Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2015  Vol. 14 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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1900 Gibbon Street

Norbert was wont to blame the nosebleeds too on
his continuing discord with a neighbor in a parallel
world—in this house, the boundary between planes
thinned almost to transparency. Norbert’s first day
upon moving here had ended with his blacking out
in the bath, and since then, headaches, nausea, and
such ills had been making him into a regular invalid.

His chief duty, therefore, was to gauge the capacity
of the house for serving a malign will. He devoted
countless hours to scrutinizing the pastoral scenes
printed on the wallpaper in the sitting room, for he
had a recurring dream in which he discovered the
carpet strewn with offal from a recently butchered
elk. When he woke, the air smelled stale and gamy.

On account of the cold drafts that the repairmen
could never locate, he often became fevered, even
delirious. In the sitting room, he watched the light
from the setting sun through the glass front door
burn onto the wall a red portal. His physician had
diagnosed a case of nerves and prescribed strong
tranquilizers—yet what protection were dull wits?

Everything in this world corresponded to, or was
inhabited by, something from another—the door
had its shadow door; the sun had its shadow sun.
And what might seem a whimsical circuit through
this suburb, made by Mrs. Loden with her beagle
on their evening walk, was in reality the signature
of an alien intelligence laboring for some purpose.

Indeed, was Mrs. Loden human at all? Could it be
that she and the beast together were but an image
of a hungering nothing, vacuous and weightless as
its very concept? Norbert pulled his muffler tight.
How best was he to guard himself? Were he ever
to leave this house, his tribulations might cease—
or might he himself as easily vanish into oblivion?

Or wherever he went in this world, might he find
the same wallpapered room and the same chimera
of woman and dog making its paranormal patrol?
In a remote village of the Klondike, with a winter
sun that never rose and struck his garret window,
he would be no safer. Miners one after the other
disappeared into an unmapped, frozen wilderness.

He would stay where he happened to be, reading
Hegel’s unfolding of the history of all-consuming
Geist through its phenomenological moments of
body and mind, servitude and liberty. Something
existed so that nothing might also, and vice versa.
Between the something and the nothing lay their
mutual necessity, a force forever becoming aware.  end  

   Between the Something and the Nothing . . .
Editor’s Commentary on Kimbrell’s Form and Process

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