Monday, July 5, 2021

All Your Metaphors Are Belong to Us


5 July 2021

Or, my ally is memory, if only as prop beside the volcano’s chasm. Volcano is not figurative, but real, and so are the palms. An ordinary night in New Haven was ordinary (and to repeat “New Haven” is to entertain an echo’s banality). The anti-racist’s favorite poet is the racist to whom she addresses her corrections; it’s as complicated as that. Just because you write about ethics doesn’t mean you abide by them. Just because you write about housing doesn’t mean you don’t live in a cave for three years, alone, sifting your thought’s flowers and wheel rims as they wash across the walls. Whitewash leaves its own residue, the occasional shadow of a sign burned out by the tropics, which are not tropes. I would ban the word “paradise” from the language, or demand that it vacation elsewhere, like Gary, Indiana. After the fall is all we got. The other one we call the other one. Social media lines up my cherished memories like airplanes flying into LaGuardia, year after year, because they care. The language of care shall also be monetized, until the word is like the husk of a fish hanging from a fence. Tail intact, what falls lower is empty husk, as if the fish molted out of its skeleton. But we need the word (and we want it, too) so we put something in front of it, like “self-” with a hyphen to suggest we’re bonded and yet independent from whatever it's left to mean. Care at its core is car with a silent e. The roman a clef about a predatory professor ends with a predatory graduate student. Will the circle be unbroken? Each morning, the priest paints an unfinished circle on white paper, then includes his garden in the photograph for Instagram. Slow art instantaneously digitized. He gestures toward perfection, if not paradise, the sense of circling, of coming back to the point of purity we invent to keep ourselves sane. Other circles are not so promising, like the ones the dog makes in the living room, always counter-clockwise, measuring the space of his own return, exhausted on his flat wheel. I don’t know what to believe any more except that when I did I was naive, and naivete is best held close to the vest to avoid inquisitive eyes. Dark circles can be hidden with concealer. The aftermath of adolescence comes back as advertising. The lives of our skin move from outbreak to shadow. The dog lies down to sleep, exhausted by his traffic pattern.

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