by Larry Leonard
Letters are the bits of words. Words are the bits of sentences. As with a rising or setting sun of reason, they emerge out of the darkness become shapes in the world, then merge into the body of the past. We the people … a message about light held in trust within the darkness of a past mind.
Sit by a candle, which casts moving shadows. Animated memories flickering with life from the past. The deeper the past, the farther forward in time they portray the shape of things to come.
If poetry is archaic, out of date, not relevant, why are so many black lives being shaped by it? Why was Bob Dylan’s poetry the road map for the Sixties? Why is RAP the cultural force that is the foundation and support of the modern ghetto?
Why is it that works are stimulated by ideas sung by the pennants of the alphabet?
How can something emerge out of nothing? Is a letter a brick? If you have enough of them and they are of the right kind, can you combine them into the ideas cast on the hemp parchment of the Declaration of Independence, and send farmers with muskets to defeat the greatest military on the planet, and then cause the creation of a place and people of brilliance and strength.
And, the light which you have made with these shadows, what will become of it? Will you teach your children how to read by it?
The Shape of Things to Come
It is interesting being in limbo. I find my eyes drifting, looking for the perfect motorcycle. It is, after all, less like a land mammal and more like a fish. Form follows function in the sea and more truly. What function is there to an elephant? What winds shaped that dune? Yet, compare a Killer Whale to a Ling Cod and a blue water Tuna. You need a marine bucket loader? The giant spotted whale shark of the Sea of Cortez resembles a comet slowly orbiting the sun, mouth open eating solar plankton, hitting a tail of light.
Did I tell you that a Great White Shark the length of the fishing deck of a 60 foot charter boat had sand-paper skin and scraped my left forefinger knuckle to the bone while looking me straight in the eye and stealing a Kelp Greenling I was trying to gaff?
Did I tell you about the power of nothing? A shadow is created by the absence of light. It is the shape of the immediate past and the approaching future. The shadows of skyscrapers and insects on flowers merge like a flood into half a world of night, and both sunset and sunrise are decorated with the longest ones.
And, as Bradbury said, the people passing on the sidewalks at night sound like falling rain.