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Timothy Green

The Urge to Break Things

 


It comes on young and fast, first with toy trucks, then with

lead pencils snapped in half. Pinched flesh, plucked hair.
A little blood dabbed with a napkin. No one notices wounds

when they heal nightly. Smashed plastic fills the dumpster,

is hauled away, is hauled away. Remember how Jesus
walked on water? Well we test our faith on hot coals.

If there is a God, then pain is power, but there’s more to it

than that. There’s music in breaking glass. We all want to be
complicated. Both the adjective and the verb. An oxymoron

incarnate: matter that matters: chaos quietly controlled.

 


 

Lecture Notes On Wittgenstein Driving South

Even as he said it the picture held us captive

It was 1993 it was possible

A rented U-Haul—it was possible—could limp down the interstate on no gas
Filled with car-parts for the south filled with engines whose bodies had rusted out

We could stop for lunch at an overlook and make the birds scatter over a glass
Lake so dark that from the road it looked like a pit of sky

And you could point out the day-moon’s filmy crescent rounding the pit

And you could point out the water’s edge the foam crust
Rocks worn smooth from centuries remaining settled

The world is all that is the case he pointed out from a prison camp 1918

Years later a crow pecks at garbage in gravel you could point that out too

It lifts a used condom in its black beak chewing and chewing impossibly at rubber
You could say Protein and laugh a little on the inside

He said there was no private language that the inexpressible was senseless

We could press on down the coast throw our cardboard cups out the window
Sing Cats in the Cradle like drunks like a father and son like Thelma and Luise

He renounced his family fortune became a schoolteacher a scholar
An assistant gardener for a monastery in Vienna

He called logic a reflection of the possible world we made ours

We could pace the room there like a caged tiger
We could run at the walls let the flies out of all the fly-bottles
We could play chess without the queen at sorrow without guilt
We could throw out the ladder

We could press on down the interstate yelling Cocksucker
Whenever we’re cut off in traffic and still not know
What words mean beyond other words
What is a thing with no sense

We could spit venom like a machine-gunner in the Austrian Army

Where he said a picture of the facts is a thought

We could spray sentences like buckshot
Silence like a world forever at war

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