Friday, March 2, 2018

Manifesto #4


OBU wants a free day. It comes with the contract, doesn't it? She wants to sit on her cushion and gently erase the blood-stains spreading across the internet this morning. She wants to water her doubt until it blossoms into something green. She wants to laugh when her dog hunts raindrops on the lanai.

OBU wants to know how this happens, when what is private separates itself from the public sphere (if it is a sphere). Where is a leaf-drenched space beneath the bushes where she can sit, immune, where birds at late afternoon trade gossip in mad cacophonous gulps of sound? Why can she not parse pain from delight?

OBU thinks to hire a personal trainer, one who can show her how to stretch her hamstrings while avoiding six television screens that hang between her and slogans telling her to CHANGE HER LIFE.

Or OBU might hire a personal musician, a Mexican singer with a blunt steel guitar and tiny speaker, to serenade as if her instruction manual matched his. She hears others say “take care of yourself,” and wonders what that means. Means to an end? Health and humor and the pursuit of?

The poet laureate erased the “Declaration,” that part where early Americans complain about the tyrant across an ocean. What is left when you erase a complaint is another, more abstract, one. To abstract a moment is to bring it dripping into the present, like Marcel slipping on a damp cobblestone.

OBU's dog interrupts her with tug of war toy; she wonders why it's a war between them in the living room, when her arm takes one side and the dog's mouth another. When the growls sound angry but occur in the context of delight? The dog's dream of violence (the white-flecked rooster that struts on the same patch of lawn each morning) dimmed by the knotted toy?

The recipe calls for a strainer. Water runs through the pasta and then tiny holes in the metal bowl. Words run through the mind like agents searching for a cause, or an effect. Starch comes out in the sink.

OBU pesters too much. She expects a lot from others. Some of it comes before the legislature and is voted down. Some of it sits like gravy on her plate, and she doesn't like gravy. She fails to hear her tone in the mirror, says the right thing in the wrong way, at the wrong pitch. To say is to be spontaneous, but what she needs is less of that, more of the considered phrase.

OBU wants everyone to have a free space and time. It's too exhausting any more (“any more” is not a phrase her partner likes her to use) to strain the daily news. It's a real strain. She wants to set up a fellowship for survivors, a place with good jazz and better poems. She'll have to fight the budget cuts, but we might be able to do it on the fly.

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