Saturday, March 13, 2010

The deer hunter

Robert Wrigley ventures into Hemingway country with his poem Wait, an intriguing mediation that makes me think of one of many faux Zen vanities where one tries to observes themselves in the world, in this case, observing yourself wait for the perfect micro-instance through the elapsing moments and seconds when you sense that perfect alignment to squeeze the trigger and take down the deer. Wright goes for the glass-like clarity of that moment, the intangible perfection within a moment that is about to fade , and remains, within his descriptions of the forest, the deer, the consequences to come and the consequences that result, hard in his images. A smart decision--it's a temptation to lard this kind of subject of with didactic screeds that only obfuscate with cracker barrel philosophy where clarity is crucial for success. It makes me think of the severely pared down vision of Michael in Michael Cimino's film The Deer Hunter, where a terse discussion of being ready for The Shot comes down to a verbless distillation. Michael, prompting an unsure Nicki about his fitness to make the kill, tells this:  " You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it's all about. A deer's gotta be taken with one shot".

Hemingway, Mailer, Faulkner, Cimino, and now Wrigley, it's a paradox that a particular facet of the male personality  finds, in  stories from the these writers,  it's unity with something greater than itself in the ritualized effort to kill a living creature. The hunt becomes a spiritual practice of a sort, where concentration, seemingly conflated here to equal an intense meditative discipline, brings one from the noise, clutter and vanities of the world of ego and brings them in an uncluttered relationship with the thing they are observing. The senses are alive and the mind becomes rich with the details and minute stirrings in this niche, this particularized bracket of time. Everything is noticed and inventoried, the relationships of things,natural and man made, are revealed and in the sensational rush of waiting, breathing steadily, intensely aware of one's posture and purpose in this scene, you feel directed, a part of the chain of nature , acutely aware of one's fatal but unavoidable purpose and aware, as well, of consequences, results, the continuation of a natural order beyond the killing of the deer.

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