Saturday, January 23, 2021

Lost soul, broken bottle


Before dawn: lost soul in the parking lot, marching. One bottle in each hand, held out as if for balance, she stopped every few steps to lean to the side, like a drunken dancer. A neighbor asked if I knew who she was, and I said maybe she's exercising. She's also muttering, he said. She walked all the way to the end of the townhouses, then turned back. "Are you ok?" Lilith and I asked, as we were there on our circuit. She kept marching, lurching, this time in the other direction. As she started up the hill at the street, she dropped a bottle. It was glass, and it shattered on the sidewalk. She looked, kept going. Lilith and I walked over. There was a label over some broken glass. Wild Cherry Juice.

Friday, January 22, 2021

It's a new day!


"It's a new day!" I said, my arms raised in secular benediction. "Not for long," answered the Hawaiian Trump supporter at the cemetery gate. "But congratulations!" He smiled. "Give 'em a chance," I replied. Lilith was more interested in the spot by the trash can where she sometimes finds animal bones.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Not paying attention


Lilith and I ran into her favorite dog, walked by her favorite dog's person, who sometimes calls me "mom." He voted for Biden, though in 2012 he says he voted for Mickey Mouse, instead of Obama. I said I'd been watching too many videos from the Capitol. "I know it happened, but I'm not paying attention to it." Then: "did you see that Biden is going to put minority owned small businesses first in line over white ones? He'd better watch out about these f-king racist things he says." I wished him a good day, and Lilith and I walked to the cemetery.

Later, Lilith's favorite dog's person texted me to say he was just expressing his opinion. When I told him that my children are not white, that I'm not afraid that they'll get unfair perks but that they'll be harmed by white supremacists, he apologized, saying he hadn't thought of it that way.
We're all at wit's end.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Lilith meets Q-Anon

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This morning I was reading one of those articles about how we need to talk to them, understand them better, engage rather than condemn. As Lilith and I set off for the cemetery, I thought I'd ask my friend at the guard shack about the insurrection. I'd tell him I worked on Capitol Hill when I was younger, that I grew up outside DC and spent days of my life at the Capitol and nearby office buildings. I might even tell him about the time VP Bush's secret service men prevented me, twice, from walking next to the Longworth Building, because he was entering at the far end of the block. I'd ask him what he and his friends want. He was holding batches of flowers, preparing for a day of visitors. I'd talk to him. "I guess it got wild," I said, repeating his word of a couple weeks back. He looked at me from profile, saying through a half smile: "I guess we did." (I can't vouch for that sentence, though the pronoun did leap out at me.) I looked at him and said, "that was disgusting," and kept going, just catching a glimpse of the white guy who works with him as Lilith and I started to ascend the hill toward the mountains.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The little girl in the pink shirt


Lilith and I went out for an afternoon walk; the light not quite golden, but still bright. We walked to the cemetery, where I wanted to ask the trump-supporting local Pacific Islander guard what he'd meant a couple weeks ago by "it's going to be wild." But I know. He meant yesterday. He wasn't working today. As we turned into our "court" (which is actually a parking lot), we saw a woman coming toward us with a small blonde child, cute as a button. I was pretty sure she was the woman I'd seen up the hill wearing a Trump shirt, consulting her cell phone yesterday. She smiled. I smiled. Her little girl, in stroller, had on a pink shirt that read TRUMP 2020. I blurted, eloquently, "Trump? Awful!" "He's amazing, isn't he?" she said. Neither of us stopped to talk. As she got to the street, she yelled, "Who's your guy?" To which, with every rhetorical flourish I ever learned achieving my Ph.D., I responded, "Anybody other than Trump!"

Monday, January 4, 2021

Lilith hunts for votes

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Lilith and I went vote hunting this morning at the cemetery. I looked closely at the flowers and food left by graves. She sniffed and sniffed, finally finding a bone. On our way back, we ran into Anubis, the three-legged dog, and his person, heavily tatted, bearded and kind. "We were looking for 11,000 votes, but we didn't find them," I said. "You mean 11,780," he responded. "Yes, one more than we need," said I.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Meditation 110

1 January 2020

Maskless, feckless, Rudolph Guiliani, stood at Mar-a-Lago’s staircase in purple velvet tuxedo jacket, his ear attuned to lip-synching 80s stars. This epic fails to synch. “I knew Leopold Bloom,” one might say, “and you are not Leopold Bloom, nor was meant to be.” “It’s epic!” a student ejaculated, and I thought he referred to Homer. What had seemed a form of knowing was reduced to idiomatic phrase, like an ode turned to jingle, or Bob Dylan snarling over a shiny Buick. There’s no such thing as a candid selfie. This is not to say that anyone feels nostalgia for the days of candid camera, when we were caught off-guard, our faces betraying boredom or bafflement or joy. Good reason to shut off your zoom video and listen to music, while the department sings boy band harmonies. Is it patriarchy when women do it? Do you wake up one day to find yourself an icon because someone has tried to break you on twitter? The tweet is dead, but its typist is all intention, fingers on her phone, making an example. If example’s divorced from thesis statement, you’ve got surrealism half-baked. We tried so hard to figure out our dreams but all they did was show us how to separate stories from events, meaning from itself. And we simply couldn’t let it go, could we, like elephants unable to manage their fear of bees. Such smart animals that they grieve, but they’re terrorized by buzz. The man who blew up a city street thought politicians lizards; his conspiracy’s dream logic took out cell phones for days. To lust for an audience ties a tourniquet on your art; it might save you, but the cost is banality. Dress that up in velvet, send it down the stairs; Rudy is the hero of his own fan fic. The survivor was a ruse for re-runs. Lear had better lines, but he got canceled after a single season.