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Timothy Donnelly

Twenty-seven Props for a Production
of Eine Lebenszeit


Let there be lamps of whatever variety
presents itself on the trash heaps. Let chance
determine how many, but take pains
to use only low-watt bulbs, and keep the lion's share
flickering throughout the performance.
In particular, one gooseneck should pulsate religiously
on the leeward corner of an escritoire,
which is a writing table, or an unhinged door

suspended on sawhorses. These will be spattered
in a clash of pigments, signifying history.
Dust is general over all the interior.
You are very tired. You are very weary.
On the floor, one carpet, its elaborate swirling
recalling the faces of wind on old maps.
And let there be maps, at least half reimagining
the world according to a scattered century:

a shambles, patched. Now for the wall-clock
which hangs prodigiously over every act. Let's rig it
so the hour revolves in a minute, the minute
in a blur. Grab hold of an enormous mirror
and mount it divinely - that is, too high to bear human reflection.
And what do you call it when you can't endure
the scraping of the blades of all creation?
There'll be a bucket of that, another for the suet,

a third marked SESAME but filled with sand.
Place this last a judicious distance
from the bamboo cage in which one ostrich, plucked,
stands Tantalus-style, its beak eternally
approaching the rim of the third of the buckets.
Does the bird want seed, or is it onto the trick
and terriWed, frantic to bury its head in the sand?
Will it never end? But look who I'm asking!

Take your worry to the sofa, lie there.
There's a pillar of books and a French periodical
on either side. Before you know it,
it's always midnight. Now the owl of Minerva
takes its flight down the nickel wire.
Now a dampness pumps from the tightened fist
of a cold contraption, a sort of inverse
radiator, and you can't control it, and it isn't pretty.

Tell me you love me. There's a severed hand,
or is it a fruit peel? Tell me you love me
and I make it mild. Take your panic to the sleigh-bed,
slump there. There's a snatch of heather
and a cracked decanter on the starboard side.
Before you know it, it's always never.
You know I hate it when you whimper, don't you?
Now shut them big ambiguous eyes.

Aus: Die neue Sicht der Dinge. luxbooks 2008
(Twenty-seven Props for a Production ... Grove Press 2003)

Timothy Donnelly    12.07.2008

Timothy Donnelly