Tuesday, August 29, 2017

As To the Going of Age

Familiar words have become less so to me.
I look at common words and they appear to be 
objects I’ve never seen before. I read them, pronounce
them aloud, and for a second or two they seem 
incomprehensible. I wrote the word “reverse” in
the margin of a book I’m reading and I found
myself staring at the word as if it were a tree 
with branches or a bush. An odd feeling
of suspension. Words are perhaps like one’s body—
they recoil, cease to function properly because, 
instead of communicating, they compel you to listen
to their heartbeat and to other organs that are not 
working properly. Objects are like that, too. They’re 
often dropping to the floor or have slid themselves into 
in the most obvious places. You don’t see them
until after you’ve give up looking. “They’ll show up,” 
you say to yourself, and that turns out to be
generally true. You find one and you kick it in anger, 
or curse it—punish it by throwing it across the room, 
as if the object were sentient. The loss of control, a 
kind of control you never actually had, but it seemed 
to you you did. Consciousness, the authentic . . .  I feel 
my vulnerability—I’ve become ordinary, after years 
of assuming there was something specific about me. 
Not exceptional, just specific, unconditional.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

This Is The End, My Friend

The clouds can release the sun with one report.
I want to speak, but I don’t. There’s safety in silence.
Action precedes motivation. One can’t wait until
one feels like it. It might be too late. A small 
demonstration led by clergy was more of a church
service than a protest. Introduce yourself to the
person standing next to you. She says hello, tells he End, My Friend
me her name, as does her daughter, and both shake
my hand. And then we forget. The 200 or so people 
sing. I roll my eyes. What is happening has happened
before, not exactly in the same shape but can lead to
similar results. Hundreds of petitions that go nowhere.
I’m frightened for us all. The coming is predictable,
but who wants to believe it? It’s not us—but it is.