Section two, or The Book of Whispering in the Projection Booth, approaches the search for the forgotten in slightly different manner. Instead of the prose poem, fragments scatter themselves about in a seemingly random manner. If readers intend to develop a narrative (which is by no means a requirement), they must partake in free association between the disparate elements of each fragment. What is the relationship between “Translucent wings in the grey soup” and a “Rowboat of/white//flour & beetles”? No doubt, a multiplicity of connections can be made between these fragmentary-images, but it would appear that the one strand connecting them all is that they need be ethereal, upending reality; or, as Wilkinson writes: “you can unlearn the earth’s/ spinning//if you//lie down on your back/in the goatfield.” It would appear, then, that to “unlearn” the material-empirical world is of utmost importance.
But, as mentioned earlier, this is not simple negation of the aforementioned material-empirical world, but an admixture of reality and dream. Highlighting such an admixture is the collection’s rhythm. Yeats once wrote that the “purpose of rhythm…is to prolong the moment of contemplation, the moment when we are both asleep and awake, which is the one moment of creation, by hushing us with an alluring monotony, while it holds us waking by variety, to keep us in that state of perhaps real trance, in which the mind liberated from the pressure of the will is unfolded.” The “variety” of section two acts as a counterpoint to the “alluring monotony” of section one’s prose rhythms. Take, for instance, the following lines:
Shaker chairs. TheThe enjambment found within these stanzas, with lines breaking on articles, prefixes, and prepositions, disrupts the rhythmic flow of each syntactical unit, fostering a vocalization that causes the reader to abruptly stammer. Yet, just as soon as the fragments awake us, a return to the prose fluidity of section three lulls us back into a dream.
morning pulling, un-
packing itself onto
snowy porches &
a spun ice.
In the final section’s poem, “still life with shark tooth, sleeping boy, moon [missing], & treefrog,” there is a series of rhetorical questions that conclude the piece: “Where are your parents, little one? Where is the lodger who promised you things? Where is that treefrog in the shop window that blinked at you? Where are you headed on this boat? Which way is the engine room? What age will you be when you return?” The dizzying array of questions, most of which provide no specific referent with regard to the content therein, need to be re-constructed by the reader. This, of course, is no easy task; in fact, in the chapbook’s closing poem we are told: “You will find out what trouble means when you build your own road.” The “trouble,” it would seem, stems from our tendency to subsume surreal worlds into the logic of reason; to wit, Breton wrote: “logical methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest.” When working through Wilkinson’s writing, “logical ends…escape us.” Instead of a logical-analytical-empirical paradigm, perhaps then, it is best to for us to follow the dream-examples found within the book, such as the man who:
this bridge you are forced