Monday, June 23, 2014

Images of Erasure

Today we walked to a local sandwich shop to eat some of their acclaimed sandwiches while we waited for the new cover to be installed on the truck bed. I found (and left) this mysterious still life on the footing to the pillars over the eating porch on the way in. The mysteriousness of the small orange was somewhat lessened when I found a pile of them inside: an apple or an orange was included with each sandwich. Still, I think this image could be the start of a good poem. And still I am wondering: who lost her shoe? Did she toss away the other one and walk home barefoot? Or did it fall out of her truck after she changed to her sneakers?

There are many other quote-worthy paragraphs in the Edward Hirsch interview of Derek Walcott in the Paris Review, Winter 1986 issue. But the one I saved for tonight is this one. Tomorrow we may transition to the current Paris Review with its splendid interview with Henri Cole!

People who come out to the Caribbean from the cities and the continents go through a process of being recultured. What they encounter here, if they surrender to their seeing, has a lot to teach them, first of all the proven adaptability of races living next to each other, particularly in places like Trinidad and Jamaica. And then also in the erasure of the idea of history. To me there are always images of erasure in the Caribbean—in the surf that continually wipes the sand clean, in the fact that those huge clouds change so quickly. There is a continual sense of motion in the Caribbean—caused by the sea and the feeling that one is almost traveling through water and not stationary. The size of time is larger—a very different thing in the islands than in the cities. We don’t live so much by the clock. If you have to be in a place where you create your own time, what you learn, I think, is a patience, a tolerance, how to make an artisan of yourself rather than being an artist.  
                           Derek Walcott

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