the writer is always a fantasist

The writer is always a fantasist, because words are not the things they describe.

One can wander in the far lands of the extraction of etymology, but nothing gives the picture like the exploded view.

Therefore one must diagram, and in making a diagram, you fall in love with the diagram, you make excuses for the state of the diagram, you tell people that this diagram is the best, you have nightmares that this diagram is the worst, but nothing can prepare you for how little the diagram is like the processes and states of matter which exist in real time.

One makes maps.

This map tells me distances inside the ‘lower mainland’. This map helps me gauge how many kCal to pedal a bicycle up that hill. This map tells me what geology I will encounter when I dig. This map tells me about the snaking tubes of metal and concrete, plastic and glass, that run under the surface. This map tells me what mammals are common to this part of the world. This map tells me what the odds are that my home will experience earthquake damage. This map tells me about the airspace above my home. This map tells me what stars are above my dwelling place and how far they are from me. This map shows me where the highway traffic cams are. This map shows the arrangement of the planets and major bodies in the solar system. This map shows what languages were and are spoken on this land. This map shows a picture of every house on every street, but not the alleyways. This map shows every street including the alleyways. This map shows the tallest trees by species. This map shows the strangest architecture. This map shows the location of an abandoned cemetery. This map shows the heron rookeries. This map shows all the known external locations for the CW show Supernatural. This map shows buried treasure but the raccoons already dug it up and ate it so imagine the nine year old coming back and seeing a hole in the ground where the candy was. All of these maps beg you to imagine. And there are thousands of people for whom a map is an affront, for nothing in their brain works that way. None of these maps are connected except in my mind. They never will be connected. They will never be overlaid. They exist together, floating one on top of another, only in this poem; for a moment you too can hold them up there in your mind, having been given this sketch. Then the paragraph finishes and this time tomorrow you will not remember that it happened.

One writes because it’s in your head and has to come out. One writes because there is something breathing in your ear; there is no control, between the impetus and the page, merely a hint of directionality. One writes because the variation between the imagined and the real is a big play-space and most of it has not been explored yet. One writes because one wants to rid English of its colonialisms and make it the one true argot of freedom, breaking its chains, filling in its scandalously tiny trove of words for relations. One writes because how else is one to demonstrate how vastly different one is from everyone else; and simultaneously how dragged-through-drains dirty and boring and pedestrian one is, although if one is hosed down and buffed up and stood under a certain light one might pass muster at a public gathering. One writes because it’s always personal. One writes because it’s always political. One writes because there is a special someone waiting for your words, if your words survive. One writes because the past made you do it. One writes because the future is begging. One writes because no matter how grey and recondite the subject, the words are not the things, and even that most noble academic is a fantasist, though her choice of words is not lightly made, is not an accident.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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