Part of the section “Jones” from The Alphabet by Ron Silliman appearing in Writing 25.
— who knows what a fact is, solid ground … versus, say, drip grind in the rain forest … versus, say, verses.
I’m not sure if the ellipses mark out pieces left behind in the selection or if they are part of the piece — I/we would have to check against the published version of The Alphabet. It is so often the case that periodical publication is later revised for the book form…
In any case, complete or incomplete, it is the play on “versus” and “verses” that drew me to this passage. What kept my attention was the assonance and the repetition of sound (like the rain). “gr” [ground/grind], short vowel “i” [solid/drip], terminal “nd” [ground/grind]. And taken word by word, there emerges from a slow reading an image of the brewing of a fine cup of coffee and the verses float above it all like steam. In case you may think that the invocation of a cuppa java is a stretch consider that “Jones” is dedicated as an “Homage to Bromige” — David Bromige begins “Are You Coming or Going Through That?” with what could be interpreted as instructions for Silliman’s piece:
In order to recognize it name it before you know it.
Having begun, stop before you can begin, or lose what you began.
And this as much as it is instruction is also description. It is what we do when we turn. When we compose verses. And whether Bromige’s lines appear before or after Silliman’s matters little — they are joined by the transversal of language… and its possibilities.
And so for day 1006