Sunday, December 24, 2017

24 December 2017

I want to write an honest sentence. I don't want to exist, he said. To want not to be: two positives and a negative. Negative wins, masquerading as member of a team clutching its trophy for the cameras. Digital immortality is brief, though it comes around like days of the week. He sat down to draw a Valentine; what flashed before him was a sketch of himself ascending to heaven. At least there were wings. That was before the image of him lying in the tub, covered in blood. We pay attention to the film more than to the screen on which it dances. The film pierces us with need. His son's ideation involved using his friend's gun at a shooting range. If our father could do it, so can I, one woman reported, having lost both father and brother. It's not something we commit, except to other's memories. Her friend, dead these 20 years, still appears in her dreams, telling jokes. Ithi stands by Starbucks with Rawi, each clutching a large bag. Suicide is a stay to time, its straight jacket. At the end of Poetry: Shi, the audience sat quietly in the dark theater, as if to take in the braid of dementia and suicide. Outside it was sunny and the Pacific Ocean was turquoise and people were drinking coffee and shopping. Everything as it had been. The death toll is a bell that rings for thee, and thee. A verb and its negative are the enjambment that breaks statement into counter-statement, a moment of being into one of ceasing to exist. “The horses are" was Plath's best line, my teacher said. I'm afraid to see what came next. And he is and they are yet. I feel cleaner now, he says, having told us the story of a grandfather who liked little boys. To hear is to take on but some of the weight, and to carry it away. The road's shoulders bear the strain of wanderers, men and women who walk. (To walk is to place one foot before the other, and the other after.) You can see it in their eyes, the unsettled stare. Theo wondered if our colleague had died by suicide but I said no, he was quite happy. His last glance resembled one. 

--24 December 2017

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