A MEDITATION ON THE POPPING OF SUSPENDERS,
FOR COLOMBE,
VALENTINE'S DAY 2012

Suspenders
(let's start with the basics)
are a system of support:
the simplest possible
instance
of the
complex
physics
of tensions:
bridges, buttresses, cantilevers, crossbows, engine belts, domes --
                         suspenders.

But humans have
(still sticking with basics)
hands,
with which
they can
do a human trick:
they can reach out and strain the system's tensions,
re-route the logic of its pull,
and then -- just at the moment when
the system is beginning to believe
a permanent change has been introduced,
when it's starting to ease its forces into a new order --
the human hand lets go.

                         Pop.

The system of tension (the suspenders) remembers --
with a suddenness that surprises it --
what it had been doing all along before.
It goes back to doing its same old thing
but in a new way --
the old thing
with the inflection of the pop.

Now: think of all the good that has come from the popping of suspenders.

The guitar player pops his guitar's suspenders,
over and over, in patterns.

Twice a day the moon pops the suspenders of the sea,
without which there would be
no starfish, no barnacles, no crabs, no whelks
and rivers that run only one way.

The upright number 1 pops, intermittently, a suspender made otherwise of endless zeros,
eventually making a code that holds everything.

Every fifteen years or so, Quebec pops Canada's suspenders,
waking it up
and making the rest of North America laugh.

And here
is
what
elevates
the humble science
of suspender-popping
above
just a little
meaningless trick:

these separate pops,
with all of their separate tensions,
begin to
accumulate.
They build a world.

For instance:
When the woman pops the suspenders of the man,
and the ski lift pops the suspenders of the mountain,
and the kiss pops the suspenders of the mouth
(which had otherwise just been breathing, eating),
and the marriage pops the suspenders of the life,
and the child pops the suspenders of the marriage:

all of these nested tensions get paused -- together --
then set back in motion -- again, together --
this time with the brand new sting of the snap.


Note: This poem was written by Sam Anderson with the help of David Rees, based on input from Simcha. Sam and David auctioned off their services to support the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.