Monday, August 29, 2022

The earth is flat


29 August 2022

The problem with flat affect is, well, it’s flat. Not flat white, not flat tire, not flat line. Just flat. If you institute a sine curve, will that give your reader access to how you felt, drawing it across the flat sheet? Feeling flat today? To the contrary, the last story ended with a trigger, not a warning. Can there be flat triggers, or do they all explode? We might live in a flat without feeling flat. We might want our bellies more flat, but our spirits to be rotund. Inexact science, this measuring of emotion against effect, which comes out as affect. The feeling before the emotion governs what comes after. That’s called mood. She wants finished poems, I’m presuming flat ones, with no shredded borders or chipped teeth. That’s a work ethic I cannot muster, flustered by the fall of words, which aren’t really words but an environment inside of which ideas hatch. There are flat characters; that’s what we are to one another. But flat ideas? I guess only the bad ones, though I want to suggest that flat opposes bad, though it requires work on the part of an audience used to loud linguistic overtures. I felt flat after the incident, and even past the point of writing it down, but I didn’t fall flat until later on, when a series of minor annoyances turned into a melting glacier. That’s an inappropriate analogy, as real animals are dying due to climate change. One bear lay flat, as his paws had burned. I read a poem about that and, despite the fact I found the language flat, I felt something akin to grief. The poem is a flat screen, and yet it also projects. The word decompensation comes to mind when we read all the fake tweets coming from the former guy, his attempt to break our flat affects into a thousand points of gunfire. The threat is of rioting, by white people. In my later years, I flattened into an older white woman. You could pin a tale on me, or you could lash out, but I just sat there like a rock in a river, waiting for the next kayak to flutter by. If I took a picture, it would be flat. We act as if video has more depth, but it only reduces the suspense. When I failed to get the coffee I wanted in Tasmania, I learned the term flat white. Is coffee ever flat? It takes my cardboard heart and pokes holes in it. Like a topography map that traces feeling as mountain ranges and valleys and little railroads winding through. We have so diminished our earth, it might as well be flat. The professor’s hate mail called him fat, but the retweet was as flat as a pool of ice cream on an August day. Flat Albert retweeting as release. Spread the hate; it might flatten out. If he reads it, it hurts. If you read it, it bends, inane, turbulent and tired, like hate speech, which is always cliché. The ocean’s womb is empty. We mandate life, even as we hate it. Son of my heart, my only analogies for this feeling have great depth. I cannot see the bottom of any of them, though they’re probably flat.

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