Friday, May 13, 2022

A mirrored stage


13 May 2022

Watch only the beginning of each video. See Russian soldiers open a glass door, but turn them off. See policemen approach a Black man on the street; turn them off. It’s not to create suspense, rather, suspense consists in looking back. Where did this begin, and how do we know when to click the button, off? Like McCartney inventing “Get Back," but without the final concert on the roof. There were cops there, too, who ended it early. Go backwards from there, like a song that tells you which band member is dead (hint: he’s one of those still alive). Yet there’s pleasure in going back to a song’s origins, not in returning to the scene of a war crime starting to unfold, when you can only decide not to watch. The inverse of narrative is a cliff.

Atrocity is forced narrative. It stops time where time wasn’t meant to be stopped, kills it with as much certainty as the journalist shot in the head by a soldier. To create peace, give time back to story, allow it to unfold as slowly as a green bud with purple highlights, denoting the color it will become without a megaphone announcement. Or dissolve it all together, refusing to show the opening of the door, the soldiers entering, cops exiting. I prefer my photographs still on Instagram, precisely because they go nowhere. Stories are all addition; I lay out my coins like a child at the cash register. “You should really learn how to do this yourself,” one clerk said to me.

An enormous white cloud drifts across the window to the right; in front, an absolute gray. The collision will occur where the blind spot in my townhouse lies, at an angle just past the television, the speakers, all our forms of output. Absolute is only approximate, but it’s dense. A cat sniffs the deck, laps up some dirty water. A red plastic pot lies on its side on a tan plastic chair, divided into shadow and light. No, I don’t write poems about my photographs. The relationship is more intimate, less about “about,” more about parallel construction. This has little to do with back focus, as neither the pot nor the cat moves much. A photo of my Memory Cards is aptly blurred.

Topical is timely, also an ointment. Tropical is moist and warm, also figurative. J’essuie donc je suis, I said, but everyone thought I’d made a mistake. Insofar as being is mistaken, yes, or that a greasy surface can only be spread around, or that my being appears to be mine. If mother is a job, as Bryant said, so are we. Not acting, quite, but something akin. As if each moment we assumed ourselves, breathing into a recent future, aimless. If the teacher counsels aimlessness, why does he write so many books?

He hit what appeared to be a bloop double, then stopped at first. When the next batter hit what appeared to be a bloop double, the first batter ran past second, only to be doubled off first. Game over. He looks lost out there, as if he left his map and compass in the dug-out. He’s got something on his mind, but because he wears a cap, we can’t see it. We live now in half-masks, carried from the car to the store, then placed over nose and mouth. Half-revealed in time. The teacher said his favorite student's image was inside a box. Each student came to peer in. Surprise, awkwardness, laughter. What was inside the box, but mirror, light moving so fast no child could tell her own face from the one that peered back at her. Glass bottom boats are like We see us as we truly were.

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