Friday, November 27, 2020

Meditation 102


28 November 2020

I put masks on my memories. What was said to me no longer has a mouth. I can’t lip read, push my left ear toward a muffled sequence of words I know to be a sentence. If the sentence is an A-frame, I can imagine its sharp attic, the crazy slope of its predicate. Our predicament recasts history as social distance, a line you stand in, feet planted firmly in their icon toes. You in the frozen food aisle, and I in the Hispanic. Both of us peering at the beer cans. If can can. If no can no can. A page on which everything’s erased except the punctuation. You’d never know it had been a sex poem, now that it’s stripped of all flesh but commas and brackets. An exclamation! Consider what these forms of punctuation mean apart from words, or what a page of pronouns signifies without verbs or nouns. A detective novel written to find out who removed the sounds, left only pauses and digressions. How can I compose my memoir as a writer, if I don’t think of myself as one? Art is excess, a flower in the cap that requires nothing more than to cover the crown of the head. We do not need what cannot feed us. I will feast from now on on warships and submarines, cooked in their own nuclear stew. A wart grows on my left little finger’s knuckle, sensitive when I reach into a bag of cat food. It’s the knuckle’s hat or mask, a covering like black print on paper. What shall I read, now that I’ve finished the book about my last year? Learning to read is about taking off the mask, unshackling thought from type from word from breath. Anti-maskers make the best readers. My student zooming from his car in Reno says he dropped Ben Jonson because he couldn’t figure out what it had to do with job loss. I want to say everything, but not now. An Iranian nuclear scientist was killed yesterday. Who done it? We done it! That’s call and response, I say to Radhika. Pilgrims get such bad press this week. (Losers and suckers.) The dog’s collar resembled RBG’s symbol of dissent. I teach creative writing as a form of resistance. No one buys that line.

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