I saw the black night of the cover. I saw the white strips across the cover. I saw the obsolete newsprint aesthetic of the cover. I read the title of the book “Language Death Night Outside” as an enjambment of foreign terms. I read the subtitle of the book “Poem Novel” as an enjambment of like objects. I read the name Peter Waterhouse as the enjambment of Peter Water House. I read the bio of the author who grew up in Vienna. I read the first pages of the book. I read the words of the book taking shape as identical beginnings. I read the prose of the book as dense blocks of text. In the density of the text, I read the silhouetted sorrow of the author. In the density of the text I felt the encroachment of the bodies of the city. In the city of words, I felt the streetlights tracking my eyes as they moved across the page. In the letters on the page, I saw the identity of the author crouched up in a tiny scrawl. In the density of self identity, I read the wishes of the words themselves. I read the words "I saw the poem loosen the homogeneity of water.” I read the words “I saw the poem loosen language from the compulsion to identity" I read the words "I thought of the temperature of the doorknob. I thought of the slenderness of the doorknob.” I read the words “I thought of the movability of the doorknob. The doorknob was substance.” I read the words “The doorknob was without breath. I praised the breathlessness of the doorknob." I thought of the doorknob. I thought of the cold breathlessness of the doorknob as a universal experience, as an object without a need for translation. I thought of the translations of poems embedded in the book as specimens in a lab. As quiet repositories of an alternate reality. I thought of the translator of the poems and the speaker of the book as the same person. I thought of the translator of the translator of the poems, Rosmarie Waldrop, as a twice removed agent of language death. For the first time, I thought of “language death”
as an enjambment of its own, after reading the term “language death” in another book
. For the first time, I thought of “language death” as an enjambment of its own rather than two terms in a list “Language / Death / Night Outside”. For the first time, I considered and rejected the idea of enjambing the middle words as "Language / Death Night / Outside". For the first time, I saw the narrator as separate from the writer Peter / Water / House. For the first time, I saw the narrator standing off to the side of the author’s biography. I saw the narrator standing off to the side of the city, an impartial observer, a cold doorknob. I saw the distant narrator narrating the cold events of discrete units. I saw the cold units become the discrete sentences I was reading. I saw the complete sentences as textbook examples. I saw the textbook examples become teaching moments, set off from reality. I saw the reality of words transformed into thinking exercises. I saw the set apart-ness of the narrator as a way of pulling inwards, denial, disease of thought. I saw the brakelights shining in the city, and the “differently red” poppies set apart in a field. I saw the repeated words as brakelights, lighting down the page. The repeated words enticed me to repeat the words. The repeated words lulled me in a contentment of language. The repeated words bored me at times to ignore the words completely. I read the repeated words repeatedly. I read the repeated words repeatedly but did not understand them. I read the repeated words, though not the same sentence, repeatedly. I read the words describing the words repeating as a slow unveiling of intuition. I read the words canceling each other as a plain of plain facts. I read the book in slow increments towards the last repetition. I read the reviews
of the book describing the book as transformation, as ambivalence, as architecture. I read the blurb on the back of the book set apart from the book. I looked at the whiteness of the back cover of the book. I closed the book in an illusion of having experienced the book.