“Exotics”

ecopoetics 2 – fall 2002
EXOTICS
Joel Felix and Laura Nash

This piece posed a problem for me, and led to a stall. I wanted to skip it. Today I reread it, and suddenly found the appeal. It is the story of a walk. Anyone can do this. Start out with a semi-intention, ramble on your feet, point your eyes in some direction, take photographs, notice, then retrace your ramble in words, with extra rumbles thrown in at that point.

I do this – my ominous walk pre-Sandy, pre-Halloween. A neighbor was blowing leaves off his lawn.

I have many walk narratives, starting when I was a teenager, “The Journey of Water,” in which I followed storm water flowing briskly down the gutters along our rural route. It had a surprise ending.

“Exotics” is not a tight essay, maybe I had that expectation. This narrative is unsettling in the way it doesn’t cohere, the patter(n) seems too loose, elements appear and disappear without prepared context.

But it also has qualities that mimic a nice long walk. The very fine notice of sensations, the ease of moving into abstractions (musing), the meander along strands from the knowledge base, the impulse of exit into surroundings again. Not needing to be a tight essay.

One puzzling element: the presence of the beret-wearing Interlocutor.

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