Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fear of Fear of Fear

Mara Patricia Hernadez, "ApotemNΘphobia" (2 April 2015)

Mara Patricia Hernandez is a visualist. She makes things for the eyes, but worded things. She creates visual wordings within layers of depth. She makes not a clean poem, burnished and polished. She doesn't look for sheen, but complexity, the complications of stain and dirt.

As she starts off working on vispwoermds for International Pwoermd Writing Month VIII, her attention is on words, real words. This is a form of pwoermdmaking I call assertion. The poet asserts an existing word is a poem in the poet's hands, by the force of the poet's mind.

The differences here from the usual pwoermdic use of assertion is that Mara uses words that are note common to most people's vocabularies and that she expands the trope of assertion through visual means.

In "ApotemNΘphobia," even the spelling of the word itself is changed. The "no" in the center of the word is capitalized, as if to represent yelling, intense negation, the rejection of not the fear but the action the fear avoids. And yet the NO is not a "no," but an en and a theta. If pronounced, it would be nth, a degree not defined, a growing and unfathomable number, the depth of fear. And the fear is apotemnophobia, the fear of being amputation.

What a word. And thought. What a fear to carry. And what a loss the realization of that fear would be. A bloody fear, so the vispwoermd bleeds blood. So the first half of the word consists of letters sliced, half only half there, the horizontal slicing of the letters cutting to the middle of the word, the NO, where the slice is replicated as the bar balanced in the middle of the theta, the sound of which is the sound of slicing.

And the end is the phobia (actually, PHOBIA), which is solid, as fear is solid, substantial, heavy, too heavy to get out from under of. It ends the word and holds it in place.

Or the fear is "Alt •O• Phobia," a more common fear, that of heights, and the world itself falls, falls in a swoosh, almost of blood. The height of the word, the Alt, is tall and steady, so much so that it represents the stability of the fear, the height of it. In this case the phobia itself falls, a little clumsily, but in a line, as a line, the patter of the dreamed-of fall.

And it continues to fall after the word's end. As fear falls forever. Because the faster the fall, the further the fear.

Mara Patricia Hernandez, "Alt •O• Phobia" (1 April 2015)

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