Friday, May 8, 2020

Meditation 53

9 May 2020

The arbitrary earned, like forgiveness. You can go walking day after day, up the hill by the pet cemetery to the power pole, hoping to miss the beehives beneath trees on the trail, and you can forget why you so hated him. Or her. Why the trail had seemed so certain the first many times you followed it. Why you had refused to look for the bees, were stung and slipped down the path slapping your legs, or why you stopped when you could touch the mountain; these are questions that lead neither to easy answers or to meditation. You stop looking for their answers, having misplaced even the question of shame and guilt. She asked me if I knew the difference and I realized I did not. Both build nests in the stomach that resemble palm roots, smaller than you might imagine, but complicated, like Medusa’s snake-piece. Embedded in the roots are shells. Settler colonists out for an ocean ride, equally cast away on this beach at this time, empty of tourists, if not of dogs. To imitate indigenous practices is not to appropriate them, but to borrow them as a clarifying lens. She notes that the sweet grasses grow out of the white and toxic sludge of the lake. It’s a kind of reverse toxicity, this bringing back to life, the recumbent body of this place, its breaths stretching ribs out until they seem less like cages than open containers of air. We went to the meeting in our small squares, bookcases and paintings behind us, windows out and in. We had started to negotiate again, from a position of weakness, bringing our chest of modifiers, rather than knives, along to the picnic. If you sit back to back in a meadow, you see more, so long as you talk to the other person’s back. The peripheral images dim, but everything else is stereoscope; two sides to the valley, two houses surrounded by rusted car hulks. A creek runs through it, twice. Only connect your clauses to complete the stream. A poet asks if I understand the term “free association.” I do wish it were more like guild or union.

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