Obtuse Meaning

Here you will find me working through concepts of Camera Lucida by Roland Barthes (as explained in Ulmer's Internet Invention). The first entry explores image as stadium experience, and the next two as punctum. The final entry similarly explores a definition through Michel Leiris' verbal punctam.

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Michigan winterArtsy snow.

Most everybody from the upper–Midwest knows there are more than a few different kinds of snow. This fact in itself is a tired and rarely discussed subject—more often being taken for granted in conversations of such varieties as wispy, packed, slushy, and the others. the upper–Midwest is bored of talking about snow.

Through social networking, they have also become tired of a new kind of snow: artsy snow. Artsy snow is perhaps more artificial than actual artificial snow, which has been blown into movie sets and ski resorts for some time now.

The first picture at right shows some artsy snow. This image is impregnated with the grotesque perfection that marks most shots of the artsy variety.

Michigan winterBlue–black–grey winter.

Michigan winterNew grey snow falling.

crunchy yards in stride
the glow of homes, lighting up
blue–black–grey winter.

* * *

grinding wet metal
yellow doors swing wide the grey
into my knit hat

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I think of the furnace buried in the basement of my parent's home. In the winter it glows with a soft heat that sheds the numbness from my icy fingers. It is an odd furniture in the basement, and strikes me as something from science fiction.

It casts a shadow over the metal locker full of dad's old trophies and fishing tackle that smell of wood varnish. It has a popsicle stick bound to its side by a sticky, grapey goop. A shoelace inches along the precipice that rises to my shoulder-height.

It lets loose occasional yawning noises, soundings that growl like something from the maw of a wild beast. The old furnace also tick, tick, tick, ticks all night when it isn't yawning. It lets out breathes that rattle the spiderwebs it has accumulated over the years and sends their residents scurrying to the basement depths.

It is the monolith of the dark side of the basement, the segregated home to insects, dust, and discarded items. It reaches out from the cold, mossy, unfinished cement and creeps like a gnarled branch toward the splintered wooden ceiling.