undiagnosed, a certain case. This family circle has many others, more or less
“severe” or “gifted,” and the condition is so common among us Campanese, that it is often seen as a
cultural characteristic. Perhaps the wedding of nurture and nature.
mandorla, almond shrine, reliquary, a cousin in earphones, siblings next door,
grandchildren born upstairs, fig-tree buried each fall, pomidori.
compulsion” is inapt, as is the equally clinical “ritualism.” Both connote only
mechanical and painful routine. Volute
returning is more descriptive. Volute as in a whelk’s lifeway.
with saying this is! this is! and this is! misjudged as shortcoming, as if there were anywhere else
to go beyond magnificent arrival. Everything revealed in the ordinary and every
verbal language is a second language derived from this.
garden, dresser-top, Pietà. (At the
1964 World’s Fair in Queens, a conveyor-belt sidewalk
carried us past Michelangelo’s
sculpture. But we Campanese have more
in common with his Pietà Rondanini.)
Polo returned with the first evidence that Italians are Chinese. Italians are
also Vietnamese, as a juxtaposition of maps makes clear. A woman’s boot / a
woman’s carrying-pole. Culturally, too: centrally situated imperial and
religious capitals Rome and Hué set apart north
(civilized) and south (decadent). Exquisite tongues. Love of mother and coffee.
Brutal periods of French dominion. American gangsterism.
life, world, compass…
thus emigrant. Emigrant thus immigrant. A sea-journey in every case, hurricane
swirl is dao’s embodiment.
preoccupation with microscopes beginning in adolescence, specifically with that
birthday gift of a Gilbert 60-400 power
instrument. With or without eyeglasses, looking into the eyepiece. Trying not
to close the unused left eye (sometimes covering, eventually closing it). Tilt
an unseen illuminating mirror until the circular field flashes white. Insect
wing or antenna. Onion skin. Rotifer. Diatom. Push slide left to go right,
right to go left, up to go down, down to go up—following life.
embryonic swirl contains:
of woman’s shoe
iris/ hurricane eye
petroglyph at Fajada Butte
or Paleolithic tomb, grotto of mysteries or oracle, storm or root cellar, maze
or animal burrow.)
are missives—transmissions from caves, Lascaux and Les trois freres and the lampblack on a peasant ceiling in Avellino. The first painters blew
pigment around their hands, negative images onto cavewalls. Repeatedly, and
across generations: hands upon hands. After each storm a freshwater stream ran
again over stone in deeper recesses until a goddess was left to behold. Spontaneous arising—there’s no other