Essay

Monkeys, Wordprocessors and Infinite Time [Flash Fiction]

When my Great Aunt Anna was young she looked a lot like Katherine Hepburn when Kathrine Hepburn was young–did you ever see photos or films of Katherine Hepburn when she was young . . . they were practically the same age I think I recall having learned, but maybe not. How could I have expressed it all right down to the threads in every fabric. The atoms?  What is there on the atomic level I could say? Could she have been the bastard sister of Kate? I have imagined that my mother’s father  (born in Paris–I think I have been told, Montmartre–the year Picasso arrived) was–I imagine my great grandmother, Delphine, born in Geneva, and I imagine that she had had an affair with the wild Catalan (who never really learned to spell well in French), and that in fact of imagination my mother’s father, Delphine’s boy, was the bastard child of Pablo.

I have said much in the past about memory and remembering, how one or the other functions, not nearing why it functions at all. I know animals are not supposed to remember as we Homo Sapiens do, although I cannot say how differently we as humans remember. I do know that recollection is supposedly a human endeavor, although I wonder how recollecting would function for our primitive fore bearers. I don’t exactly recall what I have said, as of late, of my time in the Berkshires, the same cord as that of Vermont’s Green Mountains, the same mountains I would later spy across the waters of Lake Champlain from the window of my seat on a car on the train I’d be taking to Montreal, how many times I don’t recall and probably won’t bother to recollect until after I have finished this essay. The last several or more years, and especially since my mother and father’s death have been oddly unreflective, except when directly applied to the writing of a poem, a journal entry or a short story or an essay (the latter of the variety herein exposed); but then what is reflection?

We imagine it a kind of looking back, but the word infers a kind of mirroring. What exactly do we mirror when we reflect? What we feel, how we feel, what we think, itself a kind of personal seeming of things and persons and places. It seems to me is the reflective pose. I do not know what I think until I write–I’m still trying to know. What seems to me? Let me write.

A dog has dreams, no? Chimpanzees, though, make tools and fuck face-to-face. But do they write poetry? And if they do or could–what then would we think, would we do, say? I do remember a group of chimps with infinite time and as many typewriters as their numbers and how after an infinity of passing time they would type the script of Hamlet.

I see monkeys with their index pushing keys at random in offices across America? I hear the news about a team of monkeys having typed out the script of Hamlet in their infinite random typing. I head straightaway to the nearest of taverns I can endure and have a pint of Old Speckled Hen.

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