George Moore

"The imperfect is our paradise" —Wallace Stevens

The binary cannot readily be
captured. It lives north
south, we exist east and west

eats rocks and bones
while we are a step only
up from vegetal matters.

Like all creatures
of constructed orients
it sleeps days and breeds at night

its heart is a Mandelbrot set
with distinctly indistinct edges

its ethos the mythical
right wrong left right white black

so it steals, the white hunter
is nearly crazy

has been said, the survivors

are really the wreck

the island time forgot





The poem emerged I think from a number of my interests when I was a grad student some years back. One was a never-ending wonder at Wallace Stevens' sense of the odd way language confronts itself (maybe our first true deconstructionist); and then echoes from years of work on Gertrude Stein, and her persistent refusal to bring the meaning of any line to conclusion. I suppose in a world where everyone seems to be seeking perfection, as if it were achievable somehow, I like to remember that it is imperfection that really creates art. The sciences, like those of chaos theory and the Mandelbrot set, are just catching up with this same ancient realization. Freedom, after all, is when everything does not go as planned.