Thursday, May 12, 2016


Cuneiform Tablet, ca. 2044 BCE. "This tablet was
baked and, in this case, enclosed in another baked
clay envelope for delivery. What we see is the sealed
envelope, and inside of it there is another tablet."

The unraveling of order: a typo in the cuneiform
that needed mucking out, a wandering ox-furrow
where the boustrophedon line rambled, drunken,
falling in a ditch of proto-leading. We could touch
our words, then, fingertips on the impression of a
breath, a glottal stop in wet slab clay. Nothing so
marked could be all gone; our thoughts had mass,
weight. Now, we set them on spinning plates, ever
so mutable. We not only can’t touch our words—a
bit of static, and they’re like the cat in the box. We
can’t ever know whether they’re there, or erased.

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