September’s Approximations

I am much less bothered by not knowing, or not quite knowing or roughly/approximately knowing. Not exactly but mostly, almost but never completely. Part of the picture, but never the whole thing. I’ve been writing a lot about bewilderment and unknowingness. This not quite knowing is not bewilderment but something else. Not wild, not lost, but not found either. For the month of September, I gave some closer attention to the idea of the approximate.

Definitions, Expressions, Words

  • Not quite
  • Roughly, rough estimate
  • Not exactly
  • Almost
  • Partly but not wholly, not completely
  • Just above or just below (the water) but not fully either
  • “like the book next to the book that you took from the library shelf” (Paul Hall)
  • marginally, on the margin
  • peripheral
  • a guess, a clue, but not the answer
  • no words only metaphors, attempts to describe, circling around
  • vague
  • in the right zip code or area code
  • in the ballpark
  • close enough for jazz
  • close but no cigar
  • by and large
  • as a rule
  • for all intents and purposes
  • indicates an unwillingness to commit (you give an approximate answer, because you don’t want to be responsible for what you’ve said)
  • not the real fish (Anne Sexton)
  • not quite real, not quite pretend, a fake or copy
  • semblance
  • insubstantial, or not fully substantial or lacking some amount of substance
  • apparition (ghost, ghostlike image of a person)
  • more than, not just this, not only that
  • not about this but something else (Nazim Hikmet)
  • never arriving
  • looping around, orbiting
  • telling it slant, concealing the full truth
  • shifting, changing
  • fuzzy, unformed or not yet formed
  • in-between–a different sort of space
  • in transition–a different type of time

Approximate Poems

A Question

How does the approximate, almost or not quite, the not exact or not fixed or not finished, enable us to do more (or less) than make sense?

Goal for the Fall

Return to peripheral vision and research and write about it. Revisit how we see with peripheral vision, read poems about the periphery — as location, way of being, form of seeing. Find a way into this big topic, a form for your words.