From "The Falls"

by Craig Dworkin

Étrangement et singulièrement j'ai aimé tout 
ce qui se résumait en ce mot: chute.

—Stéphane Mallarmé

The snow is falls.
—Clark Coolidge

The streets, the falls.
 

The trewes, the gifts, the gavels.


The coming down, the first part.


The winters, the nights.


The grifts and runnels where the strewn leaves fleet as they leisurely spin in a lazy rotation. The slip,

downstream, of debris before logging, sub-merging, and instantly plumbing.


The sinks and leads; the leeds and patter.


An articulation of movement (the closed vista falls into the camp of enclosure); the previous prospects; the
cast of the ground—the planes away to the distance-vision's limit's strain.


The dregs of the ebb, the drain and quick suck through chameleon sand; the pervious screen of coarse sand water-worn stones.


Into place; out of fashion; out of favor; from grace; into line.


The engraved; the names in their cases.


​Heavy rain and a sudden passing.

The tributary branches and leaves.

The obligation falls to; the debts fall due; la chance oblige.

        The flaws; the rifts and slips; the stricken faults.

The palt as blanched leaves tribute the stream from  their boughs suggests a strict, unpredictable pattern.

        The distributed spread, the parabola's concavity.  Le cadavre par le bras. The dead; the wind; the free.

        The randomness of dice as they fall.

Whole flocks of leaves panic at the breeze, skimming the pavement with a scraped escape.

Some trees, even unheard, unseemly, beseech.    

        But the puppet is graceful because its limbs are what they should be: lifeless, mere pendula, and they follow the             laws of pure gravity.

        The pull at the cheeks as the lips turn down the protruding pout at the sudden conclusion.

        The check of the pawl.

All the manifold catastrophes—the point of fracture or collapse; the moment of capsize; breaking waves; changes of state (melting from solids; flocs from a colloid; aggregate stages: to precipitation from high humidity, from a coating to a drop, a bead to a drip; the slip from waking to sleep); each limen of a system—follow exactly the same mathematical model.

As when, suddenly, all rivers are downstream.

The balance on the verge, from the lip, to the cusp, over the crest, down the bifurcated fold to the saddle of the buckle—at any point a plunge could fall further.

The rest depends on the sibilant difference between a fall and a kiss (baiser; baisser), on the meaningless coincidence, the chance event, the lacking logic, on an empty accident, devoid and useless—the confusion of casus with cassus.

In the same way chance descends from cadere (to fall), with its unexpected reorientation, given over to gravity, in motion beyond our control.

That random, repeated link between falling and chance finds its rendezvous again in the French chanceler: to falter; to look as if one's about to stumble; to tumble; to slip; (of the memory) to fail.

And yet again, in German, the sheer coincidence plays out: Zufall (chance); fallen (to drop); Falle (a trap, a bed—what one falls into).

(In) love; (a) sleep.

A lost night's rest is not a catastrophe.
        The empty, the hollow. The dead, the free.

Compared to the person I love, the universe seems poor and empty. This universe isn't "risked"‚ since it's not "perishable". Carnal love, because not ‚"sheltered from thieves" or vicissitudes is greater than divine love. It risks me and the one I love. It hazards.

        To aim at a mark, to wager, to guess.

We are always falling, but sometimes we forget. And because there is motion, there must be emptiness, yielding and accident. Atoms plummet though an infinite void—they rain straight down, perfectly vertical, with only occasional swerves.

As when, on some september night, in the air, you can feel the end of something and the beginning of something else: a peripeteia; a recognized crisis; a clinamen—points in the drama with a sudden reversal.

A trama serves to plot the path to which the warp is at any moment wefted, along the lines of termination of the web, formed by the last weft-thread driven up by they lay.

Just as each beautiful day is also a meteor (se estrella las estrellas).

Until the moment of collision, some portion of unforeseen motion partitions the distance remaining.

        The tea leaves, the cake crumbs—the sound of a bell, the smell of fallen leaves—the chips as they may.

With blue caerulea stewed as a potion,a catananche (asterace) blooms in the brew. Infusions are taken as slopes speeding sleep. The sugars dissolve; the dyes diffuse; the thyme embitters as it steeps.

The blossoming losses accrue.

Cupidone blooms from mid-june to late august—the tender perennial grown as an annual, seed-sown in soil that drains.

        Then the sepaline drop, the wither. 

        Everything rinsed out, bleached pallid and spoiled. 

        The achenes, the scarious bracts. The cast and the blanched.

        The nights; the made weathers; the winters.

        The precarious, impending and staggered.

        From the scabs to the scars to the aches.

        The slid and the lanched.

        The wrench of the branched clastic carpals in catch.

The scales and bracts frame bundles of stamina bound by their filaments.

The fathomed petals scroll as they dry.

Phosphates drop while anthocyanins rise.

Maple stains the sidewalk after showers; burnt-earth red remains in soaked ghost silhouettes of frozen, settled smoke.

         The back and the back on; the rink of the belt.

        The sifting of fells. The tymp-arch for tapping of iron and slag. The gothic drop of the fauld.

        The victim to.

        The vitrified refuse and calcinate cinders; the furnace soot.

        The foot; the particular tread; every ambulatory moment; the other shoe.

        All the lymphatics.

        Each particulate in every suspension.

        The spillway, the mud spew, the quicksand. The draws. The fill from the point of extraction—the drays in translation all the way to the very point of deposit.

        The mudflow; the glue pour; the asphalt rundown; the endless displacements; the concrete overflow. 

        The outwash; the melt and the runoff; the watershed.

        And then—one's downward gaze pitches from side to side, picking out random depositions of salt crystals on the inner and outer edges‚Äîa vertiginous keel.

        The sudden declivities, the vague inclinations, an inaccessible precipice; precipitates.

 

—Craig Dworkin is the author, most recently, of Motes (Roof, 2011), The Crystal Text (Compline, 2012), Remotes (Little Red Leaves, 2013) and Chapter XXIV (Red Butte Press, 2013).  He teaches literature at the University of Utah and serves as Senior Editor to Eclipse.

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Excerpt
BOMB 126
Winter 2014
The cover of BOMB 126
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