Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Meditation 16


She says the neighbor was sitting on his truck bed while his daughter played on the swings yesterday. Today, he told me he was close to both of the dead officers. Marcus Aurelius writes that we observe everything before we’re 40. From then on, it’s a loop. We get used to things; we put a distance between us and our injuries; we reconcile ourselves. We forgive the trespasses of those who trespass against us. (Wisdom literature leans forward and back.) Aurelius would recognize the absurdity of this weekend’s violence: an old man killed cops with a shotgun, then set his neighborhood on fire. If reality presses against our eyelids, then how can we close our eyes? We keep them open to our devices, real and imagined. Distraction may have gotten us here, but it had better save us now. An Englishman once asked me why Americans use “gotten” instead of “got” as a verb form. I assured him we do not. Two sentences later, I heard myself say “gotten.” How little do we know ourselves by our verb forms. They make a fine family tree, however, enough to launch a holy book. Had he gotten help, he might not have run amok, the angry Czech. I want a how-to on looking, while not suffering for it. If I make my sentences longer, they might lose their hurt before the period waves its penalty flag. Can I offer wisdom before the facts, like a trial set up to occur before any witnesses are called? It’s a rough path, life, my son writes, though his photograph is of a wall. No matter the angle, the edges are blunt and sharp, and each fork in the road gets you there. The president has done nothing wrong, his counsel says, so there’s no need to introduce evidence. We’re watching the death of democracy on our screens, but it’s not entertaining enough, so we’ll do it quickly. No wonder our tenses are inconsistent. What occurred before the trial must be presented after the trial is done. Acquit him first, then argue that the evidence comes in too late. There’s a crisis in comedy, but I haven’t watched any for years now. The transcript of an absurdity is like a garden tool used to injure your landlord. “Kill da landlord,” Eddie Murphy screamed. It was funny then, but it isn’t the day after the landlord cannot be found dead in her own home, burned to the ground by her tenant. You can’t tell the joke, if the punch-line comes first. Or the shotgun blast. She let him stay in the house because she took pity on him.

No comments: