Two Pieces on E.G. Roberts’ Life and Works by Peter Zuppardo

Found fragment from On E.G. Roberts’ Studies on Panoplial Islands: Sound Recognition and Acceptance. Harcourt Press, 2012.

To begin with a familiar object: In a GUITAR, a set of strings vibrates hundreds of times in a given second producing a frequency that is then funneled into the “body” of the guitar, where these frequencies collide as air does above certain bodies of water. The sound then travels through any artificially lit room, eventually “dying off,” and thinning down to a powder (dust). But as Roberts has written so cogently about, it may be argued that these sounds do not die off but in fact continue on ad infinitum, still existing in the room, but at a frequency too low for any human to hear. Books for instance emit a low level drone not unlike voices thrown in a large-sized church, though minus the golden light.
     Colored wind, as we’ve shown, has no sound. Roberts posits, though not in this study but in his previous Phonetic Kingdom, that the fate of all animals is to produce their one sound continually all their lives. This is of course to maintain a stasis of wind (98-102). Humans are the only animals to display visible distaste at having to produce their given sound all their lives. Always in search of other sounds, sounds that feel “more like them,” a phrase that in an eschatological context means nothing, humans exist in a class apart, and possess what Roberts calls, “The Gray Phoneme.” Other human sounds sound more pleasing to other humans. It is only those who live on islands with a high level of organic tree growth that do not display “sound envy.” But this too is starting slowly to change (see E.G. Roberts, Studies on Panoplial Islands, pg. 124-197). “The ruination of color at present I have no doubt is linked to sound borrowing. 70-80 percent of humans in the U.S. exhibit such symptoms, while patients studied here seem immune. However, it seems when examining certain dry facts that [they] too are beginning to display early signs…of a jealousy of sound like those that have arisen in the middle western United States (see chart at beginning of Chapter 3). What proceeds is the long process of sound erasure. Since sounds and colors share the same basic properties, we may comfort ourselves with the thought that death is generally prompt, bloodless” (213).
Dealing primarily with Chapter 7, On E.G. Roberts’ My Time with the Spanish Revisionists. Doubleday, 1997, with occasional biographical digressions.

Air, Roberts reminds us, is soundless during fog storms. The absorbent properties of low lying clouds being maybe their single salient feature. This explains the loss of children following a particularly loud rainfall. Their voices do not carry and are then “thrown” back to them, into their mouths (choking). Roberts himself gave a child in the decidable fog storm that late that year swept the better southern coast, where Roberts was, at that time, living.
     Roberts’ loss in part explains his outspoken devotion to Spanish Revisionism. Near the lower horn of that warm country lived the Revisionists, a silent but violent handful of hard mouths. Roberts spent weeks in this area, tasting the local jarred food, observing. It is said that Roberts wrote “if not the lot at least the pith of his major work [here], on a stump overlooking what used to be the Sea of Japan” (Pankerson, 206). On said stump you may still visit and find, in Roberts’ own hand, the message “Melissa I’m free” carved into the stump’s “face.” Yearly party barges venture here. Deposited elderlies have a see, and for three dollars bring home with them a hand-sized photo (Memory Image). The mysterious Melissa is of course Roberts’ mother, the famous Weather Solutionist, responsible, among other things, of creating the first documented Cancelling Wind. It was this that lent the Cloth Boom its fervor. Drive down any long boulevard in a city’s sunny region and behold the surge of cloth homes. Interestingly Roberts himself never lived in cloth. In his words: “My mother was wrong about many things. It was she who said I would never notify anyone of anything. My mute-swan, as she called me. Well, look at what happened to my name” (See Roberts’ In These Words I Have Lived, pg. 14).
Peter Zuppardo has had work in Monkeybicycle, which he is proud of. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.