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a series of fragments & notes about Chance, Fate, and Context by Dara Wier ____________________________________

a chameleon has a master who places it on plaid.  It is first frenzied, and then it dies of fatigue

(Jean Cocteau in an interview for PARIS REVIEW)


I had a friend one time who told me she and a friend would be having tea, something they did once a year, always on the same day, I wish I could remember the day’s significance, if it had any significance in particular, it probably did.  During the tea it was their habit to introduce to one another beta they bought for the occasion, to watch them fight to the death as any self-respecting beta will do if given half the chance.

My friend seemed to be telling me this to convince me that she was a very interesting person, who did significant things, who could report on these things to others, who didn’t have ordinary feelings.


who hasn’t been mesmerized by a murmuration of birds–what with their scale-free correlationwith no, almost no, degradation as information moves through the flockwith the newest supposition or guess that they co-ordinate with their 7 nearest neighbors

This scale-free correlation allows birds to greatly enhance what the researchers call “effective perceptive range,” which is another way of saying that a bird on one side of a flock can respond to what other birds are sensing all the way across the flock—on the flock’s other side–away from where–

this is how thinking of words in motion in multiple uncountable and when truly active unpredictable combinations and meetings, ship-in-the-night slips, gives poems their kinetic and otherwise uncanny and mysterious ways


Theoretically the person who’s reading a book or pages in a journal or this, is invisible to the one who’s responsible for the book or pages, the words.  Theoretically the meeting between reader and what’s read is anonymous, invisible, unquantifiable, (e.g.

when where why howhow longwhat speedwhat intentionwhat circumstanceswhere does it matterhow sowhat for

reading alone, one never seems alone when one is reading


Naomi, Louisiana  1950s/1960s

Where we had a pet alligator

we kept an alligator penned up & prisoner

it lived pitifully in a pit by the corner of a barn

We threw it leftovers and fish and animal insides

we cleaned out for cooking

It hissed at us when we came near

The most horrendous, possibly traumatic, I would say so, yes,  memory associated with this:  my cousins and uncles clubbed a hundred or so domestic rabbits one morning; cleaned them, threw their skins and insides to the alligator, sold the rabbit meat from our roadside stand and set the alligator loose.


The Animal Club

a small club, an exclusive membership, my father, my mother and me, based on my love of animals and animal spotting, I was between 4 and 8 then

my father was president, mother secretary, me treasurer, presumably because our club was without funds

the club was my parents attempt to convince me that we were a family, we had a purpose

but we did have funds and eventually I stole them to use for a purpose I believed amounted to something


talking English with and otherwise communicating with animals


becoming a panther

this I had to do when it was called for to protect my children


this bears on why we might put more pressure on, have more attention for, attribute more purpose to,  etc., one word more than we might multiple words

Marilynne Robinson’s idea:

The Bible is terse, the Gospels are brief, and the result is that every moment and detail merits pondering and can always appear in a richer light——-we can bring our own feelings to bear in the reading of it.


It’s not the end of the world to say, Maybe I don’t like what I’m doing all that much but I have to keep doing something until I start doing something else, with perhaps the result I will like it.


I’m thinking it is really necessary to determine not so much the nature of things but the nature of one’s relationship to things.  Is one also a thing?  Yes.  Living, moving things, “breathing” things, yes.  And one’s relationship to our perceived nature of time.  Time may be most flexible and inflexible, ineffable, so strict, unforgiving, completely a figment, it is maybe the mystery underlying all mysteries, very likely.


on p 73 in The Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt:

Others suggested that if you could perceive the smallest particle of a man, you would find an infinitesimally tiny man; and similarly for a horse, a droplet of water, or a blade of grass.


I guess it’s inevitable one thinks of Frankenstein’s nameless creature

(I am thy creature, I ought to have been thine Adam, instead I am your fallen angel whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed)

when one thinks about collage, assemblage, cut-up, mash-up, juxtaposing, and puzzling combinations of…………

one thinks of creation

one thinks of what comes into being

Impossible not to pity the creature

whose whole complete being

comes from something we recognize,

something in itself something,

something already a lot like something

we are making something out of and

we are making something into.

Other things as well.

How something comes into being.  Why someone feels as if owning up to source material is imperative or leastways interesting.  That.

Interesting.  Why so interesting, why so documentary, why so time laden and burdened, why so earnest and hard-working in time, why so accountable, why so singular, why so obsessive, why so narrowed, why so analytical, why so self-conscious, why so difficult, why so impossible.


cut-ups and cut-up collections

and this song:


Dara Wier is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Selected Poems, Remnants of HannahReverse Rapture, and You Good Thing (now available from Wave Books). She teaches in the University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers. Her awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, the American Poetry Review’s Jerome Shestack Prize, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. She edits Factory Hollow Press. Visit her author page at Wave Books or read an interview.