Thomas Demand and Ben Lerner's 'Blossom'

Traditionally, you drink plum wine
Deepening the evening, a length of cloud
Then confuse a falling blossom with

A butterfly / In the photograph
Of the tradition, flowers in small corymbs
Papery against electric light

Blossoming en masse, in time lapse
You refer to a place where water flows
Over a vertical drop in culture / Poems

Fail to mention fission or decay
In the traditional ways, focusing instead
Then renouncing focus, a shimmering effect

In the middle distance, there is a monk
Likening this world to an echo, smoke
Slowly rising from some pyre, another year

Gone, frostwork on the grass/glass
The nu suffix expresses completeness
The mu suffix indicates intention, I

Function to measure impermanence
“Like a passing dream on a night in spring”
The petals shed their details

Weak emanations from the subject’s face
Imply a rich inner life after death
Part of the power of a beheading vid

Our identification with the vacant gaze
The body is survived by its entrainments
(Your preferences have been saved)

To light and dark, the demands of music
Window seats, but the side of the bed
Away from the window / When you wake

Posthumously, the leaves are paper
In sodium light, colors faded, otherwise
The terms of service are unchanged

Gasses flow across the planet, triggering
Sentiment in the trees where rain
If no longer falling, still obtains / Delayed

Due to train traffic ahead, I’m typing this
In the middle (the end) of a dark wood (brightly lit)
With my thumbs on the Brooklyn Bridge

Just wanted to check in, which is basically
All haunting is, call me later if
Call me as if it were later then

This page is blank except where indicated
This line left blank intentionally
There is a white so white that it appears

Only over many years, a period snow
Sparkling in belated light / Once erased
A poem can start, but how to end

Without beginning, I wrote this right
To left, but intended it to be read
From the margins in, the way birds scavenge

Or, as the film rewinds, the fire spreads
“I have taken considerable delight
In your ability to picture grass (Rasen)

Straw (Stall), trees (Lichtung)
A dead plant (Klause), gold (Bullion)
A rumpled pillow (Raum), dirty water

To name a few of the things that seem
A long way from paper,” but how to figure
The will to capture, abstracted slowly

From Berlin, where, in lieu of falling
Which, in lieu of melting / While
In lieu of passing: “snow” “scars” “time”Socrates speaks of three bees: one that stings
Beyond sensation, one made by a carpenter
And one made by an artist in imitation

Whereas I perceive a fourth, hovering
In the floral passage between forms
Generating unlikely forces with its wings

Before dying at the onset of the winter
Socrates speaks of three winters, nested
Winters of decreasing size, the smallest

Turned from a single piece of wood, while I
Think of winter as a kind of knowledge
Autumn gains too late to be of use

To the philosopher queen in her paper nest
Open-celled, under eaves or ledges
Presiding over twenty thousand imitations

Socrates says that ignorance is flight
From the knowledge of spring that summer is
Unless I have misread the passage, a mimesis

Made of pale blue filaments / The leaves
Close when touched or captured
By a brief exposure to the negative

“Like a passing dream on a night in spring”
Or like a dream that occupies a square
“Or like a changed familiar tree,” the quote

Unquote season creep, the works cited
When you look at me, triggering a crackdown
I.e. autumn, which is less an essence than

A practice, less photographic than conceptual
Now that it’s the autumn of the seasons
A meta-autumn of false springs (end quote)

An autumn that sees itself is winter (Schiller)
Winter is an array of tiny mirrors (Lerner)
The archive is a hardwood that leafs early

And it gets later early now, the midnight
Sun that sets at noon, a polar night
In temperate zones, in lieu of daylight

Civil dusk, where the dimmest stars
Indicate omissions, and our curfew falls
(Or “autumns”) without interruption / “O”

The song of unacknowledged sources
Courses through the little passerine
I’ve hidden here among the paper leaves

Text from The Complete Papers by Thomas Demand (MACK 2018), excerpted from 'Blossom', originally published in Thomas Demand and Ben Lerner's Blossom, June 2015

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