Friday, May 15, 2020

Meditation 59

15 May 2020

Her son told her that his mother was dead, and it was true. Who is she to correct the language of grief, unfinished? She wondered why no one was listening to her, why her words came back to her with “sender no longer at this address,” why the president’s whining suddenly struck a tiny chord. The photograph of the dog at the bottom of some stairs renders her as tiny bauble. Tiny bubbles. You can see ocean off the lanai through an opening in the palms where the mansions are. Bring us your rich, your housed, your gourmands. Lady Oligarchy’s torch aims elsewhere. A man in Michigan wore a bazooka to the store, slung over his shoulder like a book bag. My mother burned a library during WWII in Italy(?) it was so cold. My teachers keep saying that all we have is the present. His relatives, those who worked in factories, compartmentalized time until they lost the present tense. We’re all living poets’ time, our nets perpetually empty of birdsong. These meditations are intended to revise the past as it surfaces through bleached coral and a scrim of plastic trash. Accidental eruptions, Combray on credit. Revision not as ordering, but as manifold occurrence. The old memories come back as ours, embedded in someone else’s history; that is how we know there was a world before us. Villagers in Cambodia do not frame their lives as episodes of violence; their narratives have more to do with interruptions in the crop cycles, with hunger. Many of them supported the regime that started again at Year Zero. One Zero crash-landed on Niihau after Pearl Harbor. A survivor overheard a man talk about a sexual act with a three year old. Trauma’s no direct path, not cause and effect but pain translated in the body as arthritis or the desire to drink. She talked about finding the rubble, softening the joints, sleeping without falling asleep. We fill our containers with murder videos, with hate speech, with open carry, then we assume our corpse position and wash it all away. It goes both ways in your blood, she says, and cleans it.

No comments: