There was a man who found two leaves and came indoors holding them out saying to his parents that he was a tree.Hilarious, obviously. That this is a "man" and not a child is important. I imagine someone in their late twenties still living with his parents and acting childish. He comes in and begins to play a game, he is a tree. His parents use the game as an excuse to kick him out of the house, playfully (but with a serious undercurrent) threatening him with expulsion. He sees this and feels threatened and ends the game, dropping his leaves. But his parents -- clever -- interpret his refusal to play as another part of the game, and now he is trapped in his own metaphor, unable to escape. The fall, of course, is the season in which things are done ripening and are ready for harvest, just as it is time for him to leave home. Games and metaphors are always more insidious than we know.
To which they said then go into the yard and do not grow in the living-room as your roots may ruin the carpet.
He said I was fooling I am not a tree and he dropped his leaves.
But his parents said look it is fall.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Russell Edson's The Fall
Russell Edson is a peculiar prose poet, writing weird little quasi-parables. I saw him at a reading once and he flipped through his own book, looking for something to read and said into the microphone "oh, this is a good one," as if he had just discovered a new good poem by someone else. Here is his poem The Fall from his 1969 collection What A Man Can See (though I got it out of The Tunnel: Selected Poems):