Spring 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2005 |

Synapse

Darknesse and light divide the course of time, and oblivion shares with memory, a great part even of our living beings; we slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest stroaks of affliction leave but short smart upon us. —Thomas Browne, Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall "It's a construct," she said. Like everything? No, like lecture notes. You pick a subject ("Death from the Renaissance to the Restoration," "The Nervous Breakdown in Popular Culture"), survey a hundred books, a thousand. Certain qualities possess you: Veracity, Tenderness, Morbidity, Zeal. You shape your notes, elide them, distort them, rework them semester by semester until one day the pages tatter and blear, and you're left with a bluish distillate of the inky serifs and tittles of your apprenticeship, a bruise-colored idée fixe from a past composed of texts: your boyish fervor for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, your grave enchantment with Urne-Buriall. "'If only I hadn't read the

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Darknesse and light divide the course of time, and oblivion shares with memory, a great part even of our living beings; we slightly remember our felicities, and the smartest stroaks […]

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