NOTES ON ZONULES OF ZINN

Both this and the poem, “Sky Writing,” were written with my eyes closed, putting the tip of the pen on the paper and rolling my eyes back into my head so they wouldn’t inadvertently move in tandem with my hand as it shaped the letters. I found that, if you print, the eye invariably moves parallel to the pen, but if you use script, the squiggles are too unplanned for the eye to know what to follow, at least if you have terrible handwriting.

So I just scribbled away, line by line, after I’d worked them out in my head, hoping I wasn’t writing over the last phrase, keeping the pen on the pad to save my place.

This subterfuge was a good experiment on the connection of sight and language, but arose because my doctor in Honolulu had forbidden me to use my eyes for anything for a week. They both were taped shut, so the good one wouldn’t lead the lasered one astray, I suppose. This proved extremely challenging, and I allowed myself to practice Liszt Rhapsodies already memorized, as long as my eyes didn’t move. In the same way as with printing, I found that simple passages begged for the eye to trace them on the eyelids, while the busier scales were too much, and the eye just lolled about while the fingers did all the work. Few people know any of this. I can’t imagine what good it will do anyone, but there it is. It certainly made for sloppy manuscripts, and future emendators will probably use them to support the theory of opium use as a driving factor in my writing, but a rogue reporter might check theb aging medical records of Dr. Gregg Kokame for verification of this potentially tall tale.

I have always been fascinated with the insides of the eye, an exotically-named deChirico wasteland of blaring visions and optical cancellations. The Zonules of Zinn sound like an Arthur Clarke novel, but in fact are ligaments that open and close the pupil’s diaphragm. Despite that, I always see a Daliesque desert with the shadows of obelisks extending to the horizon under a sunless sky, and indeed the eye is a round, empty planetarium on whose distant sphere the tiny window of the pupil projects its revelations