Installations > Figures of Ground

The Procedure of Pyritization

When they replace the mineralized organism that they, these sulfide molecules,
Were likely released by, this occurs particularly
When it decays in water. Borrowing some dissolved iron
From the surrounding environment of groundwater and, buried,
The microscopic structure of spaces and cavities; casting with pyrite
That fools nobody anymore but contains gold,
Slowly replicating a preserved specimen by its bones and depositing
The pale brassy crystals inside cellular membranes
Of vertebrates as of spores; analyze this material
Of internal components and morphological detail:
What could grow more like life-forms or a fuller fathom five
Of a father, the transubstantiated male who lies
Like a catastrophe in the substrate, half exposed
With big seeds of white in his eyes; whose edges spark when
Struck with a piece of steel? From soft tissues
To carbon residue, from sedimentary particles to
Solid stone, from a carbonate to a ferric shell,
Are chemical and structural alterations whereby a body’s traces
In landscape preserved beyond the minimum age, whether
By compression or permineralization, join recorded time.

Learn, here, the interlanguage of fossils as they transition word by word
Their particular native dialect into pyrite and silica, at moments
Preserving through encasing, but not, by nature, with intention; or repeating
In the hardened remains of a substance like literature or
Theoretical forms, retaining bound morphemes too idiosyncratic to transfer
Which are only dinosaur images, enclosed
By processing a poem wherein perspectives are embedded
And thus might be lithified by a second eye
With a common magic: since penetrating through a stone that remembers,
He had comfortably forgotten to close my eyes in expectation
Of a word whose irradiating familiarity could not be private;
Folded into the studied ritual of recitation
Wherein information can be converted or cast by pores,
An iteration may sometimes retain the particular impression
Of a communication strategy from the organic tissue; called recrystallized,
A skeleton is still present in forms
And compounds of the original, the shifting aragonite to calcite
In which we find signals, we try to trace, in traces.
So, when one of us recognizes in a specimen, the phytoleim our own snapshot
In silhouette: to record in bone
Or consist of marks left or reproduce a feature’s general appearance
For timescales that explain away the loss, could reveal nearly all
Except the softest and the hardest of beings...
That is because, I think,
The softest and hardest never petrified very well nor yielded
Stable remains where the land was still left intact
Their impression too superficial or their biomarkers and complex
Structures misleading as an inorganic pseudofossil. `Dissolve!' called the carbonate waters,
`How easy is your concretion, how careful
Your preserved fibers, how impermanent is death.' (X-ray diffractions
Scattered into angles.) `Dissolve!' pressed the graphites and diamonds
`In our terrain there are coatings of carbon to squeeze; conditions
Present to expel gasses and liquids through heat or the pressure
Of the burying sediments: thin as soft tissue is history and both
Accumulate in the body.' (Organic originals bonded into
Sheets, conducting their electricity.) But the potentially exothermic were ignited
By an exposed spontaneous combustion, the oxidizing dust:
`I am the gold that produces and drains Medicis;
This is why I will usurp your form. There is no preservation;
There are only the subsequent pseudomorphs, each of them deteriorating.'

They were writers, my dear, all those minerals were writers
And were transplanted; this text is not of original vocabulary I was translating,
Nor these crystals the regular cuboids of a rhythm
Wherein syntax was homoed simply by literary sinners: A final word
And perhaps contribution, proposed
As an artificial mutation method for a passage, to a certain
Author’s credit, is that all I give you? It’s familiar:
It has a limited quality which with regard to poetry
It follows some rule, but never replaces what
All the intermediary texts propose; it requires our attention. The paleontologist,
Developed for her body’s work of studying
The bones of bones, the earth’s Patterns, is herself preserved
By these common events that so informatively illustrate
An incomplete being; and these interactions,
Producing the species alongside its prehistoric environment
With such complex outcomes, evidence the impossibility of History's
Estimable reconstruction: I, too, am insufficient, for what
And how loudly I want. Not to lose time, not to make conversation,
Not to be left underground, not, please! to replicate
The structures I crystallize into, or a relic or specimen
Of stone whose geochronology can be dated, these
Are my only remains, whose replacement mineral is brittle
Which must be protected rapidly, captures detail,
But does not speak. If it be that I will not remain extant
Beyond words as an impression, no more need be said: But if
Fossils can be uncovered, if crystals form within the body,
These pyritizations of persons across
Geological epochs and sedimentary strata,
Carrying something like history, carry a creature too:
The text may be bioimmured in skeletons which have subsumed it,
Molding someone in bone. Dear, I am addressed by
You, but when I try to respond in parallel lines
Or a layering of materials, what I hear is the murmur
Of underground streams, what I see is a limestone landscape.

Pyritization II (In Praise of Limestone)
Poem, texts