Saturday, February 27, 2010

homework questions for review

1. It's Harlem, 1924.
A man polishes his shoes with orange Kiwi shoe polish he purchased on E. 131st St. The carnauba wax came from the beaten leaves of a palm tree in Brazil.

Who were the people who gathered, beat those leaves?

What has since become of the shoes, and of the wax on them? Where are they now? What are they now?

2. 400 BC. Dawn. The southwest coast of Alaska. A 6-year-old Tlingit Native American girl is deeply absorbed watching the colored lights and marveling at the shapes she sees as she rubs her eyes in the morning before getting up. Grudgingly, she gets out of bed and joins her mother, who is outside.

How did her marveling affect her day? Her mother's day? Your day?

3. A man listens to a speaker at a conference and gets an idea.

After the conference he goes to his office and makes a phone call to follow up on that idea. He hits the buttons on the phone.

The thoughts the speaker had are related to pressure on the phone's keypad. How?

4. A teenage girl buys a poster of her favorite girl band.
She hangs it on her wall, and looks at it many minutes a day.

At a store she sees the same top that one of the girls wears in the photo and buys it.

When was the photo taken?

Who decided that that top should appear in the photo?

How is this connected to the cash transaction at the store?

5. A teenage girl buys a ticket to see her favorite girl band in concert. The concert is great, fabulous. She later sees the same top that one of the girls wore at the concert, at a store and buys it.

How was seeing the concert connected to the cash transaction at the store?

6. Extra Credit:
What is the difference between having seen a person and having seen a photo of the person?
What is not the difference?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Our House of Mirrors

On the dusty ochre blacktop of the North County Trailway
in the hazy and humid air,
the rainpuddles seemed to hold a different world,
filled with luminosity, sky, trees.
Air, space, clarity.
Form, color, differentiation.

(but what a trick this is,
what an intimation of specialness
where everything is special after all.)

the seeming surface of the puddlewater
(its seeming mirrorshine and polish)
(its seeming uniformity and flatness):
all a function of my eyes' poor ability
to resolve the complexity
of the energy
and information reflected from it.

but: one inch to either side of the puddle,
the same light struck the blacktop path:
the same shadows,
Being reflected and absorbed
precisely as reflected and the water.
But the bumpy asphalt flatness
was mute and indifferent.

had I eyes the width of football stadiums
and the depth of lake baikal
blacktop would be sheerest silver to me.
Complicated clouds and blue sky
would fill this mirror, too.

the grassy field would
show the world to itself as well.
every surface, in fact, would
mirror every other,
an infinite regress of such size
and multiplicity
that imagination balks and fails.

This is happening right now.
But we can't see it.