Wednesday, February 7, 2018

7 February 2018

I want to write an honest sentence about the end of the world. At the gym I listen to a podcast about compassion. Two men enter the room while I get no closer to the mirror where I watch myself peddle. “Then we'll do squats,” one announces. “Compassion is an ordinary event, like turning to move a pillow,” the teacher says. “Are you working on your calves?” asks the man whose calves are thickest. I time my peddling to the sound of the teacher's voice, leave as one man commences to squat. The film is like that. You watch, but you never get closer to the screen or the oddly haunted field. An interminably boring masterpiece, I read. Makes time seem real, even if the action is not. Meet the dogs of Chernobyl. Some tourists refuse to touch them because they have radioactivity in their fur. But they gaze back at the camera. Simon the fox wears long white hair on his narrow hips and looks at us with human eyes. It's a “stalker's paradise,” the photographer says. Time doesn't pass, the teacher insists; at 80 we're still 20 and 40 and 60. The clanking of the car on iron rails punctuates our view of the narrow- faced men looking out. The color shifts to green, as actors take their allegorical places. Here there is no audience except bent poles and berms of stone. There's terror in the ordinary. An empty pool; a wrecked classroom. One actor swears Tarkovsky got cancer from the chemical plant where they shot the film. Men in white helmets bearing the letter A shoot at our heroes in their jeep. It's ruin porn with an eerie glow, an O in the dome with a blue eye beyond. Or we're inside the eye, looking further in. Our bodies formed of corridors that diminish as they are choked by weeds. Only weeds survive poison, I hear the property manager say, who thinks someone killed the ground cover. The dumpster, at least, is green. Trees are cast white or red by the camera's lens; a dog lies beside the plaque beside the sarcophogus that retains radioactive waste. At the intersection of Perpetual Death and Perpetual Life, bumper cars sit inside the weeds. Asthmatic whacker outside my window heaves up rocks. Broken toys and a rotting grand piano. Amen.

--7 February 2018

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