My left leg has no feeling (What is The Language Using Us For #10)

Slowly over the white language
Comes Malcolm Mooney the saviour.
My left leg has no feeling.
What is the language using us for?

Even after saying these lines about a hundred times, I’m still thrown by the leg. You too would be thrown by a leg that had no feeling. You’d put your weight on it, get no feedback from the nerves and muscles, and topple.  As does Mooney (“He fell./He falls”).

I google ‘Leg Numbness’. Might be circulatory (deep vein thrombosis), orthopedic (a degenerative disk disease), or even neurological (alcoholism, MS, a stroke). I am tempted to see what Graham died of, but then I would spend the next hour swimming in porridge{{1}} rather than thinking about the poem{{2}}.

My initial hypothesis is that it is Graham’s way of saying that he feels unaffiliated within himself. Some parts of him profoundly alive (speaking, singing, soul-occuring) others not. We all have those numb, unincorporated, disconnected, dead parts in us, don’t we?

This disconnection is connected to feedback, or lack of, I realise only now having written so far. One sends out an intention, a communication to the body (and/or another) by “doing”, moving in this direction rather than that. Hopefully, if everything’s working well, the “folded message” (for your eyes only, even anonymised eyes behind computer screens) gets a response.

The nerve endings feel the brain’s bulletin and pass it onto the muscles which begin moving seemingly under your control. If your left leg, or any other part of you has no feeling then presumably communication has broken down.

Or maybe there’s just too much “porridge” in your life obscuring the sensations you need to feel, hiving off attention in ways that leave you no resources for focusing on the messages you need to read.

As I get up from the computer to make my morning porridge (of the cereal variety), I have playing, earworm-like in my head, John Cale’s Fear (is a man’s best friend).

I wonder what the language is trying to tell me with this?

[[1]] After reading Ilya Kaminsky’s take on a Hans Christian Andersen story, I now think of the Internet as a little pot able to cook up endless supplies of porridge. Far too much to eat of course, so asphyxiation will invariably result at some point. I also think of that line attributed to Neil Diamond: “You can’t have two lunches.” As much as I love porridge, I can’t really stomach more than one good bowl of it a day. No surprise then that our consumption of the Internet becomes listless, wayward, disengaged after the first few clicks.[[1]]

[[2]]Which I did anyway, but not on the trail of Graham’s Grim Reaper, but rather trying to track down the original fairy-tale.[[2]]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *