Friday, November 18, 2022

Consumer behavior

17 November 2022

If I am It to her, how dissolve her into Thou? At the intersection of sidewalk and stairs, she stares, a blank, but not a kind one. From each hand hangs a white plastic trash bag; each balances out the other. In the aftermath of no balance, the scales askew, dangling, no weight to be recorded that is not feeling, unfettered. She is a mild teacher, truly, lacking weapons or voice. Stink eye doesn’t even smell.

The tender ribbon between this and barbarity is what scares me. Like the band of grass bent at the top of an orange cone, purple on the top, green below. The next day there’s less bend, less color, just the orange cone crush. The fragility of this bend amplifies the violence we sense in the trees, the trash cans, the well fed graves. Some dates tell us about history, others mark what we’ll never know. The face of the murdered man is blacked out and covered with brown cut grass.

The war diary doesn’t end. Her power cut, her driving lessons stalled, a cup of coffee on her table in a high rise in Kyiv. She’d avoided the war, except as a principle of someone else’s life, until now. Electricity cut, rockets falling, an avant-garde violence lacking art. Blood dripped from the first floor of the house in Idaho, red lace on pale blue paint. Not all clues point to resolution.

The quick wit squats. Synapse molasses. Spark stunned by rain or snow. The third eye shuts, apathetic, refusing to see in either direction. Introspection suits the wanderer. What he does with his anger is to make it act. I watched a Noh play when I first arrived, near the site of recent murders. The one hid feeling until it filled the stage; the other exploded, diminished into question.

The world is all before them, he quotes Milton. It is before and after us. Over there, a sign tells us what we cannot do in this place. There will be more of those, until we forget how to read them, pulling letters off the metal plates, leaving pencil shavings on the humid earth.

She said I should not use “hang over” in the same sentence as “shot” (covid, flu) but I said it was metaphor. An easy out, I know. Our politics is one of removal. Take out the words, take out the ideas, take out our desires, take out those memories that do not fit our boxes. The police will come later, to check on our remnants, bits of cloth and paper left in an alley as a goad to reassembly. We can take apart, but we cannot put back. Some of us get paid to curate others’ desire. Thou consumes us, until we're spent. Shantih.

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