Friday, September 18, 2020

Meditation 94


18 September 2020

How am I, indeed? Depends on how you define the word “I.” Shaped like a cane, unbending like one, lean on it. I hold its top handle and lift it forward. You can’t step on the same sidewalk twice.  I read ONE CALL on this sidewalk, framed by red and orange arrows. A cop stands beside a trench; a workman walks toward us, his face hidden behind an oily American flag, his hands brown. Our new neighbor displays a flag behind the grill of his new jeep; a green line runs across it. He was wearing camo when I caught sight of him last night. He’s inherited the Navy pilot’s flag, hard to see down the stairs. The man up the hill who listens to devotional readings on his phone gave his neighbor kids  Trump/Pence and Hawai`i state flags. He’s an abuser, another neighbor tells me, though I do love his dog. My student disagrees with Toni Morrison that language can be violent. The flags are like affect, their effect pre-verbal, an electric shock. A Singapore artist took to walking through the streets in spontaneous resistance; when that became impossible, he played the videos of himself walking. Mediation dampens, but does not mute. It's the word that comes out when you try to type "meditation." Unmute yourself, we say to the inhabitant of one box whose mouth is moving without result. The flags are silent, but. It depends on what you mean by the word “kneel,” whether obeisance or resistance. The first is patriotic, the second costs you a career. No one said anything about prayer, though Norman told us it doesn’t matter whom you pray to. It’s the prayer that matters. Does poetry have real world effects? Is this a trick question, they ask me, because of course it does!

No comments: