Saturday, January 4, 2020

Meditation 7


The son bores a hole in his father’s skull, releasing his spirit as the body burns. Once charred, it's immersed in the river. Not to put it out but to send it on as product. Her poems were never as good after the one about bathing in the Ganges, feeling ashes and bones jostle around her. Because her mother demanded it. The flip side of spirit is ash. We’re doing our very best to create more of it, says no one at Raytheon, though they love their stock prices about now. If we see them as stock figures, they’re easier to take out with our drones. Put faculty in small rooms for 12 hours at a time to write free textbooks. Put middle Americans in small rooms for 12 hours at a time to kill a man in Baghdad. Put us all in examination rooms to take our obedience tests. And in lines for phones to prepare us for more deadly ones, but earn no empathy from the experience. Because the state demands it. The woman who dances at half-time still believes in perfection, though she knows it doesn’t exist. What does the drone-driver feel when her flying object hits its target? Is there a sense of a job well done, something created of her skill and training? Might she be a good reader of literature, one who finds the precise point the plot shifts and marks it with her pen? I missed the point of Henry James, hurrying to find it after the student with the southern accent performed it in our lounge. Association is a kind of stereotyping, as this next sentence wants to be about Mitch McConnell, slow talking his defense of the despot over whom a flock prays. He began his speech to the faithful by boasting he’d killed a man. They lean over to touch his jacket, bless him because he’s a vehicle of the Lord brought to save those unborn babies who are needed to fight our wars. It’s not the belief system they’ve attacked, but our capacity to feel productive doubt. Because, as she claimed, it was all in my imagination, I had a hard time solving the equation that generated anything beyond doubt as IED. We talked in class about what IED means, finally settling on “improvised” as the first word in the acronym. Acrid aid to memory. That was a decade ago, and now we say it again. Not to be found on the stock exchange of Iran, but stenciled on the streets of Baghdad, malign graph to our narrative, confusing climax with denouement, and always death for meaningful life. No arc this, but a more chaotic geometry that cannot be solved for any x. We know the needle on suicide points higher, but that’s no sign of order, just of good accounting. The study of gun deaths was banned. Those closing bells do toll for thee and me. So get out your silencers and work on your noise suppression techniques. The loaded gun has gone mute. A river of our blood contains no sacred ash; we’ve cut out the middle man. Save 20% on plots, a large sign reads at our local cemetery. It blew over in the last storm.

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