and it rolled
i put it down and it rolled. i followed it and it stopped. i
stopped and it was
stopped then. it rolled again and i followed it again and it kept rolling.
and this is
all i have to say about the perilous situation that i faced then
that night and afternoon following. but when we stopped for breakfast or rather i
stopped. it had stopped and i thought it might stay stopped. and so i went in and
had breakfast. but when i came out it had not stayed stopped. it had rolled. i
assume it rolled. i did not know where it had rolled to and i wandered. slowly was
the best i cd wander having eaten too many slices of pies with ice cream. this is
becoming a story about something else no matter how hard i try for it to be.
someone cd have picked it up. somehow i know that it rolled. no one picked it up.
it rolled off while i was eating slices of pies for breakfast with ice cream.
a bus passed and then it too rolled by and i followed it
again. the bus went right
and it rolled left. it rolled on. this really is the beginning. it rolling on and my
following it. and right now i am wishing for a glass of water. i am looking off to
sea. i am standing at a precipice. it stopped here and i stopped. i stopped first
and then it stopped. if i was asked i wd still say that i was following it. i did follow
it. but it rolled off and i sat down. there seems no way down.
there was a stone beside me. it was
round. it wdnt roll. i tried to roll the
stone but it fell over and it fell over again and i tried some more. the stone fell off
too. i watched it fall and then i cdnt see it.
i had the thought that many things were rolling. it seemed
to me at that moment
that many things were rolling. i expected that if i were to look around then i wd
see so. i wd see that everywhere everything was in its way rolling. i looked around.
the air how does it move ?
tried to roll as i walked away. i tried to roll in my walking. i tried a
walking roll or
rolling walk. i don't know if i did it. i wished fervently that i was rolling and maybe i
did roll. if you were rolling the way it had been rolling then i think that you wdnt
know it. you wd know that you were. we all know that. you wd not know yr rolling
yr rolling-ness if you happened to ask. you wd feel the world roll against you. or
under you you wd feel it roll.
far out on
the ocean i see a boat. i saw a boat then. i see it too now but now
it is not so clearly rolling on the ocean as it was then. now it is like picture of a
boat on an ocean not rolling. but then it was and i watched as the boat rolled out of sight.
a shell lay at the edge.
i knew it wdnt roll. i looked in
it and there was nothing.
but i listened and i thought i cd hear something rolling. i was sure that it was in
there and that bothered me as the shell had been there when it had rolled off the edge but if it had then how had it gotten in the shell. i put it to my ear and indeed
it was in there rolling.
with the shell pressed to my ear and my eyes closed i
listened to it rolling in there
and came to understand which way it rolled by whether it became louder or not
any louder or even more faintly in its rolling. i kept them closed and i walked. my
walking was to follow after it. it wd pause and i wd pause and it wd rush forward
and i wd try to rush. without looking i was scared to rush. i did the best that i cd.
after some time the shell became heavy in my hand. i felt
it. the shell in my hand
had grown larger. the sound of it rolling inside the shell had become more
cavernous as well and i opened my eyes. i pulled it over my head. it just covered
my eyes and so i was able to stare into the pale pinkness. this way too made it
much easier to hear where it was rolling. it made it even loud and i became very
good at following it. i followed it and followed it and it seemed that i didnt need
even to think of it. i became bored in fact with thinking of it but i still did it.
following where it rolled was a joy. thinking about it was more like thinking about
something else. a thing that you werent sure of at all. a thing like the answer to a
question that you dont know. i thought instead about the beating of my heart and
the rushing of my blood in my ears and about horses. i thought about electricity
running thru my body and i tried to think about the pale pinkness in front of me. i
tried but i cd not really i wd just let the pale pinkness hold me and surround me
and i wd not be not thinking but i wd not be thinking either.
thought about horses. i saw that the sound of rolling and the
electricity rolling like sap inside of me was all contained in the horse that i thought
about. the horse's gait was a rolling and it did not gallop. it was a shaggy horse.
pink strawberry pies i thought about and i thought about
rosy ice cream. when
my thirst became unbearable i became startled by a sound and it wd be the sound
of rolling that i had been all along following wherever it might go but that i had
forgotten about. i was in a surrounded place pink and with my shaggy horse and it
was easy to forget about the rolling.
when my thirst became a storm of wind that whipped around
the shell around my
head and the light dimmed at clouds i worried that i wd lose the sound of it rolling
and become lost. it may be that i was lost. i was not sure sometimes that i was
hearing the sound of it rolling and i worried that i was hearing nothing and
imagining that i heard it.
that all of
this was imagined or that i had been wandering lost and deluded
worried at me and swelled before me and i cd almost see it.
and the light
became very dim and the pale pinkness was no longer pale
but a deep inky watermelon and i followed it. i followed it because i trusted that
the sound of rolling was the root of everything. and as i knew that as i said to
myself that i knew that and knew that i did i felt a thing roll against my leg and
roll off. this was a sign.
some things are hard not to notice no matter how hard how
thickly you are
noticing other things. i was thinking about the shaggy horse and it's rolling way of
going that was not galloping at all but smooth and fast downhill and very like i
dont know what. it was like a ball. almost like that at least. and i was riding it now
slowly over the crest of a hill in the fading watermelon ink of how things were just
then and down the hill we rolled faster and faster together and i held to the
shaggy horse thinking it and would not have noticed if i cd have known not to as
the ride was so wonderful. but i noticed. i was wet.
i was in the
water and i was still naturally following the rolling which was a
joy and i followed it as a discipline but i was wet to the waist now and following
the rolling into deeper water.
were dogs that chased me on horseback and did not roll but ran
limping and stiff limbed as if their legs were different lengths. but they were fast.
they ran around and around my horse of my thinking and our rolling together
wasnt rolling us away as they ran ever in every direction and around and around
us. my doubts began to sing and i held onto the sound of rolling as you might
cling to a fast rolling horse down a steep hill beset by dogs all around and i tried
to hear only the sounds. of rolling. of the wind passing. of even the feet of the
dogs on the ground which was no longer inky watermelon but a charcoal plum.
i listened to the sound of the water at my neck and i followed the sound of rolling.
the dogs were singing;
yr nothing is really something
our nothing is yr something
that is not a sea¾horse
yr thinking is no no no no
yr something is really nothing
yr nothing is no not much
yr thinkings a whinny¾rolling
no no that's not water's touch
the sound of rolling wd become lost in the song of the dogs
that were my doubts
and my thinking of the horse was rolling away and i was left behind and the water
i knew that i
cd not escape the dogs. i knew i wd soon be adrift. i knew that
i was in water and wet. i knew that the rolling was getting further. that the rolling
was getting further away and i gave up. i gave up and let go and just listened to
the end of it coming. i listened and i cd hear the rolling in some distant place and
i cd hear the dogs and their footsteps and i cd hear the water and i cd hear the
wind and i waited. and i knew that i knew.
rolling. and doubts. rolling and the dogs and their singing and rolling. rolling.
i thought i
knew the rolling. i thought i knew it. the connection between it
and the rolling i also thought i knew. but if i did know what i knew was that i did
the dogs sang their singing and i knew i did not know.
song. dogs. wet. my horse rolled away. the horse that was my
away. the horse that was my thinking that i thought i knew was gone and the
rolling was gone and the dogs that were my doubts were not. they were not gone.
my breathing was like rolling and i did not sink. i did not
sink and the rolling was
constant and the water was still. when i knew that i didnt know anymore i was
floating. i was floating anyway always before i knew but when i knew i knew i was
floating as i'd not known before. that was knowing something. when i knew that i
had known before i had known nothing. then i did not know the rolling even but
followed it as one beat follows another or as a ball rolls down a hill. my joy in the
following of it rolling was revealed to me to be floating and the dogs stopped singing.
i floated and
lay on my side sinking into the surface of the water as into a
pile of feathers. the water's touch touched my chin rolled across my lips and
along the bridge of my nose and then under the shell. i closed one eye and left one
open. one ear was in the water and one ear was not and both heard the rolling but
one heard it as something enormous and immanent and one heard it as the same
rolling it had always been and now it was a joy of rolling and floating is rolling too.
in this floating that was rolling i was. the wetness of the water was even and when
i rolled in the floating it rolled too away from part of me and onto parts of me
leaving me either dry or wet and the charcoal plum that was what i cd see was
lightening and there were flashes almost of orange as i rolled and rolled in the floating that is the same thing.
when i knew
that i had stopped rolling myself and was simply myself rolling
as all things are rolling and that this was floating that i was doing i noticed and
had noticed before but now i noted that i noticed that everything was orange and
no longer even the palest of pink much less inky watermelon much less charcoal
plum as it had been.
i took the shell from my head. i took it off. i looked up. i
looked into blue and there
was a sun that streaked the view orange and there was still blue to look into.
buildings rose around me and stood up in this blue. people wd pass. people wd
block them out and then they wd reappear as the people passed out of view.
i stood up
from lying down. i stood and i was floating and i was rolling and i
stood still too. people were floating and rolling and walking by. in the window i
saw a pie rack with lots of pies rolling. i saw a man and a woman rolling. a
newspaper rolled by and a car rolled over it and a child's cry rolled out into the air
floating in a pleasant thirst i rolled in to have something
like a glass of water. i
rolled off then. i had lots of work to do.
To hear the poet read this poem, click here.