Bad Landscape

I can’t make it right. Not the shadow lying on the snow,  not the snow, terrain sloping crudely toward  the poor outcome of a structure neither representational nor abstract, and the sketched-out town beyond  ill-proportioned, depthless, and basic. There isn’t any sense  of an origin, of what Plato called the lower soul,  to animate what’s lacking with the spark of its  remainder. Better than this were the products of by-numbers kits  hanging on the walls of my grandparents’ home — bird dogs, game birds — that knew what they were, spoke at least of a steady hand and subsequent pride in the completion of a task  for its own sake. Above the roar of the new gas furnace  installed in the living room, as there was no basement,  the volume of the brand new colour television  we were warned as children we sat too close to. Blue light  of the programs on our faces, some of the outside  was already on the inside, the radiation we were told  was everywhere — power lines, radios, fluorescent light, telephones —  in all of what emitted that low hum of menace  we had no other word for. 

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