Mirror This World, image by AC Evans
EXPLORING THE TEXT
The structural arrangement of an urban eclogue
Unfolded in front of us beneath an overhang
Of neglected adjectives. We saw
Three towering stanzas in the grand manner,
Idiomatic, self-reflexive and embellished
With shiny, metallic neologisms.
A parental advisory notice warned us that
The lyrics were explicit. We wore dark glasses.
Ahead, the pathway was clear and the air was alive
With a distinctive cadence – a melodic pattern
Barely discernible at first, but soon to dominate
Our thoughts – our guides refused to go on.
We marvelled at the alloestrophic irregularity
Of nearby deposits, seeing veritable tangles of
Words in irregular rows, including
Many anisometric examples and several
End-stopped lines leaning over us at crazy angles.
My companion grabbed my arm, pointing in wonderment
At the sky above us: it was turning into an open field, free-form
Cloudscape both linear and non-linear at the same time.
We had never seen anything like this before.
A caesura appeared in the form of a black, cubic shape,
But we walked by without a second glance.
From a pillar constructed of in-striding lines of text
A sing-song voice with indefinable accents and stresses
Addressed us (or so we thought) in a word-flow;
Sometimes a sweet euphony, sometimes a harsh
Cacophany, a dissonant tone-colour that,
We later discovered, permeated the entire structure.
All around there were strange syntactic patterns and
Unfamiliar typographical conventions.
Gigantic capitals in diverse fonts towered over us
Like the sculpted arches of an enormous building.
The sing-song voice echoed in the recesses
Of this immense, vaulted, visual poem, while.
Beneath my feet I noticed a discarded epigraph,
Neglected now and covered in dusty, ironic, slangy
Fragments of forgotten phrases from previous times.
The atmosphere was uncanny, I sensed the surreal
Presence of condensation but my vision was restricted
By the gathering darkness as we approached the Aporia.
The chronotope had long since collapsed and now
‘Liminality’ was the only term I could think of to designate
Our situation, shuddering with the anxiety of influence,
Struggling to maintain aesthetic distance and perhaps
Even our sanity, in an extraordinary place where all organic
Form seemed over-determined – oh, how I longed for synaesthesia!
“The heresy of the didactic!” gasped my friend.
As though from nowhere a grand narrative, a slimy tentacle,
Wormed its way through the gloom, passing within
A few feet of us, but I knew we were protected by a magic charm,
A talisman, a Darke Conceit – we were the lucky ones.