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DE-ICING THE WINGS / Carol Muske They are de-icing the Eastern shuttle— men in yellow masks stand on the wings in the hard sleet and hose gold smoke over the hold. The book on Cubism in her hands shakes when they rev the jets. She is going somewhere to teach somebody something, to talk to people sitting in solemn rows, an orchard of note-takers, writing the words dadaist disassociation over and over. She can't find the page in her lecture notes where Bergson says an image is the visual equivalent of a musical chord. . . so maybe she can just walk into the classroom, throw away the book and say: Here's what your teacher did wrong in her life— and here's what's wrong out there on the runway— the same thing! Look how we try to de-ice the surface, in large-handed, smoky swipes at intimacy, not getting down to the fragile, battered metal, the trouble-armor, which, under nonstop high stress, disintegrates in thin air! Something like these hands, students, which have not held another body with love in weeks—they hold the book to the heart, defensively. They keep the fine stylized stream of interrogation flowing close to the text, providing a pure reading of intention similar to the recognition of hunger in another. Or like a description of passion in language utterly riveting, where what the author desires beats so near to the surface. If you love literature, question its critics— 20 · The Missouri Review who are to that effort as landing gear and flaps are to the wings— still extended beneath your teacher, holding up as always, growing warmer now, by degrees. Carol Muske The Missouri Review · 22 ...


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pp. 20-21
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