Friday, March 8, 2013

Unorthodox Carpenters, Unorthodox Plumbers by Jefferson Hansen

                                     for my parents, who built the house I grew up in

Forgetting the hum and buzz of the fan. Ignoring the freezer kicking in. Radio news in the background—horserace politics, murders, stories about birdwatchers—drops to the floor before touching ears.

A Harley howling its way down the alley is not just a Harley howling its way down the alley. A morning glory opening to the dawning sun is not just a morning glory dawning. A cockeyed bookshelf is not simply a cockeyed bookshelf, nor is a level table merely a level table.

A table echoes: leaning forward from the green plastic chair to make my first pb & j sandwich over that white table on Columbia Avenue. Yet this table is tan, and was never on Columbia. A morning glory dawns into a bundle of symbols about awakening. I warm to them, however unjustified by the bare molecules. And something cockeyed creates nervousness, even if fully supported.

Worlds coalesce: a surface to place the tape measure, the vacuum in the closet relative to these crumbs on the carpet, a male voice droning out of the radio, slight breeze from the fan, pushing button to turn on vacuum, it sucks and howls, dancing with my arm, my feet, circling the crumbs, knee first aching (why did I hike yesterday?), then ignored.

Hesitancy. Approximation. Guesswork.

We are all unorthodox carpenters, except for carpenters, who are unorthodox plumbers.



Jefferson Hansen is the author of the novel …and beefheart saved craig (BlazeVox) and Jazz Forms (Bluer Lion), a selected poems. He is the editor of the Internet arts journal AlteredScale.

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