All of These Things are True
Pound turned to the Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry seeing that data can be juxtaposed (like planes, cubes, etc.) in clear word-pictures (visual images) on the page. Elliptical flashes of ‘sensation’ in the reader’s mind connect these polar images. With this as the basic form of the poem, certain practical effects develop. There can be no interruption of the poem for mechanical measure, outside of the data presented.
La-la how the life goes on.
Touga’s hair is shorter, and he wears jeans and dark sweaters; he has a girlfriend, a shy, pretty intellectual type who wears glasses and talks about Rilke. Her name is Mariko, and he is not in love with her, but she is pretty, and sweet, and a new experience. They go for walks together, and talk about poetry; he has a picture of her, standing under a dogwood tree and smiling, that looks like it belongs in someone else’s life.
Saionji’s arm is in a sling; he will never (everybody understands this) be able to compete on the same level again, and he is much too proud to be less than he was. Although it is physiologically improbable, he seems to be losing his shape already; he drinks beer, left-handed, in a dark room, and watches television. Touga’s father has offered him a job; there is no reason in the world, none at all, why he shouldn’t accept it.
Juri is beautiful; that’s all that can be said. Any discussion of her now must be subsumed to her beauty. She glitters across the screen, crystalline, unreal and starlike; poses for the magazines with her hand brushing the neck of her gown, smiling like a patient goddess, and the reporters’ questions glance off her surface. When she walks down the street in her good coat and her brown leather gloves, people turn and stare and then look away; she’s just as unbelievable in person, but her eyes are puffy and she never seems to look outside of herself.
Nanami is seventeen; she doesn’t seem to have changed at all. She’s still a little girl playing dress-up, a twelve-year-old waiting to be a teenager; she spends too much time in the music room, reading manga and fan magazines, leaving sweet wrappers on the floor, painting her fingernails candy-red and spreading them out on the piano lid to dry. She always seems to be getting ready, these days, for a party that will never be held. Her hair is a perfect cloud and her lip gloss is never smudged, but her parties draw fewer and fewer people, and a group of middle-schoolers found her crying in the bathroom last week.
The Chairman’s former wife, Ohtori Kanae-san, sits in the bedroom she had as a little girl, all white lace and ribbons, staring at the wall. Her hair is limp and none too clean, held back by a blue elastic band, and her clothes are designed to be easily washed; she will eat, when someone puts food in front of her, and walk, if someone holds her arm and guides her, and she is not, as far as anyone can tell, exactly an idiot. There are no rings on her fingers; if she knows that she was once married, or where her husband is now, she shows no sign. Her mother lives in Hawaii, with her new husband; she has never appeared, to anyone, to be unhappy in her new life.
Shiori moved away three years ago. No one knows exactly where she went, or why; while most students can remember that someone was once painfully, publicly dumped in the courtyard during break time, few of them ever knew her name, and fewer remember it now. The prevailing story holds that she is now attending college somewhere up north; the one person who might know her whereabouts is, and will remain, out of reach.
Keiko has a job pouring coffee for the local branch office of an industrial manufacturing company. She wears a neat brown suit and a red company badge, and pulls her hair into a bun, and her employer complements her on her efficiency; she has an apartment in one of the company buildings. She and Nanami have nothing to talk about anymore; they never really did.
Tsuwabuki’s parents split up two years ago, and he lives with his father in Hokkaido for six months out of the year; when he’s home he goes to Nanami’s parties, out of loyalty. He has a girlfriend his own age now – they carry each other’s pictures and walk around holding hands – and has been thinking about joining the fencing team. His girlfriend is small and imperious; she has reddish-blonde hair and a laugh that is slightly too loud, and when they do their homework together she folds back the cover of her notebook, so he won’t see the name written there.
Wakaba is at cooking school in Europe; she sends pictures back to everyone she knew at Ohtori, herself in the kitchen, covered in flour, laughing, tired, brandishing a chopping knife at the camera, smiling. Her letters mention a boyfriend, then a girlfriend, then another boyfriend, an apartment, a cat, a life. She is a genuine success story; a person who can be categorized as "happy." Saionji gets her letters and her pictures along with everyone else; she half-remembers some crush she had on him when she was younger and a lot more naive, nothing more than that, of course not. It is not known what he does with the letters, although none of them have been seen.
Kozue is Kozue, the same person she’s always been. No more, no less; she climbs out the window at night and carries a flask of something sticky-sweet, she’s moved her sights on up to older men – there was a rumor about her and an assistant music teacher that was probably true, as she was in the top ten percent of a class she never attended – she cuts class on sunny days and spends the afternoon wandering around campus, eating pink-and-blue sugar stars from a paper bag, with someone’s arm around her waist. She cried for days when it was announced that the forest behind the school would be chopped down and replaced with a new sports pavilion, and stopped eating for a week when Ohtori-san was pressured into resigning, She has her own room now, where she lies on her bed all evening with the radio blasting. Her voice when she sings along is cutting-sweet, and she’s started to wonder what it might be like to be back onstage.
It’s Miki’s job to know these things, somehow his job to keep the records, though he doesn’t know why or when he was appointed. Only: that his knowledge of these people is somehow incomplete, like a poem without an ending, like a dangling suspended phrase, like words without meaning; images without context, missing the one thing that would bring them together and reveal the connections between them. The greenhouse is empty; the vines have run rampant, twining around the bars of their cage; sometimes, when Miki passes it, he thinks he can see a blue rose half-hidden under the tangled thorns and the windblown, petally white-and-red blossoms, but it must be his eyes playing tricks on him, or a scrap of someone’s uniform, caught on one of the thorns; after all, this is the real world, where a leads to b, and the laws of gravity apply, and no such thing exists.