Saturday, January 25, 2020

Meditation 17


The man with the blank map keeps calling you into his office. The man with the blank map in his office points to blank portraits on the wall. We see that they were men, but they are featureless. All that’s left of their histories shows in gilded frames, cleansed of dirt, that glint beneath the ceiling lights. The blank map man screams profanities, but the next day he will attack you for your “lack of decency.” The blank faced men in frames cannot look out or in. A senator refers to himself as “visibly upset”; perhaps he has a selfie to prove it, because neither in nor out will do what at requires. Look within thyself and write, or look at thyself and whine. A good portrait keeps his eyes on you as you cross the room. The eye that sees you is more powerful than a weapon, because it gives you pause to think. “People will hear about this,” said the man with the map, intending it as a threat. What is most dangerous is someone else’s attention to us. I will sit quietly in my office. I will not say to anyone what they might repeat to another. My mask is a map with nothing on it. I know it covers a place, but I cannot stick a pin in that place. The memory police are out to shame us, but shame has no currency. None of my students ever drew the face of a quarter with any accuracy. We cannot see what we use. A gumball means more than a founding father. Chew on that.

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