What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use

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What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use
by A. Limon

All these great barns out here in the outskirts,
black creosote boards knee-deep in the bluegrass.
They look so beautifully abandoned, even in use.
You say they look like arks after the sea’s
dried up, I say they look like pirate ships,
and I think of that walk in the valley where
J said, You don’t believe in God? And I said,
No. I believe in this connection we all have
to nature, to each other, to the universe.
And she said, Yeah, God. And how we stood there,
low beasts among the white oaks, Spanish moss,
and spider webs, obsidian shards stuck in our pockets,
woodpecker flurry, and I refused to call it so.
So instead, we looked up at the unruly sky,
its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name
though we knew they were really just clouds—
disorderly, and marvelous, and ours.

2 thoughts on “What It Looks Like To Us and the Words We Use

  1. It’s all one glorious misunderstanding is a message I can get behind.

    I recognize this as part of a larger pattern of “paredolia as God” popping up recently in the sublime culture of our time. Maybe it’s apophenia. I don’t know. Both have me stifled.

    When general misunderstandings collide and it gets people killed; I have to wonder if their death does not matter, if life matters at all; if it can be so easily wiped out if it was ever really there to begin with. Can’t we at least pretend to get along long enough to have the big reveal come in after the fact?

    Thanks for sharing this seriously fun take on ontological tautology. I enjoyed it.

  2. I see it as two beliefs at odds–in God, and the “connection we all have to nature, to each other, to the universe”–resolved by looking up “at the unruly sky” and naming the clouds’ “simple animal shapes,” which is basically the act of making order out of “disorderly, and marvelous” chaos; an act both parties can share. An enjoyable poem, indeed. One part leaves me at a loss,however; from “And how we stood there” to “and I refused to call it so.”

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