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94 SALLY KEITH THE ACTION OF A MAN He shot the man who took his wife. Muybridge did. Whiskey, whiskey & smoke, smoke— Outermost edge of the burning, burning sun— What does one do at the end of the day To soothe oneself? From the museum Seventeen miles to the ancient lake, Home to sea monkeys, brine shrimp & Bacteria that blooms. Of the epoch Pleistocene the lake once covered up Entire states. From any direction The sculpture is a spiral in shape. & How many tons of stone did it take? How many boxes breaking up light? Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water . . . North, North by East, Northeast by North . . . Weaving large baskets out of reeds Sent for from San Francisco The Cantonese, as in the deep Yangtze Canyons, lowered themselves down To blow out the rock. For the train itself For its speed, for steam, for the movement of steam Rising off, early motion photographers Held understandable intrigue. To see that exhibit take the elevator down Four flights, go out the front door Turn right two times and cross the bridge. It was an economy class rental, an Aveo, Entirely white. It was instantaneous: He shot him dead who took his wife. 95 * I was there that day without a phone. From blood comes blow and bloom, Etymologically. The wind blew. The water was said to be red. The wind Sounded loudest from the bluff where I sat Blowing inside the pelican wings, As air sifting stone. Unfulfilled Was Asa Whitney’s lifelong dream To see the tracks span the coasts. Occidental was the famous horse’s name Muybridge photographed for Stanford. To get to the gallery the bridge You have to cross is called the Taft, Northwest, Washington, DC. To get shellac, to coat the coils Sketched on the record, for the gramophone, First you had to find the bug: You punctured the bug to get the dye. Shellac as slang is to beat or thrash. The work was unusually dangerous Requiring the men to tamp black powder Into the holes, shallow in the rock face, Find a light for the fuse despite The strong wind. “Celestials” They called the Cantonese Because of the other world in which They believed. Where does one go To eat around here? At the end of the day What does one do to soothe oneself? I would have called. That much I know. 96 * The edges of the lake don’t seem to move. This was my first observation, apart from The sculpture, Smithson’s, the Jetty Pressed down into the salt, the crystals Of salt framing the shape. “Lake” According to Dürer was the best for red. According to Chesterton Red is the most joyful And dreadful thing in the physical universe. . . . He took whatever kind of transportation He could get: wagon, train, or else, a boat. He shot him dead. Whiskey & smoke. Whiskey for the railroad gangs, smoke Signals in the distant hills, threads of Smoke rising from the cigarettes. The directions I sent you are from my house. Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water . . . South, South by West, Southwest . . . The mountains look as though they broke. The black shadow casts across the flat Of the earth. Motion is somewhere else— I am convinced. It wasn’t that The waterfall most interested him (Muybridge) but the steam, movement Of the steam rising off. A tesseract. You can see it in his photographs. Shrubs hold up at right angles. A yellow bird is dead in the fresh oil slick. I just thought somehow we would keep in touch. Etymologically, lake once referred to linen And crimson, lake as in to leach, to like. 97 * Says the voice in the film circling the sculpture Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water . . . Southwest by West, West by South, West . . . Press your thumb into the sea. Drop the rock in the palm of your hand. Cubes of salt have attached to the black basalt. Saltbush, Fivehorn, Smotherweed, Little Sagebrush. The man shouts to his wife across the lake— Salt crusting the surface lets you walk out on top of it— There are mice living in the oil drum, rusted out. (& I don’t know whether to believe him or not.) Beside the jetty, an...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2325-730X
Print ISSN
1046-3348
Pages
pp. 94-99
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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