On a remark of Wittgenstein’s

By Hugo Branley|May 09, 2017


Image by Craig Cloutier.

“If I had planned it, I should never have made

the sun at all… And if there were only the moon

there would be no reading and writing.”

A metaphor is a sign of weakness she says the language showing its limits going out to the edge and tipping over conceding I have no word for this have something else instead. A cloud is a ship is a sail is a pet is a face everything becomes a face. Everything becoming something human everything becoming something it is not. Even pausing now the silence articulate, eloquent. Submandibular venous swelling of the pulse. Quickens. Hers.

Rhyme. What did milton say about rhyme. Not of homer in greek and virgil is the jingling sound of like endings but troublesom and modern bondage. He is wrong she says about rimeing it is not troublesome or modern. It is baggage ineluctable the undying leathery gimp of language. It is the holding pattern of a thought which has forgotten where it left from and can’t work out where to land. And yes she says a metaphor I used it the language sprains its back turning about to look at itself. A certain theoretical weight. A costing. Ineluctable. Here. Language’s

foreconstricted modality. An inability to look clearly and directly at a griphic future or a broken past. More than necessary possible contingent a kind of mad flurry of ways to be crudely filtered through the system of tenses. She needn’t say this but she does. These are her first words. An indicative mood. The unknowing

she says aspirate gets lost on its way into the paper, screen. Finds itself black. Graphic. The language does not she is saying exist. It is possible she can write by now but I doubt it. A language is off in the metaphysical hinterlands of speech abstracted only from the ground of saying. Anyway she tells me the only voice is my own. On paper something else something as silent as this womb. Everything becoming something human everything becoming something that it is not. The swirl of script the

binary of inscription. One zero on off ink or not bright light or dim. The boundary between writing and silence is thin like she says knives. Curling words row in straight lines. Paratactic regimentation like a field, the page a vineyard. Punctuation without reference,

commas like stars constellating without horoscope. Raw matter becoming she is saying articulate. It dreams

of a vowel that flows unlimited like time through all the gradations of physical space. Saying this ages her, dates her. What child begins to speak knowing the pain that speaking can bring. Mine. The cruelty of a word that refuses to fit. Hers. She continues saying all the words that are twinned or doubled that make no difference whether one or the other comes to the voice a vast waste and only language has this not the world going out to the edge and falling over saying have this and this too much and more than ever would be needed. There is in the world no synonymy. The world perhaps as

a depredation of language. But this was not what I wanted not what either of us ever wanted this is a failure that should never be made into words should be has been passed over in polite silence like an understandable faux pas. As a sign of weakness.

Hugo Branley currently lives in Canberra. He has previously written for Voiceworks, The Sydney University Poetry Anthology, Demos, Woroni, and rip publishing’s Knack. He writes both with jingling and without.

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