The Museum of Things

I haven’t written anything this odd in a while, but Slow Muse made me think about Thingness, and an hour later I’d written this post. Part fantasy, part allegory, it’s mostly mental play, a game unfolding from two or three rules…

This museum is really an orphanage for objects. No central principle governs its contents, and the rooms create architecture of space instead of purpose. Were the things inside gathered by one person, the museum’s collection might speak one brain’s affections. Were each thing chosen for novelty or beauty or any other consensual attribute, a visiting brain might make its own real sense of them. But this group of things is not actually a group.

Display makes the exhibits visible. Left where they were, these objects would have gone on unregarded and would have eventually broken into their base components and slipped back into earth.

Left alone, over time, things migrate to matter.

Here, time is under arrest, and, if you look closely, you see each thing stares back with the surprised shock of capture. Perhaps it’s that no one no handles the exhibits anymore. Objects are made someone’s by use, and these objects are no one’s. No hands abrade their surfaces. No exercise of parts or disassembly and reassembly wear them down inside or out.

Visitors’ eyes will never erode them. In fact, looking seems to make these things holy in wholly their own ways.

When visitors walk these rooms, they experience the museum’s contents as unpossessed, the dreams of strangers. Someone made most of what’s here, but the makers were themselves subject to dim causes and thus more puppets than puppeteers. Their names are written down like numbers over doors. The doors lead into atavistic mist. Another wing hides in the spaces between objects, dimensions a visitor glimpses in shadow.

And, departing, visitors discover that, while they were inside, the rest of reality became part of the museum. They emerge to a place where each object is its separate self. Days, hours, minutes, and seconds separate.

As visitors shift to take everything in, their gazing eyes move like great suns giving birth to worlds.

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2 Comments

Filed under Allegory, Art, Dreaming, Essays, Experiments, Fiction, Meditations, Parables, Place, Play, Prose Poems, Thoughts, Writing

2 responses to “The Museum of Things

  1. Peter Newton

    David,

    A new kind of poem. Or else, all the titles of poems unwritten : an orphanage for objects, the migration of things, time under arrest, glimpses in shadow, great suns giving birth. . .I found myself reading the words but also experiencing a kind of trance-inducing litany of disembodied phrases. . .unintended, intended.

    Seems like you tapped into the odd origins of creativity. Enjoyed this. I’ll have to read it again, to make sure.

    –Peter

    Thanks… sometimes I enjoy language so much I let it get away with too much and soon it’s just getting away in general. I’m not even sure of the sense of this piece–or what it is–but it was fun to write.

    Thanks for commenting–David

  2. I was so warmed to hear from you. This piece is very memorable, with lines I too will remember. (The comment by Peter expresses many of my thoughts as well.)

    I hope there will be more.

    Thanks for visiting! I like writing this way but don’t always have the subject or state of mind to accomplish it. I owe you thanks for setting my mind off in this direction. –D

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