Saturday, May 2, 2020

Meditation 50

2 May 2020

His family’s pain occurs somewhere between kindness and his inability to express it. My students are caught between a sense of foreboding and their refusal to look at it. Erica says we’re in the liminal space now, a space where we can’t write. But some of us fools do, because what is there to do but balance our thoughts against the weight of a world in crisis? The absurdity of it makes for a good topic sentence, though the transition flounders under a great weight of evidence. The man at the sentry box tells me to do my research, but when I ask where, he won’t tell me. Somewhere on-line. All he knows is that he’s right. But he doesn’t care what I think because he knows I won’t agree. Breakdown of culture diagnosed in the failure of sentences to cohere, to link phrases with a purpose other than performance. My own performance was too loud. I ask my students to write their final essay as a dialogue between writers we’ve read. Shall they pit Terrance Hayes against William Shakespeare, or is poetry still too fine a cloth to be dyed in stolid colors? One student used a Shakespearian English generator that promises not to be accurate. The new press secretary says she will not tell a lie, then tells a big one. One day, Trump says the states should open; 24 hours later, he says they should not. I need stronger words, not just the same ones uttered at higher pitch. “Hypocrisy” and “graft” are too tame, especially when one meant “actor” and the other creates better apples. But back to the ambiguities of kindness, the way it can show on a face but not in a body or its words. Self-isolated signals do not generate light. His being damaged still damages. Between intention and expression, a space that can’t yet be crossed. His inabilities have been willed to us. But an inability to protect is not refusal. He was not the one who cannot be forgiven.

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