Andy Stallings The Specific Demands of the Site

The quality that defines an orchard: that its motion is bounded by an image of stillness, like a fountain that brims and spills over by design, which is just like a city when viewed from above. Less harmful, we find, than such distancing, even intentions. For the first time, a-sudden, I noticed the form of the tempest where it shaped the urban thicket, like a bird discovered in the bushes wildly singing. This was while walking beside the river, a path meandering past unkempt fields and then through a neat woods, punctuated by bright red holly berries, and orangish berries which we always referred to as bird berries. The divine presence as felt in other centuries runs shattered through present perception. The ballad always points to an older ballad. I can’t even imagine the frustration you’re feeling, if it’s even frustration, keeping in mind the partial experience of oneself in the impartial eyes of passersby. Perhaps this is so to emphasize the force of implication. As to say, “I’ll take the brambly path of inarticulacy before I claim to know you who know me not, if to know you is to love you, and love is adjacent to loathing.” Speaking of the road I stand beside, I’d say that the gutters say the rain has been abundant but by no means fruitful. All over the whirling city, children, adults, and elders are diagnosed as dying, or die with no diagnosis, while weather carries on with its process of growth. At every angle of impact, it is exact. Brightening today. Absolute tranquility, as poised as a thread pulled sharp and ready to plunge behind its needle into the pattern once more: that’s the sensation just at the threshold of love. A pause so lengthy, even the birds have quit.

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