20 Looks at The Lamb, 8: Gesture and Context

If I could only point at something immovable,
Point or gesture, with complete accuracy
Accuracy dependent on no general context
Dependent on no central metaphors
Like Lamb or Broadway or Knock and Know-All

It shouldn’t even be “I” who points, but only
A pointing, only a line of force gone out
From no particular finger, to a meaning that
Hangs there nowhere, above nothing, nothing
Providing anchor or hook for hanging, as if
Hanging were no death sentence at all, but
A gesture that no one could misinterpret

Or no one even there to interpret, why not
The thing itself, ripped from Wallace Stevens’ verse
Presented without these images caked with mud
With blood, with sinews of significance that hang
Together so stubbornly, despite my rage for clear
And distinct seeing that is not seeing by any eye

If meaning could hang in midair, simply meaning
(without division like that, as noun and verb)
Then Rael would never have had to die, the lamb
Would never have had to lie, the meaning
(Whatever that “thing” might be) would freely float
The pointing only being at itself, and to itself

The interruptions are what I notice today, the songs
That elsewhere sing, but jut out into the Lamb’s domain
With lights that are always bright, or clouds that
Wander lonely as a single word, or the man
Who can’t be a man if he doesn’t smoke Winstons
Knocking and knowing as if it were rocking and rolling
Referrals that leap across chasms of signifying space
With nothing on Evel Knieval aside from invisible
Rocket-powered turbo-booster fuel-injected nothings
Pushing meanings that need no push, that cannot move
At all, because context isn’t needed after all

Pointing, meaning, indicating, showing, having in mind
They all require difference, don’t they? Distinction or
Maybe “long division,” that phrase that scared us silly
As schoolkids, when we first were learning that truth
Instead of sitting nowhere, somehow requires our work
Requires a toil, a test, an effort extended into a quest
A narrative form with suffering and death and noise
And uncomfortable silence too at times. Difference.

John and Rael are like that, have you noticed?
Difference, sameness, difference, oscillation of identity
Seeming in the seventies nearly trite or formulaic
With all that Eastern stuff, that Cozmik Debris said Frank
Dessert must be Eastern though Supper was Christian
The difference like John vs. Rael is the gesture
The pointing that signifies only from symbolic friction
From images bumping and grinding and sparking
Only with violence meaning what they mean

Ravine and rapids, a rip in the world as text, as story
Cage and cave, an eddy in a semiotic flux and flow
Windshield on freeway, an apocalyptic anticlimax
Freudian Slippers slimy with ambiguous tension
Can’t the said here simply be said, a saying
Accomplished, enthroned, entombed, embalmed
And mounted on an appropriate plaque to hang
(Again with the hanging?) upon a museum wall
But no, there’d still be seers, trooping by on tours
Not the fixed, denoted gesture minus pesky context


If Rael is a gesture, if Rael’s story is a gesture
If every word about Rael is a gesture the whole
Damned thing is a gesture and nods the direction
It wants understanding to go from its context
Not from a hardbound volume or notarized script
If The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’s a text
It only succeeds as a text within a larger text
The texts get larger, but never cease being texts
Rael dies, and loves, and suffers, and cries for
The brother that all of us long to find the same
But is stubbornly endlessly infinitely Other

Listen to the otherness there in The Lamb that is
Really no otherness at all but the same cursed
Otherness always required for anything anywhere
Anytime at all to have a meaning.  For whom?
For anyone other than The Lamb who would listen
Though listening makes the difference dissolve
And mean, and point, and gesture at something
That we wouldn’t have without Rael and John
And have it we can, though the having is never
A having and holding for death does its part

Listen in context, be taken from context, and shown
Within context that context is always required
And we never break out from context to meaning
But never is context all there is.  Never.

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