Monday, August 2, 2021

In which the poet questions her life's work


2 August 2021

Is each day different enough from the last to merit these sentences? The loss of yesterday mandates today’s coughing motor, sun’s turn to shadow-making,  silhouette of a ginger bud through the lit green of a wet leaf. The pose either draws out or obliterates what you mean to say; blue bloods in tweed seem especially resistant to meaning apart from their performance of what we call “privilege.” That’s a ledge to fall off of, falling into the drink (as it were) or writing a philosophy of material excess to prepare for the certain end. What we experience feels “endless,” but life’s hardly lacking its ends. Means are what distinguish us, one from the other, like Wiki biographies with their social details (birth, death, marriages, children, years active). The musician no longer able to play his instrument becomes another kind of instrument; we read the bio as tragic, his being but not playing in time. A bad piano narrows melodic range, but intensifies the effects of the middle-range. An unstringed piano body on a curb re-minds us of sound, which is good if we ever listened. Old music is like judgment; it’s only effective at the moment it pinches, like adrenaline, then seeps into the corners to resemble dust. Upsizing required confidence in time, or else anxiety bobbing beside the pier, seeking rope. Between bouts should feel like vacation, but instead becomes a holding pond for fears of falling. If you can avoid losses, you’ll avoid injury. It’s one way to define courage, this refusal to live in the interest of staying alive. But the meds are like mats that invite your falls, forgive them. “Get your meds at the street corner,” the petty functionary told me, after I lost my health insurance. He resents me for asking him to do his tasks, answering the phone, advising better paper work strategies, even offering a word of consolation over the anxiety of lacking meds for anxiety. Genetic anxiety meets capitalist strictures, and its agent’s a passive aggressive man whose own unhappiness gets fixed—for a moment—by snide remarks. The commonalities are loss and more loss. A blade to cut us off. Function exits with form, leaving a pool of blood and feces that non-white custodians are called in to wipe away. More patriots turned in by their digital dates. One sign of democracy’s strength, I suppose, along with our right to respond to trolls, those who need the most kindness and refuse it with the choicest words. The calendar is our DNA; sunlight’s early dramas make it like a wooden table, indented with marble to affirm Einstein was right, for $4500. I’m off to pick up a lamp to light the ceiling’s corduroy as well as my text’s flat investigation of time’s fender benders. I love the way the rain forest reclaims our trucks and cars; one blue truck covered with lichen would show well in a gallery. Leave the rest to rain.

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