Monday, August 23, 2021

Netflix for academics


23 August 2021

I was in my office again, weeping. It’s called a trigger, though the gun’s left off, or the shot and its perfect wound. Machine-shopped stereotypes do that to us, reminding us of how others see us. Do you have a conflict entrepreneur in your workplace? Might you be one yourself? How do you dodge conflict, while remaining true to your principles, the ones you see running down the street after a hard rain, plumeria petals, leaves and oil-based rainbows melding together like pomegranate molasses. At the cemetery, a funeral program was chopped up by a weed whacker. Impermanence times two. Soon, only those who grow up in a house will have one; the rest will be wanderers in a medieval style drama lacking Charity or Good Works. Just large wooden wheels shivering over flagstones. A tiny circus came every spring to New Haven in a carriage; its memory clashes with the Hare Krishna singing, the drums, the competition for our spiritual attention when all we wanted to do was magic. “There’s something wrong in my head,” I said on the telephone my junior year. It was the loss of losses then; an inability to have experiences because they'd end in the rat on the chest. In recovery, you may realize you’ve been stuck like the good Lord in a vase at the cemetery, held down by small stones, halo like a frisbee on the godhead. Is there a space between “god” and “head,” or is the hyphen/space in excess? Why did she use so many dashes? Do they create or negate space? Are they the dashes of the master used against him, like tiny printed knives? Steve says these meditations resemble therapy sessions. All I ask is that each day come with a question, that it be framed in such a way I can start to walk with it, like Robert Walser stopping to deliver speeches on the virtues of walking. For now, the walk in the cemetery leads home in a loop. A young Black man knew I was wearing a Kansas City Monarchs cap. That is how I wish to be read, wearing history on my cap, mysterious only to those who lack reference. It was  appropriate, she writes, that the next chair be someone allied with the old guard who had suffered from their abuse. She fits neither side of her face, remembers giving an old dean a hand job. That's two words, no hyphen.

--for Steve Benson

No comments: