A paradoxical pleasure is both solid nor liquid that can be wet, dry, hard, soft, expansive, changeable. An intricate and hollow polymer network is energy transport at its finest, a compound structure of gas nor bubbles nor fans. Once hardened it can be tough to break. What binds. A gel for instance can envelop like an elastic skin. It can be prodded distorted pushed about, yet will bounce back and hold its shape. Under greater surface tension, it breaks into liquid starts to flow. A resilient responsive substance is mysterious, swift to morph, ever present in all that is cellular and delivers a shake-up. It supports the many invisible synthetic demands of industry-dependent living from insulants to binding agents. It has naturally assisted in the solidification of soap, the rising of bread, egg whites, and soufflés since the 17th century. The old ponce pumice stone works on hard callouses. Once exploded it can be hard as ash. The skeletal containers of dead sponges were used by Romans for brushes and combs, and for cups. Proust's memory work is foamic in a foam-lined room. A sudden foaming from the mouth for instance is the warning of miles of a thick sluggish matter heaped along coastlines, or bubbling up, obstructing the flow of vast industrial evacuation conduits. Matter turns unwelcoming, seemingly unregonisable. A persistent reactivity to events in its surroundings acts on a profound imbalance, the sign of a system being worked beyond capacity. Foams everywhere like the letter e, down to the alveolar structure.
Reprinted from Meddle English. Copyright © 2011 by Caroline Bergvall. Used with permission of Nightboat Books. All rights reserved.
Caroline Bergvall's works, which have been commissioned and presented at museums all around the world, are noted for their combinations of performative, visual, and literary texts within the same project.
Date Published: 2011-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/about-foam