Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2 August 2017

I want to write an honest sentence that is not like the others. Form to follow function requires me to better think about function. The newest experiment is spare record of water drops on broad leaves. Too much detail denotes trauma, too little the same. Repeat signs were emojis before the fact. “There there” or “the the” finds laughter in repetition. An old Cambodian woman asked for more gruel and was killed in front of our friend. My students could not forgive him his laughter. They couldn't stop bringing it up. Our friend gave them his trauma and they blamed him for it. I wonder how they remember him from their late 20s or early 30s, driving to work, feeding their kids, mowing their lawns. Only later did I see it as a kind of generosity of spirit, his offering up of story. Later iterations of his were softer, until trauma seemed to have bled out, and we'd arrived at a horrible going to camp narrative that didn't jar us from our desks. Most American workers have suffered the trauma of bullying or mobbing in their jobs; psychologists need to understand the phenomenon of ganging up on scapegoats and forcing them out of work. Jeff Sessions oddly knows this, the racist bully. Administration, typically, sides with the mob; most others remain silent and are traumatized in their turn by what they witness. The survivor is scarred, but at his best sanctified by this experience. Saints don't get much health insurance, however, or tuition money for their kids. You've gotta be in the 1% to express your empathy, but once you're there, you've got your eyes on a different prize. This morning birds punctuate the forest with song. A distant bulldozer diminishes their surround. When I asked students to give examples of systems, one said “buddy.” Beside the road a layer of rock holds up a layer of soil. It's thinner than you might think, spongy with dead hapu'u fronds. If you don't learn the names, they'll all disappear. If you do, sing them in rounds. Spread the trauma of repeated sound.

--2 August 2017

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