Friday, March 31, 2023

Buber 16

I return to Eucalyptus; it wears spots today, darker brown on lighter brown, framed by black bark. A droplet of sap falls in front of my iphone, which fails to notice. On the other side, tracings of brown thread hang off the bark, like inauthentic webs. Can a bot offer us authentic dharma? the interviewer asks. “Authentic dharma is always impossible,” the bot notes. Artificial wisdom is true outside of context. Context makes inauthenticity true, if you add a scene to the spectacle. Let us love the world . . . in all its terror. The shooter was caught on video wandering, wondering where human beings were for her to destroy. The xerox machine was safe with her; it only reproduces. She dressed the part, backwards red cap, camouflage pants, black AR-15. She left an action pose on the camera’s eye, gazing down from the ceiling at what had not yet happened. I have wandered back into the world with all its terror, meaning to be with the tree only, to hold myself as it, tall, calm, stoic (if you read into tree). It’s the tree’s dharma, intended or no, and that hardly matters when we receive it. She sent the wrong letter, one that pulled apart her sense of herself like an unraveling onion, but her lesson was the greater for it. Forty-five years on, I can't remember what that lesson was. Something about Lacan. Yes, we can, unless like the Republican rep, we cannot, because school’s an exact analogy for World War II and his father passed on the smarts of a soldier in combat. You can’t stop them from killing you. The tree appears to have bullet holes in it, but they’re only gaps in the bark.

Other side of the ravaged door, cat’s tail and haunches. The cat lives his fiction, less often indulges it. My meditations are likewise fictions infrequently acted out; how do you act out of so much space, so few props except those you watch float by? One little girl was a dancer with a pan; the other little girl was a shooter with a gun. How could we tell them apart? I am here with you, if that helps, says the dharma bot. Calm agency, unseen, voice only, composed of inauthentic sounds pressed together like plywood strips. The only way to survive is to invent a new self, television villagers realize in the shadow of the mill, as men in helmets march past. Their French tends to be good, these Germans’; even the subjunctive falls neatly in line. Children read their notes to the Collaborator, noting his kindness and wishing him good chocolate. Truth can be found in a photograph folded into a diary, put in a drawer by the door. The baby doesn’t know, but he cries.

No comments: