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Field Effect

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For 8 months he lay in bed over the
 
difference between “the bell rings” & “he rings
 
the bell.” Did those 2 “rings” SOUND
 
DIFFERENT? The invisible disturbance which
 
is the bell’s vibration beating at the air—a
 
FIELD EFFECT—does it shift with the
 
ringer’s will? This, he thought, was the
 
smallest difference between things which the
 
human mind could hold (or almost hold, the
 
thought-of-it falling away from the thinking,
 
a penny rolling to the horizon & so to
 
sleep . . .). He couldn’t get up. It became clear
 
that he was the murderer. Everyone knows. A
 
man standing at a podium reads from notes.
 
In the audience people nod in immaculate
 
suits, women & men. When I am done
 
someone will transcribe what I say into speech.
 
It will not resemble my notes. He is just THE
 
THING between his notes & his speech. This is
 
only fair, that he be the air. Some of the
 
women wear hats with feathers in them, wild,
 
candescent. In the audience is a boy named B,
 
not the letter, not the note. Another sound,
 
neither letter nor note—

Joshua Clover, “Field Effect” from Madonna Anno Domini. Copyright © 1997 by Joshua Clover. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.
Source: Madonna Anno Domini (Louisiana State University Press, 1997)
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Field Effect

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