The Jewelry of Yaks

by John Olson

It's too early in the morning to play the glockenspiel. I'll just sit here and knit this tiger. Its pounds should be fiber, and muscular, intrinsic as the dawn. It will have black stripes like a real tiger. And it will roar. And tinkle. And gather its glands around a conception of tigerness. I will pledge this tiger to all the tigers of the world. But William Blake especially, who misspelled tiger, and caused the tiger to be a real tiger. This is beginning to get rhetorical now, because the tiger is pacing back and forth like a sentence that is caged in its own words, as if each word were a bar, or a black tattoo in the snow dripping tongues. That is to say haunted, and soaked in infinity like medicine. Electricity is just too arbitrary for words. I will have to let that go. Electricity can take care of itself. But this tiger, this tiger I'm knitting will require your attention, your eyes, your focus, your imagination, your kindness, your willingness to imagine a tiger, this tiger, this tiger knitted with words, this tiger pacing back and forth. This tiger of pixels. This tiger of long marination in the stew of my thought. This tiger flashing yellow and black and baring its fangs. And now that the tiger is here, really here, I feel ready to play the glockenspiel. And that, too, is made of words. Because it is not an ordinary glockenspiel. Oh no. This is a glockenspiel that thinks it's an elephant. But that's another story. A story for a cold, windy day. When the trumpets are full of Norway. And all the equations of time and place jingle like a waterfall shampooed with the jewelry of yaks.