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Callaloo 25.4 (2002) 1028-1033

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Chromatic Sequences

Ed Roberson


Form in early movies       flickering
leaves       in the outline of the canopy

color lost as if each
leaf alight were a dart of flame off

green             gone ashen to the eye
each leaf a page smoke       the distance

each page has come
is:             the haze of

            history in steps
each past raising its shade of dust each veil
the distance

the movements
of time and form as one tree after the other tilting
            the eye watches
the thin air       but sees the wind

with no evidence
but in this frame sequence       a taken fading


but time       a taken fading [End Page 1028]


we were not seeing movement
the frames put the leaf
each time in a different place than
we remember seeing it before
we were not seeing movement
the frames were slower
than we could ignore
what looked like time were measures

taken:       there was no movement through them
we were seeing       it was only seeing we saw

About the trees bending as a seeing
of the wind:

I use this sighting all the time
but see the wind as clearly no clearer there
in its footsteps

see no more appearance than
the look       of movement

see its alias       the invisible
filmed man       but have
only a crushing of snow afoot

Such passing for nothing
such crushing of surface, mountain quarries into
cities       such crunching of past

into this moment
we see       everything moving out of
            sight [End Page 1029]

3 (Chromatic Spatiality)

Recall the car, the eight people cramped inside,
the large landscapes of talk and
excitements often in the wrong
lanes       opened by faith and innocence,
both in which we innocently had so little
faith, proceeding through the closing openings
in traffic just in time.
                  Beside the road,
recall someone had set the sapling
of a small willow in
the huge space eventually
its grace would take,
and how the color of it that spring
already filled

The spaces of color more than simple
aerial perspective
                  - those waves layering
to less distinction each color to that blue
so barely seen it's clearly some place else -

go in other directions, create
even other separations
                  than heaven and earth.
i.e., the increase of intensity in that
direction       towards me (as well as) the closer to

me if me (=       / here
is a color       also depicts location and place
                  in this country. [End Page 1030]

4 (1948: Art and Third Grade)

Closely observed realities gain ground
over religious and classical subjects
Most have a hard-edged horizon near the middle
Not much to balance one at a time       but together

extremely uncertain as resolution       vertiginous
All kinds of smart alignments and blind pairings

Earliest of those purely observed what
I felt only myself see       by the third grade
was meat in the butcher shop       pig's feet
the skins looked like my seat partner's hand

and I felt this sadness for her       she was ugly and
she wasn't supposed to be being white
it was my secret that I could see it
as meat       and supposed to be s'pose to be really looked at

A single voice

this stray singing,
the vocal line

of an assembled

from which the eerie anarchy
of it all

derives a solitude. [End Page 1031]

5 ( advance )

      In this latitude the leaves
are more beautiful shot
from their trees.       The object

to secure the movement of
artillery       lines also lines clearly forwarded as
coverage, news.       The art of engraving

records a Civil War sniper       the leaves edited out
taken out in the leave in/ leave out of working the metal:
he is drawn hit       through his cover,

a foliage transparent to the picture
as well as to the shooter.

      This picture, the double plate printing,
important       page in journalism,
exposes in the line between

the two,       the limitations
on size for newsplate at that time;       the piece
together of seeing, of what is printing and what is

important       A line
which       would disappear in the appearance
of photography as newer news, as more...


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