Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Simone Weil 11


It is necessary to uproot oneself. In the language of direction up is toward the air, which cannot sustain us. She uprooted her daughter, found on the steps of a municipal building. This daughter screamed each night for juice. A cry is not a wall, but fear is. She learned to feel her daughter's cries as drops of water on her cheeks. To mend a cry is to break it. Break it like bread, letting birds scatter for the crumbs. Pigeons in the grass, alas. Doves fugue with thrush and finch. Sound is not random, but where it falls is. Like wisdom, lacking plot. Once upon a time the story ended. We had to turn it over, the young woman's torn feet placed gently back in the garden, her stepmother's words muffled by the moss. Our earth is in the air.
                                                    --for Maya

Monday, May 2, 2016

Simone Weil 10



To love a stranger as oneself implies the reverse: to love oneself as a stranger. One day she wondered who looked back at her from the bathroom mirror. The fragile yarn of knowing, how it enters the cat's mouth. She sits inside the window at once behind and before me, doubly framed. Now wanders into the kitchen to eat. To be abject is to consume oneself. But to lose yourself in the mirror is stranger yet. In photos of herself, my mother saw only her mother. We own what we use, but when usefulness drops like a shift to the carpet, we exit our chrysalis scathed. “It was as if, without even trying, she'd become a Buddhist.” There's no irony in the newspaper, only revision, where to re-consider seems more crucial than consideration. Compassion knows no drafts.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Simone Weil 9



His imagination was not strongly enough attached to power to be able to span the years: it turned toward a cup of tea. To compensate is to obey a clock. “I clock myself in” is not to say I'm clocked. It sounds like a stapler, but what it attaches is me to my office; underneath, jack hammers stitch rhythm into chaos. Somewhere in the corner, where the signatures are, I hoard my time; it grows in that right angle like a dust bunny. One with ears to hear voices through construction. We're due a new elevator, but the car shall remain the same. Assign it to god or mammon, this servant of the up and down. The elevators at Reina Sophia looked out on a square; those at Windward Mall on a plastic playground. We could walk, but we know the view's better inside the shaft.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Simone Weil 8



To soil is to modify. To shift terms, like two images that bleed together at a mirror's edge. A boundary without wall cannot get mended. He would have shoveled Ken Kesey's cow shit just to breathe the same air he did. But my friend was allergic to his smoke, as to his privileged skin. A novel has a plot but no soil, unless you use its paper in the woods. Leave it there and it self-erases. Liken it to natural selection, or the retreat of word into sound. Rose is name and she is noun, more electronic pulse than petaled thing. In the video, he's cut in half, then replicated. He's two partial wholes, dancing toward us in silky blouse and tight pants. We forget the emotion in these songs, he said at his last concert. We didn't know his piano was a guillotine, that his body would soon scatter, that no magician could undo the illusion he offered us. He moved so beautifully, my husband says.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Simone Weil 7



To act not for an object but from necessity. Seeing my $20, the Hilo vendor stuffed my sack with tomatoes, long gong, small ovoid mangos such as we'd never seen. One of the Two Old Ladies brought me mochi from the back; she'd been hanging boys' day kites from her ceiling. At the intersection of For and From we exchange objects for 20s, and sometimes we get change. It's in the air, this shift of tenses, as if we'd waited out the squall and headed for a landing. Some days, travel is allegory. The market sells what this earth creates. A tailless white cat, one eye shut, follows us around a cottage, rubbing our legs. Domestic, needing a home. I smelled his spray beside the door. That's what keeps him outside. The market stinks, too, of old fruit. If we're lucky, we are who others need us to be. Necessity is not the mother of invention, but mother to another girl who travels more awkwardly than we. A pruned metaphor might heal the family's tree.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Simone Weil 6


Time and the cave. Tenses split like the cave's lip. I am the cave's tongue, its soft red blade, its reporter on the beat. I am the man in the elevator, the anemone at Shark's Cove, the dancing tool in a cartoon. Memory is a moving within strangeness, cat in a flung bag. Who's to call it “good” or “bad,” name it character in a mystery play, watch its wagons lurch across England. I am a pilgrim, she told her mother. A little girl carries her chair up a mountain, and it is green, not blue. The sky may be, but she's not there yet. The man in blue dances on our skull walls; we cannot get him or us to rest. We see only spotlights, emergency exits. The day before the day he died, he rode around a strip mall parking lot on his bike. We know, because he sat on a curb, refusing the inevitable photograph.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Simone Weil 5



A rock in our path. She carries a lump in her throat. I suggest she name it, talk to it, make friends with it. The lump is scary, as if she dreamed what came true, in reverse order of myth. The lump does more than denote discomfort, it is what takes the place of nothing, which is calm abiding. She never differentiates the lump, never gives it fractals or a neighborhood; it is indistinguishable from any shape that doesn't fit. There are things to worry over: workplace, daughter, what was and will be. But now there is the lump. She worries over, not inside or under it. I see her hover, like a parasailor from her umbilical. Beneath her, a tiny boat skitters, honoring no direction except back and forth. Be forward looking, we're told. It's a way to frame an ideology as correct. Think of the lump as what holds us back, gives us pause not to pander but to rest.