Monday, January 20, 2020

Meditation 15


The world ends in hail and dust. No more a consistent tense that moves from present to present, but a tense confabulation. It’s a powerful move, I tell my students, but you need to know where you’re going. It’s not that we’re all living in the present, rather that its fragile shell so easily shatters. Memory loses all category, as if the past only rewound the present. My mother confused my story with hers, my husband with hers. Who’s to say we were not all on that plain, huge orange dust storms sweeping toward us, enveloping our drone-witness, bearing material prophecy in its grit. The dust cloud is 186 miles long and moves at 66 miles per hour; it crests over Dubbo and Broken Hill, composed of earth from farms in New South Wales. “Look at the earth,” my father would say, meaning the orange clay that only broke when you took your spade to it. The earth was that color in Vietnam, a vet once told me. But now it rises as if it had wings and its poet wasn’t always so stoned he heard angels singing, their verbs blooming dutifully at the ends of sentences, where they propel us back to the beginning, no matter their tense. Our witnesses watch for us, a drone hovering over Diamond Head to see how many houses burned on the first clear day in weeks. It was such a beautiful day. Without my uttering the word, my students talk about mindfulness, this being in the present, being with, not coming after. Legions of bearded white men descend on Richmond with their guns; one chides a younger man for using the word “masturbation.” We’re here to show our love for each other, he says, and the younger man avers, backing off. One wears a knitted American flag hat, the other an orange bandanna. Love does not alter where it alteration finds, is bronzed like another horseman in another instagram photo. Yesterday, I saw Ronald Reagan on a horse, as still as a church mouse. The drone came back to the park like a boomerang, though after the third news story it’s running in the present, coming back and back to spill its video record. She read out loud from To the Finland Station, sentences unspooling like Krapp’s tapes, students giggling at their heft. At the Atocha Station, I thought I saw old women selling bats on sticks, suspicious that the poem was an act of realism, not experiment. There was a plaque for the intervening dead. Some species may be rendered extinct by the bush-fires. To be going extinct. What tense is that? The continuous perishing.

No comments: