Saturday, January 11, 2020

Meditation 11


It’s a story they tell themselves that makes sense of their lives, he says. A story links race to rape, rape to the military, thus to America’s wars of imperialism and back to rapes, to orphans. Then throw adoption in. Take the walkers away from sex offenders, someone writes, so they can’t provoke our pity. They can walk after they’re declared not guilty, can’t they? He had a good experience in the Boy Scouts, but his abuser had been a scout leader. He had an abuser who was a scout, but his grandfather was a kind man. Variables sing out from flawed equations, demanding restitution. There’s need for a Rage Park where we can pause to scream, throw bones to ourselves and chase them, unleash ourselves in a controlled space. The problem with containing rage is that it resists the container, spills through netting or chain link that holds it in. An arm across the chest signals love and confinement. The wedding photo showed his arm around her neck. The murder dressed as suicides came later. Someone left the abuser to die in his cell and threw out the video evidence. It means denial can masquerade as hope. It’s not just trauma we push down, mistaking silence for safety. It’s also positive emotions that go into hiding in the city’s sewers or basements, those things with feathers avoiding the street, angling for cultural amnesia. A schoolyard fills with terrified kangaroos, fleeing the bush fires. Bet you hadn’t expected that migration. Texas will take no more refugees, as they’ve done their share. Who parcels out these shares, or keeps the graphs of their rise and fall? Who has victimized whom? Do not look at yourself in the mirror. I posted the photograph of a dead saffron finch on instagram; it lay belly up on the sidewalk beside the culvert, its neck so bright a yellow it appeared orange, with fragile orange beak. Does memory preserve or desecrate the bird, whose photograph I take and post on instagram? It garners lots of likes. Is it the beauty of the dead bird’s plumage, or the framing of bright color by gray sidewalk? Decomposition composed. Camera as stun gun, fired at whatever you least want to change. Or can least resuscitate. My daughter finds it odd that I take pictures of dead birds; she saw a dead mouse, but refused. The Tibetan monks who meditate beside a charnel pit are not so shy. To see oneself as flesh, then bone, then dust, makes our being’s imminent absence visible. Immanence is no lie, though the stories the President tells are yarns. He took photos of homeless persons' blankets, so as not to invade their privacy. She holds up the brightly colored quilt she made for her son. The last ever, she swears. Make sure your conclusion is less an ending than an opening, and leave off the moral of every story told.

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