048.1: Marthe Reed:: A lapse & Burton prosecutes a dialogue
7 February 2011
Marthe Reed juxtaposes two forms of communication—oral storytelling and written correspondence—demanding that something come into existence through the use of words: "I demanded she make another appearance." Words, both narrated and inscribed, are a calling out, literally the casting of a spell. But calling forth with words only propagates words, rather than things or actions, and the speakers in these poems are often left demanding, bidding, proposing, corresponding, and finally sensing that "she is not here / nor the difference heard". These words must be received, heard, and accepted to be turned into something. The acting principle is whether someone else listens to the words. Even markers of identification become proposed speech acts rather than semiotic sign systems. Only if we listen to these markers can they be enacted as truth; if we do not listen, then they are lost. The words exist, and all that we can do as participants in this attempted dialogue is realize that in the decision whether to speak or not speak, whether to hear or not hear, whether to write or not write, whether to read or not read, we are confronted with "a maze we may neither fully enter nor abandon."