What is The Language Using Us For #7

Graham (1918 – 1986) probably never experienced flashing cursors, those pixelated staves pulsing at the start of every sentence to the rhythm of feed-me, feed-me, feed-me.

Yet this is what I see at the beginning of this poem: an animated cursor (curser?) called Malcolm Mooney, who is also the poet (“he is only going to be/Myself”) and us (“slightly you/Wanting to be another”) – trudging through “the white language” with its associations of snow,  fear of the blank page (or mind),  the paradoxical plenitude and emptiness of existence.

Everything is Waiting For You (interesting experiences, sentences, relationships) versus Nothing Is Waiting For You (loss, abandonment, despair).

I watch the cursor/curser on my screen at the beginning of this poem, moving before and after language as it spools out behind him like the spume of a speedboat. Mooney clomps across the page, but so did the pen before he ever existed to bring him into existence.

What is the language using us for?
Said Malcolm Mooney moving away
Slowly over the white language.
Where am I going said Malcolm Mooney.

I was curious why Mooney might be moving “away” rather than towards us. Perhaps this is the feeling as we wade through language that the very things we are trying to encapsulate in lettered permutations called ‘words’, slip out of our linguistic grasp the more we wrestle with them. So rather than staying here, just saying what we need to say with a vocabulary more or less attuned to our feelings and thoughts, we find ourselves over there, wrestling with something or someone, not quite sure what brought us to this place, and where to next.

Where am I going said Malcolm Mooney.

There’s no question mark. All questioning is ultimately rhetorical when the existential pickle jar gets opened and the full or half-sour dill gets yanked out once again for us to gnaw on.


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