Edward Williams


September 2011

Translucent Buildings

——There is no question that I believe–I keep coming back to it in my reflections–that a person who comes to my work with high expectations will read it differently from one who comes to it randomly.  Though sometimes I think quite the opposite! That a person who comes to my work with no expectations, will read it differently from one who already has delusions, I mean decidedly false hopes–of whatever variety they must be. Or, need I say it, there is the one wearing a ready frown. One way or the other, I am hopelessly confused, as to what state of mind I expect, or hope, my reader to be in! But the further and deeper truth is I generate more content just from thinking about this shifting, wary, expectant, hypothetical reader. I like that! My hypothetical reader!  Perpetually, I am in a very agitated state, I have a highly frivolous relationship with any reader who lights upon these passages, which in themselves are always propositions. My writing largely consists of an explanation of itself; it is essentially a defence, of a lifelong project, a drawn-out strategy, like an acceptance speech I keep giving, or a sermon couched in apologetic terms.   I am preparing notes, examining my own working methods, questioning my own logic, presently, for one or another of these meandering, though artful talks, which are considered in advance, then caught up in their own confusion.  This is the score, and the constant paradox, that I am preparing myself for what appears to be a spontaneous address, profoundly without regard for the actual audience. Because–strickly speaking I am going to be responsible to that audience, right around the corner,  just if and when I decide what the long prepared for occasion requires. I will have become totally voluble, just as I arrive at the abstract question of my usefulness. Abstract indeed, and swarming with a kind of promise. A cascading light.  One cannot tell from what direction this powerful, I want to say illicit, illumination comes. Whence it originates. In my path, though, are translucent buildings, somehow blotted out from afar, and yet bursting through the interior. It’s an expansive moment, in a vice grip.


The Future

——All through history people have sagely envisioned the world, the very ground where they walk,  as a perennial stage set, as if a thing existing outside of time–to study, but not to doubt as to its . . . foundation. Powers and precedents beyond have hoisted up the backdrop, like a classroom map one could unfurl, and study. Mentally, all of time still is there, serving this the planet we live on. Every day people walk around with the image of the world existing as separately from themselves, for it is there, isn’t it, all the time they are hopping around? But as they silently say that to themselves, walking back to the car, walking towards the event which, in the close and reachable future, awaits their presence–still, in their minds they are already wondering, and remarking to nobody in particular, how it got this way. And how they got in the groove. The stability of things is quite lucky; it’s almost a secret that you have this ability at all, to survive a slice of time. You might say nothing ever really surprises you. Events roll off you, because the superior attitude is to take things with some caution. And resonate in your being, yes, the very thing you are thinking to talk about, there it is!  Though it is so . . . obvious.  All the words are leaning and partaking of it.  And I am plagued, for the enabling of the person who lights upon it, the world has to be so strangely familiar, and totally real just for them–or else!  I always fear for you, my friend, who are going to stumble right in the moment of your reckoning.  And the horizon will crack. It is only a patchwork of general theories, how we got here, and this photograph of the future I brought, for discussion, can it sustain our fury? The funny world has to be precise, for us to experience it, I know that. Life, it is a foil, a crushing sacrifice, a daily defeat of any proposed meaning that could go beyond the setting.  The little city, it is rigged up. The order of what happens is verily construed so as to give us all triviality.  This is what makes us giddy.

The Streetcorner

——-The setting may seem to be lasting, but it isn’t eternal. The impression is flowing from one moment to the next, on this streetcorner where I arrive once again, stop and pivot.  The abberrant thought always hits me, right here. I think that reality cannot be witnessed by those who have left reality; for the vantage point is gone. Only the living can witness life, time is a medium all around us . . .   It could be that these great souls, the dead, these people who have passed out of life, have an alternate view of it. But that is just it, isn’t it? It would have to be quite different, unheard of, and  just to the degree that I hear the silence of the night around me.  Life is a  privileged arena, a totality without escape routes.
——No aerial view exists, that drumbeat scene just persists, and slightly alters its messages; the damp shadows, the unfocused moon beyond the splintering red lights, the brick wall–this is obscurity, tenuous, and it is all we know. It was the silent happening of the traffic light changing that quietly informed me, once again. A thought already formed, it just jumped into my head. The dead, nobody in history, knows I am here.
——I get the chilling idea that this world is on its own, and many others have gone off to join a different, majority view of the universe at large. This obscure street corner in time is abandoned to the only witness of one who passes by–whose forcible thinking drives him to dire, but spectacular conclusions, severing the moment from plausible eternities, condemning it to shreds of  memory.  Then I have to ask, where is this held, and how can it compete? I mean with the superior arrangements the dead have already discovered? I think to develop a superior attitude myself, as one who is stranded in life. In a mocking tone, in surviving, I challenge the baseline mystery.
——Many songs convey the idea, a scrapbook of emotions can be teleported to the longed-for dead, who are pictured as grieving.  Quite sincerely, with faultless lyrics, he or she absurdly tries to reckon a radical isolation, but in reality the night has louder voices.  There is no place to stand outside this whirling of artificial lights, there is no upper atmospheric view of things happening down here, in a skirmish.  As I bend down and pick up a nickel on the sidewalk. Or decide not to move, but stand rock still, which gets me only more into the center of this .  . . infallible universe.
——Time surrounds you, is jealous, it has sewn up alternate routes, including those in your thoughts. Memories are time-stamped, earthbound,  labelled in chronological order first of all. Oh yeah, that is the truest thing I have said yet; one knows more or less when it happened, even when they forget the what.  What might still be under discussion! I know exactly the order of my emotional discoveries, and cannot be controverted, in that arena.

A Person

——It seems to follow as transparent and obvious, that a person’s uniqueness, guaranteeing them salvation, is the same thing that is their constant opportunity and prevailing burden. A person, the stronger they feel their own existence, will keep changing into the very oddest representation. A person is collected in the events that happen around them, then newly reconciled along the way, as if in conversation with the person they have been. One becomes defiant, transparent, only comfortable with the one they have been,  all along. Absolute uniqueness is achieved, and inwardly known, while by the same process made invisible to others. Unshakeable life resolves a person into a bland, stalwart appearance, as if one’s rioting inner self had been deadened along the way.  Comically, life seems to be an experiment in fitting in, precisely where one does not. Irony, at first dear, becomes cheap. There are various sets of rules, but only sloppily observed. A person, what is a person?  The idea is a good one, if there were actually appearances to be made, in which a person was fully required!
——Alas, it is so complicated being a person, that the idea occurs that this complication is the person. The mood of it at least, shifting.. One becomes supremely aware that only they see the exact situation. The source of emotion is in that exactness.  Are there words for it? Ah, too many–all the words have an edge, the vocabulary is shaking.
——Alas, one dully keeps measuring his or her self against an assumed or an overheard or constantly broadcast standard, which is never exact. Exactly not exact, you might say. A person is  shifting to accommodate to what seems age-appropriate, or defying the same–which amounts to the same thing, as anyway they can never escape the odd reality of their own own awareness. Who is it that follows you around? Are you a representative human? Hardly!  You might stride right into a semblance of an ongoing new person, greeting opportunity as it shakes out. Sure, and I might engage the shadow of my youthful person, always burning to prove a point or two. You could burst into a new decade with a vibrancy that surprises everyone. Everyone says that! I anticipate that someone will say to me, in the very moment when I have achieved a great inner peace, why did you compromise?  That is one of the hopeful threads . . .
——But behind each of us lurks the triumphant, original person–who has an ability to keep the familiar trail, the certain person in mind, whom they’ve kept company with in many episodes, and repeating scenes.  Sometimes I barricade the doors at night, sometimes I wander outside and greet my shadow self, who is all alone in the sparse moonlit street.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑