James Belflower

From FRIEND OF MIES VAN DER ROHE

Performance Notes

For CHORUS:

            CHORUS consists of members of the immediate audience selected prior to the performance. The number of members should be no less than 3 otherwise there is no upper limit.

Numbers which resemble footnotes throughout the text are indicator and attack markers. These markers coincide with the endnotes (located in “Idyll” ) and are to be read in addition to the parts labeled “CHORUS.

The numbers correspond to the specific footnote to be read. The placement of the number indicates where CHORUS begins reading the text. CHORUS should read the complete text for that number at approximately half the volume of the primary reader so that the primary reader can still be heard, ending when they have completed the text.

All sections specifically marked CHORUS and immediately followed by italicized text are to be read at volume of primary reader.

All other performance instructions are marked within the text.

 

***

…tho  im’pecisely, mem’ry

 

“altho I had forgotten the Malevitch picture, it is obviously
the inspiration for the plan of the glass house.”

The Malevitch painting is a black circle in the middle of the frame
justified right.

The brick restroom is a cylinder in the middle of the house
justified left, only22

if you believe you arrive
by the back door


a procession, or proceeding without notation?

each furniture, styled promise18
to the room,

(or is it that prominence
at about this time softly
reflecting, a chair frame glimmer,

frame after frame
translucent until18
between heaven and low hell, gap
between “Barcelona” chair legs,  rearranged
the style of this man’s
death date).


I am not ideal enough to beautifully reflect.

I may be hopeful enough tho.

…than to think that I am an ugly man?

Tho that may be.

Body,19 with every manner of apology
for that im’pecise fountainhead

that hate of self for a diaspora of reasons

you’re gone…
for only 2 of the 3 ellipses, so
again how long for you…

                                    for me…                                              …ridiculous.

 


What is an individuality for me,

“(O)” God?

to re-believe singularity, of word, of one-
self, to lop purpose? One, one or many more?

 

together mom, we stared at words
and imagined them spoken open,

I heard that, without the venue of mouth
the word dries, out
in the cylinder…

where voices bleat against the sheer procession of brick:

                       

CHORUS: (Looking down at the sunlight and shadow always across the herringbone pattern) …made of the same brick as the platform from which it springs, forming the main motif of the house, was not derived from Mies, but rather from a burnt wooden village I saw once where nothing was left but foundations and chimney’s of brick. Over the chimney, I slipped a steel cage with a glass skin. The chimney forms the anchor.

 


…wan’dring, 
            river ripple inside and out the gift-moment,

 

gift stuttered, in
part, because of its playful
hover between two—however, if one does not recognize one
remains one—the three shall become one gift? Then to
raise this gift—to cup any command
such as the above phrases intend,
as a gift—as burning without the impetus of shame—gift, pure
and planar, tilted to another side…

                                                with promise as tugb---

or imaginary conversion from bomb
manufacture to shoe-
last

dear, to my content, mom.

 

CHORUS: (Looking closely at the thermostat on the long wardrobe, most of the room is reflected behind them)

The products manufactured at the factory were wooden shoe-lasts (the molds around which shoes were formed), and Fagus is simply the Latin word for beechwood and you were not yet born but nearly could have been.

 


…the previous sections, I apologize,
there remains no immaterial able to constrict our shoe-last.

 

I wander thru the collapse,

            -how, to receive?

                        -family album as startled aviary.

In20 my room there are many photographs
of you, looking.

 

and so again I search for the metaphorical style of family. Yet, these situations happened (see previous), representative then, of nothing. So how do I begin to show you the wet tendons, by severing? 

                        -written as spots, tearing at the wrappings edge.

 

solid years in the rooms of half-finished homes, coaxing mud to seal these spots, but with my hands, the knuckles then, now unfulfilled as the messianic.

 


Endnotes

18. “…Mies Van der Rohe has not only influenced the concept of the house. He has designed all of the furniture…”

19. “…the papier-mâché sculpture by Nadelman provides the type of foil which this kind of building needs…”

20. “…a view without a frame seems impossible after the Seventeenth Century…”

22. “…bed and writing desk, with strips of Pandanus cloth hanging from the ceiling—the only screening I felt necessary…”

In the September 1950 issue of The Architectural Review Philip Johnson published an article, “House at New Canaan Connecticut,” citing the influences in the architectural amalgam that is the Glass House.

What is intriguing about this article, among many things, is its' formatting. Johnson provides photographs and self-annotates them in a manner almost identical to T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. These are framed as endnotes, spoken by the CHORUS throughout, and excerpted from Johnson’s annotations in the order in which they appear in The Architectural Review.

 

 

 

- - - - - -

James Belflower is the author of Commuter (Instance Press) and And Also a Fountain, (NeOpepper Press) a collaboration with Anne Heide & J. Michael Martinez. His work appears, or is forthcoming in: EOAGH, Apostrophe Cast, First Intensity, Reconfigurations, & Konundrum Engine, among others. He curates PotLatchpoetry.org, a website dedicated to the gifting & exchange of poetry resources.

 

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