unwriting / jim leftwich. 2022

Jim Leftwich
Summer 2022

Here it comes again, like an avalanche, oceanic, rolling across the desert, every imaginary uprooted route at once, enough to make you think it has a mind of its own, language cannot be trusted to mind its own business, sit down and shut up, work independently without disturbing others.

The word “unwriting” arrived most recently in my mind’s ear as a misreading of my first thing in the morning no glasses on handscrawled note about “the unwilling”.

What, then, is this unwriting? Is it a rewriting of a misreading? Is it an acknowledgement of misreading as rewriting? Is it the revelation of a parallel text, a parallel universe, another world is possible, the ancient branes of string theory, asemic messages encoded in those astonishing photographs from the James Webb telescope?

I think we know. Life is more than life. Language is more than language. Life is never life and life only. Life is beside itself with joy, beside itself with bewilderment, disbelief, semiosis, mitosis, osmosis, baskets of fish and loaves of bread, the news from far and near, some of which is true, the felt presence of experiential reality.

You can’t step in the same stream walking beside the lake, where the two creeks flow in from the mountains to the west, reading an old book of poems, remembering how it all got started in your tiny little life your tiny little world, what that small patch of the cosmos looked like 5 billion years ago, twice.

That is another reason, if not several, for wandering wide-eyed in the wonder, while the species is surely dying of its own devices, and there is no humanly semiotic future to care for our writings or unwritings, singing, between the two deserts, having driven ourselves softly or brutally insane, such that the human experiment seems to have failed entirely, if we can say so in some sort of poem, what hypothesis exactly was the experiment meant to test?