not.

Was your mother beautiful?

I think not also.


Lift your hand. Lift both hands from the sides of your body, like wings.

I've never done that.

Do it now.

(Thinks) No.


I'm not beautiful.

But that's not being questioned.

(Pause. She lifts her hands...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 8-22
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.