Paula Koneazny: AV11-Installation


“For to stay fresh and green is exceptional in wartime.”

1. In a declarative sentence much can come in between:


He had no formal training; aluminum and copper gave him a shudder. Then one day he stumbled into some driftwood. The next thing he knew he owned 3 pianos. No longer having to illuminate anything, he experienced a sense of freedom. He said, “Movement in the exhaust pipes created this.” She said, “I was an athlete once.” She had 10 pallets of metal, each shoulder-high. She always started with realism, then went abstract, because she fancied herself the narrative that would adhere. They both were dictated to by their materials; not driven nuts, but driven to do something. Crushed mother-of-pearl, star ruby, sandalwood and camphor were nothing but art supplies to them.

2. A misplaced modifier functions as an affirmation or negation:

He nicknamed her Plover, not long ago; she recorded animal oddities as they passed her by on the loop. At present, she prefers to be known as Homemaker. Now seminally at home, she answers her Hot Line. And when he asks politely, she migrates up his torso.

3. Adverbs can be detected through the senses:


After his departure, she folds anonymously back into the white crowd. When they wipe off her face, she wails nakedly. She doesn’t see the magnet. Historically, the scene has been set. It’s a farce in which no one questions the decency. For to eavesdrop is to latch.

4. Dangling modifiers are parallel if they are all in the past, all in the present, or all in the future:

He tattoos her photograph inside his belly; layer after layer of his thin skin peels back to fix her image—a translation of logic

more exquisite than a pear on a pendant

from affection

5. An absolute phrase is logically connected to removing a word:


Seeking self-enrichment, we stumble into a room perforated with trophy flags. Sadly, no feeling develops, and our embrace soon turns sour. We camouflage our machinations on a wintry veldt then trek off in pursuit of fuel. (Human beings radiate on average 100 watts of power.) Daily life devolves into a stagnant pantomime of pallbearers in a dog-hair thicket. We miss our minders, our servitors and the serenity of concentric circles. Our cache of panic has eroded. Oddly enough, we are not alone in our astonishment. Our flirtation is thus not impossible to sell and does not, finally, subvert the market.

6. Prepositions are sometimes added to verbs to say that something is true now:

She jots down the molecular structure of anxiety.

“You morsel, you,” he scribbles in.

7. Certain fragments lack a sense of completeness in an individual way:


dear department of the interior. dear minister of posts and sinkholes. I am bowled over by our infrastructure’s ferocity. think constantly of the market. the sale of one for one bringing to mind a defect—the chance act that changes the course. what does it mean to survive? to have bad luck? think of my own predicament. how grateful I am that I don’t know. for if I knew, I might make it my calling card. dear department of allegiance. the infested are our pioneers.

8. Maintain consistency in tense except when in a state of urgency:

I might consider the bull elephant seal’s 2 ½ tons an imposition, if it weren’t for the elegance of his life at sea.

Hundreds of black-headed, white-bodied murres crowded up against one another, bringing to mind the French word for wall.

Juvenile chickadees browse for new berries. How will they select a prizewinner?

More has its satisfactions but is not as dazzling an experience as new.

Who knew that deer crouch to defecate?

9. A word that comes between an antecedent and its pronoun may be mistaken for a possession:


They show up at my door (girls gone off to the country), invite themselves into my fancy: iridescent fish called speeders; an albatross rimmed with stars’ light. They break the spell by fussing with their belongings. (Just another day of capitalism.) Because a time/space continuum becomes rat-like when immobilized, I am not optimistic. On the other hand, now that I’m old, I no longer prepare by eating less, nor do I give a damn if my breasts are funny.

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