Look Watch Gaze [prose poem]

To look, to watch, to gaze, to see, I see, I gaze, I watch, to guard, I look, at and for, all in themselves with my eyes, how many eyes, the eyes I have in my head focussed on objects and persons in the world,the eyes in my mind, the eyes of whichever self I am at the moment, the holes in the masks I wear inside and out allowing for me to see. I understand is to stand under, to feel the pressure of the thing of the person, of the idea. I have heard this before; I have said similarly before; have I read this? There is a holding done by standing under, a holding up. The eyes can also hold, apprehend, understand. But what to see, how to see it, when and where, but once again, what? There has always been a kind of seeing instructed, a way to see blind, so to speak. Do you see what I’m saying?

The words I use are themselves in internal conflict; my eyes that see the world, my eyes that see at all, my eyes that see nothing, nothing to be seen, no things familiar about me. I could ask and ask again as I do over and over turning about my words doing somersaults . . . I make acrobats out of my words. The circus is a kind of cosmogony in performance, no?

I don’t see the snow that the Inuit see, or is it that I do not see as many different kinds of snow as they do. I don’t see the sky and ocean that a fisherman sees. I do not see the world of phenomena as any other person who lives now or has ever lived or who will ever live. In the simple facts of physiology, my vision is unique in the history of the universe because no one can have my eyes in my body in the points of time and space that I occupy.

Lear must ask the same kind of question on the Heath–what good are my eyes? He did ask the same question, about eyes, what good are they? The responses from his daughters, what were they worth, the fool speaks truth to him and he plummets deeper into his madness, a rage against the storms that blow. He seems to ask again and again, how the play’s the thing. It does capture his conscience, does it not. Hamlet was Lear’s spiritual brother. Conscience is a kind of super seeing, Lear comes to wisdom only after folly. Most of us are the same. How am I not to see me in Lear, in Edmund–no greater nihilist in all of literature, but then literature is truth, helps us on our way to the Truth. The literary being another way of seeing, I think I know, have come to understand, perhaps too late, perhaps early enough, whatever is, is, how, when, where—lamentations are for fools or prophets. I feel myself neither.

Literature has its own epistemological veracity, validity, and thus becomes its own way of apprehending the world, thus seeing the world. I imagine the kind of seeing I would have to be able to have to see beyond my culturally determined limits of knowledge and what is knowable. Every human sight has the ability to do this in me, I have to want to believe. Do you know what then you must do? I would like to think that I do; however, I am a hypocrite, my brother Luke



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