Monday, November 16, 2020

Meditation 100

15 November 2020

The walks are a kind of normalcy, unless they aren’t. Today's involved an egret taking flight, mushrooms resembling flowers, Lilith scrapping with a mother hen, cops in our parking lot. “It’s personal,” the woman in shorts and a towel-turban says, when I ask if she's ok. Even when you see things, you don’t know what they are or mean or where the story came from or is going to. The moment's a cocoon, silk scarf tossed around a wound. Like the seed pod before it opens to reveal a toy canoe. We take our wounds to the bureaucracy, and wonder why we never heal. It would take too much paper work to cure us, too many reports on our credit, our status in Antifa, character studies composed in law enforcement templates. Testimonies freeze time’s skin, then slice it into transparencies, but what we see through them is more skin. The wide angle lens shows us more of the living room, but there’s very little interest in that among the masses. More an audience of poets wondering why their books haven’t sold, why the boxed gifts at their doors are full of their words, neatly piled inside. There’s no correlation between value and sales, between sales and poetry enforcement issues. If you call to ask that another poet stop stealing your formula, I will attend to your call, note down your sorrows, and then I'll shrug. The burden is all material, but the way out is to go back to the word field. She said she liked big words, though they proved to be short ones, like “land.” Words become heavy only when they’re bound. I caution my students not to look at Abu Ghraib photos until they feel strong. A friend sends me a more recent photo of a man in sunglasses, wearing an American flag around his head, mask limp at his neck, as from his mouth spittle sprays. A lawn sprinkler shoots poison toward freshly laid turf. The way fertilizer, taken out of context, is explosive. Another neighbor uses electric clippers to neaten the grass beside his shed; he trims his patch with a push mower, edges the sidewalk with an unmotorized blade. Bryant says it’s like he's tending a grave. At the back of the cemetery, I find a plaque to a couple who “loved life to its fullest,” but are still living in Arizona.

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