Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dear Mr. Buddha

10 May 2022

The recommended books of the day include Grief, Shame, Anger, and other vestments of our time. Our strategies for coping are old, and we need primers on how to act, or not. Fear is mother of them all. My quarrel is with the prepositions. For, at. The lens set too far back for in or with. I’m astounded at; I’m sorry for; I’m stricken by. But rain it keeps raining on the broad leaves and the narrow, the fuschia with their funny hats, angel trumpets with their fuzzy stems. No need for prepositions if you get close enough. Except in.

The big words are short, saxon. But the weak are pusillanimous, preoccupied with syllables instead of sound. Meaning’s the remainder you get with you divide anything with everything. You have a plastic shed outside in which to store it, but space is getting crowded, musty, and meanings congeal, glued together by proximity. I went out looking for one, but couldn’t remember which, whether it was dry or cooked, smoked or rotten. Hoping to connect meaning with its provocation, I measured my feelings: half-part anger, half-part shame, with apathy as my shield. But when the object denoting joy got confused with the one denoting grief, I entered the territory of mixed feelings. Time is said to un-mix them, by stirring and then leaving to settle like river silt. But where’s the time these days?

The steel mill is held by fascists and attacked by other fascists. Their languages are proximate, if not identical, as are their weapons. The names they call each other matter less than their flags, which don’t call but represent. They do not yell at, but merge with, the colors blue and yellow, darker blue and red. I really miss the Soviet anthem, don’t you? Their trance is war. We manufacture it with the big words, then melt it down into syllabits. Let memory be for a blessing, or let it not be.

We cloak our likes inside of hearts, a misfit anatomy. To like is either to notice, to appreciate, to curry favor, but we can’t find the context with our arrows. Write slogans to self about not-knowing, then know when to apply them. A fundamentalism of ambiguity seems preferable to one of certitude, though the most certain bail-out when questioned. The air is full of parachutes. We return to earth chastened, without claim, but need propels us toward the simple sentence. An eye in the ground from which a red-leaved vine travels. Its stare is fixed and so, we fear, are we.

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