Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 30, June 2013—Buch Märchen Issue)

My life, level: construction sites on Saturday mornings before football with my father to determine the angles of things—the pitch of the land before the eradication of slope, before the loss of the nature of things. He would stand behind the spirit level, eyes through the reticle and I would slosh through the dead leaves and plant the rod in the ground—it would tower above my head, it would reach towards the fast-moving clouds. While my father triangulated, I would swing the rod like a weapon—spinning it towards imaginary enemies, flattening them with one swipe. My father would tell me to watch my step: the ground is uncertain here—there are holes, there are gaps in elevation, and this is why we are here, to make what is not smooth smooth. I have tried to find the beauty in things being level—words steady and similar: language that will not jump up and trip you while traveling through a narrative: any misplaced step could send you crashing into the leaves and out of the story. Today, my father tells me, they can do all of this surveying with satellites: it is done alone and with the pressing of buttons, instead of the measuring of angles—the triangulation is automatic and precise. To me, there is joy in the revelation of how we got here. We start writing from one place in order to get to another, and to be able to stop and see what we have: we cannot see these things from the skies.

Brian Oliu