Monday, October 10, 2022

This is 64

10 October 2022

Is aesthetics always anxious? Must my walks be pedestrian? To be readable is to be ordinary; to be ordinary is all there is. It’s not just the extremities that hurt; the distinction between pain and suffering signifies a gap between ouch and ache. Missiles hit Kyiv last night, return on a destroyed bridge. Watch one truck come through, the next one lost in a ball of flame. Pull that driver like old tape from global politics. The stickiness stays as grief’s remainder. If a fly lands there, it’s an add-on. The fly that lands after I die will be witness to a clearing, both metaphorical and true (as if they could be distinguished). This morning I felt happy to know ambiguity had not done us in, me and the guys at the guard shack. The video complicates such ambiguity into a mouth full of dust. A hundred years since that shoring up against. Sixty four of these years have included me. Whose shanty shall I sing?

Neighbor P (as my phone calls him) rails against heaps of garbage at the curb, leaflets at the door. He’ll throw them all away. I try to distinguish between “solicitation” and “free speech,” but he says we agree to disagree before I can disagree again. He can’t believe anything. His mother listens to Christian radio. That’s propaganda, but so is everything else. That’s our disagreement, not on the facts but on how to find them. Whether they even matter, matter being a form of existence. In this hierarchy, fact is no pillar, but post-truth is nowhere near as fun as surrealism. Lacks a charge. The line about fuses is out-dated, Bryant says, after I opine that coming home at quarter to three is not true to age 64. Maybe in my dreams you’ll leave a crack in the imaginary door. Real toads live on the stairs outside.

That’s how it goes, the man at the guard shack says about baseball. I see his friend in the back of the valley, taking photos of the mountains, the cloud that sits on one like a birthday hat. Where’s the elastic band to hold it on, or hold us to our paper helmets? Head injuries are a dime a dozen. Concussion protocols sound like half-time bands warming up to entertain us. If I fly to you, it’s not diplomacy. If you fly back, it might be.

Anger writ large is a missile that hits a national university. We do that more slowly in this country. After a pregnant woman jumped in front of a bread truck, UPS told the others to keep working. This was in Louisville. Next time, put up a safety net. Where safety equals life, where life means we breathe, where breath denotes a body. As we get older, embodiment gets more deliberate. I am conscious because I decay.

Two Buddhist teachers sat in a garden. One to the other said, “imagine, they call that a tree!”

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