On Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s A Brief History of Yes

From A Brief History of Yes

And yes is the hillside grove; the invisible songbird inside of it. Yes the three-legged dogs in the white clay city. The blue pushing the sky out like a girl pushes from behind her mother’s skirts and her hands to see what she has hidden from only moments ago. His feet, bony, ugly and black, and her toenails painted with lacquer a red or brown. Water. The water in the glass. The clear glass, the clear water. Water and the glass the same color which is clear and the word clearwhich doesn’t say the yes of the color or the isness of all of life in the color or nothing in the glass holding water oxygen light refracted on the glass which is the image on glass of the window, the blue peeking sky, fingerprints, greasy and earthy, so that the glass doesn’t fly off into ethereal metaphors and the girl herself, Maria, in the glass: thin stretched-down face, dark eyes, the right darker than the left, the right hand lifted in prayer, in benediction, and the mouth smiling now, open, saying, singing herself.

This month’s image, or rather images, come not from a poem but from Marcom’s lyrical novel, A Brief History of YesIn this paragraph, Marcom’s images flow one into another, expanding as water does to fill the spaces of the narrative. The prose twists round to connect the songbird in the grove and Maria singing herself, implying that the same affirmation—yes—lies in her song and in the bird’s song. The girl pushing behind her mother’s skirt, the girl that is the sky’s blue, might also be the child that Maria was once, and as a result also memory. The prose moves, shifts from a water glass, to a window, to a reflection, from a grove hiding an invisible singer, to a window pane reflecting a girl’s presence. Images inside images. Seen through the glass-like clarity of other images. Refracted by a juxtaposition of images into other perceptions. But images that must also be messy, dirty, and grounded, before they can reveal or portray.

Micheline Aharonian MarcomA Brief History of YesDalkey Archive Press, 2013.

JNH