Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Imagine a word

Imagine an I and an It, where It is also Thou. The short word pierces sense. What I am to the word is what the word is to the thing it names. We are subjects to each other, which is not to say subjected to, but real in the way spirit is.

Imagine a word that means what it says. Beauty as direction, bluntness even. A stroke pierces mind, but takes only words away. Four hours later, the word returns, pretending nothing had happened, wagging its tail.

Imagine knowing the name of your neighbor at the next desk, asking her what she ate for breakfast, what kind of toothpaste she uses. Think of that as a key to incorporation, not in the sense of finance but of feeling.

What we thought was true is now imagined, though perhaps we imagine that. Depends on whose subject you were, which drinking fountain spouted for your mouth, on which train car you sat. When imagination is only another form of forgetting, let it go.

Imagine a mode of realism that does not involve black lung or mass shootings or melting glaciers. You’ll need to get close, so close the dead gecko dissolves into the bright greens and oranges of a gum trees broken skin. It feels like fiction, but it’s a clear view.

The pun on spirits breaks a rule. Right speech is not fascist. You can utter the same sentence and have it mean 1) the truth or 2) a lie. It’s more than tone shifts, more than punctuation that turns the lens’s dial. Hear with clarity; turn off auto-tune.

The week between my mother’s birthday and the day my father died must be accident, however inscribed on my inner calendar. My daughter reminds me to take my mother’s ashes to Virginia, to place them on the same shelf as my father’s. She thinks a lot about the ashes, which sit in our closet, apart from my sight.

Can ashes sing? Can something so impalpable as song emerge from something so inert? What is the material of song? The immaterial of the ashes, which resembles nothing but other ashes.

In the show, a young woman is tricked into assassinating the man who hates Nazis. This is an ethical problem with a bomb attached. She was shown a piece of paper that proved her victim had ordered her boyfriend shot. The flyer was passed to her by a Nazi pretending to be a Communist. At show's end, she can no longer pretend to be a young woman.

She had not thought Cabaret has so much to offer us. Men in masks, their arms raised in Nazi salutes, stand on an overpass in LA, their banners anti-semitic. The proudest white supremacist is a Black man. The words for this are?



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