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“Entropical Question” — Tom Clark


I tried to scratch up a few lines on rereading William Gaddis’s novel The Recognitions this afternoon, but distracted myself by remembering this poem of Tom Clark’s (collected in Paradise Resisted) which is an oblique summary of said novel (or not. Why should it be? It isn’t. There’s only my will here, trying to organize these keystrokes into thoughts of some order. Happy Friday).


    • I take it to be a play on seeing and perception—vision, Visine, viz. (“that is” but transliterally: “permitted to see”). We use Visine to “clear” our vision (literally but not figuratively). The synapse is a jump, a movement, a gesture, action—the signaling of the signal. Impermanence. “Eyes drying in the wash / of decaying detail” somehow answers to the “vizine synapse.” Eyes are dry—unsentimental. I don’t know if my reading of the poem is any good, but I feel it somehow.


  1. The last line is sufficient to prod me to go back to Pynchon’s Slow Learner and revisit his first story (I think it is in that collection), “Entropy”.


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