That Window

26th November
11:59 pm

T. —

I was thinking yesterday about when do people become friends? Where is the boundary between strangers and loved ones? Where is the move between acquaintances and confidantes? Today, I’m thinking it’s more of a window that never really closes — it’s just sometimes you are closer to the window and sometimes you are further away. I think it’s always relative, but friendship never happens without climbing through the window together. Otherwise, you are always left on either side of a pane of glass, which looks like nothing, but separates so much.


Helsinki Window
Robert Creeley

for Anselm Hollo

Go out into brightened
space out there the fainter
yellowish place it
makes for eye to enter out
to greyed penumbra all the
way to thoughtful searching
sight of all beyond that
solid red both brick and seeming
metal roof or higher black
beyond the genial slope I
look at daily house top on
my own way up to heaven.*

Same roof, light’s gone
down back of it, behind
the crying end of day, “I
need something to do,” it’s
been again those other
things, what’s out there,
sodden edge of sea’s
bay, city’s graveyard, park
deserted, flattened aspect,
leaves gone colored fall
to sidewalk, street, the end
of all these days but
still this regal light.
Trees stripped, rather shed
of leaves, the black solid trunks up
to fibrous mesh of smaller
branches, it is weather’s window,
weather’s particular echo, here
as if this place had been once,
now vacant, a door that had had
hinges swung in air’s peculiar
emptiness, greyed, slumped elsewhere,
asphalt blank of sidewalks, line of
linearly absolute black metal fence.*

Old sky freshened with cloud bulk
slides over frame of window the
shadings of softened greys a light
of air up out of this dense high
structured enclosure of buildings
top or pushed up flat of bricked roof
frame I love I love the safety of
small world this door frame back
of me the panes of simple glass yet
airy up sweep of birch trees sit in
flat below all designation declaration
here as clouds move so simply away.
Windows now lit close out the
upper dark the night’s a face
three eyes far fainter than
the day all faced with light
inside the room makes eye re-
flective see the common world
as one again no outside coming
in no more than walls and post-
card pictures place faces across
that cautious dark the tree no
longer seen more than black edge
close branches somehow still between.
He was at the edge of this
reflective echo the words blown
back in air a bubble of suddenly
apparent person who walked to
sit down by the familiar brook and
thought about his fading life
all “fading life” in tremulous airy
perspect saw it hover in the surface
of that moving darkness at the edge
of sun’s passing water’s sudden depth
his own hands’ knotted surface the
sounding in himself of some other.
One forty five afternoon red
car parked left hand side
of street no distinguishing
feature still wet day a bicycle
across the way a green door-
way with arched upper window
a backyard edge of back wall
to enclosed alley low down small
windows and two other cars green
and blue parked too and miles
and more miles still to go.*

This early still sunless morning when a chair’s
creak translates to cat’s cry a blackness still
out the window might be apparent night when the
house still sleeping behind me seems a bag of
immense empty silence and I feel the children
still breathing still shifting their dreams an
enigma will soon arrive here and the loved one
centers all in her heavy sleeping arm out the
leg pushed down bedclothes this body unseen un-
known placed out there in night I can feel all
about me still sitting in this small spare pool of
light watching the letters the words try to speak.

Classic emptiness it
sits out there edge of
hierarchic roof top it
marks with acid fine edge
of apparent difference it
is there here here that
sky so up and out and where
it wants to be no birds no
other thing can for a
moment distract it be
beyond its simple space.


Windows (a prose poem)
Charles Baudelaire

A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window. There is no object more deeply mysterious, no object more pregnant with suggestion, more insidiously sinister, in short more truly dazzling than a window lit up from within by even a single candle. What we can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what we can perceive taking place behind a pane of windowglass. In that pit, in that blackness or brightness, life is being lived, life is suffering, life is dreaming….

Above the wave-crests of the rooftops across the way I can see a middle-aged woman, face already wrinkled–a poor woman forever bending over something, who never seems to leave her room. From just her face and her dress, from practically nothing at all, I’ve re-created this woman’s story, or rather her legend; and sometimes I weep while reciting it to myself.

Some poor old man would have sufficed just as well; I could with equal ease have invented a legend for him, too.

And so I go to bed with a certain pride, having lived and suffered for others than myself.

Of course, you may confront me with: “But are you sure your story is really the true and right one?” But what does it really matter what the reality outside myself is, as long as it has helped me to live, to feel that I am alive, to feel the very nature of the creature that I am.




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