Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Meditation 61

19 May 2020

An economy of small pleasures requires lots of vampires and even more necks. I taught Melville’s Confidence Man once in the 90s, mislaid my copy. The word “diddling” seems too kind, though our president’s in search of one chair he cannot find. Echolocation might work, especially for a narcissist, but his voice  dissipates in thin air. Nonsense means that it doesn’t mean, which makes for a tough exegesis. Ex-Jesus on the road to Jerusalem on an ass. Brenda puts up a quote about needing to love what is unlovable, but the word compassion can’t be confused with eros. The Kwan Yin statue up the hill sits at the end of a white plastic fence. She is the stone woman who gives birth beside sheer mountains. The tenants of the house are Kansas City Chiefs fans. At the museum, Kwan Yin is carved from wood, rests on a wooden platform gazing at a room of Buddhas. The conjunction of fast-rushing river water and stillness live in the walking mountains, sheer as corduroy, and just as riven. The president tells a farmer from Virginia there will be no one to guard his potatoes. There’s a space force, but no battalion of potato protectors to ring the fields, save our starch. When I took the pink wax voodoo doll from St. John’s Wood to a basement psychic in Bayswater, she told me it was real, made by “blacks.” Irish farmers place them on the boundaries of their fields, she told me, and her pliant sidekick nodded. Stillness quiets, or it disturbs. The dolls wear name tags, with form and function aligned. Kwan Yin has a name, but does not say it. He speaks the language of cure with nothing but words. Art may last forever, as Sonny Rollins says, but words get termite-eaten, fall in small piles of particleboard dust on our kitchen floor. I would invent new ones, if anyone would share, but we’re a culture of self. (Whatever happened to that magazine?) If he wanted to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” he memorized it. When he played, he had no idea what came next.

--for Brenda Kwon

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