Thursday, June 25, 2009


I have not a single answer: not one.

Some years ago I had to work to divest myself of opinions. Not anymore. Oh, I have them, of course: they come flickering up at moments of irritation or self-congratulation. But they flutter on their way again. Thank God. What a stupid weight to carry. The pronunciamentos of the Grand Junta of Official Daledom, Duly Assembled. I used to take the proceedings of that body dead seriously. Only gradually did I discover that nobody -- least of all me -- paid the slightest attention to its proclamations, strictures, and sanctions. That rather silly and pathetic governor of South Carolina is discovering that just now. But no doubt he'll figure out a way to save his personal Junta, at whatever cost to his career, his family, his spiritual yearnings, his lover, and his common sense.

It's easy to confuse the love of wisdom with the love of having opinions. The two things can look exactly alike. But sooner or later one will kill the other. They can't live in the same house.

The Sun Gone Missing

At the solstice
splashes of light, the size
and color of apricots, made their way
through the slatted blinds. They glowed
on your skin, on your hair; they set
shadows that hooded your eyes.

Now on the vacant pillow
the cold light is silvered
like the back of an empty mirror.
Nothing hidden. Nothing shows.

The tastes of chocolate, of almond,
of cherry -- mixed on your tongue --
try to come back, but can't.
They are waiting for you, caught
behind shutters, lost like the sun.
Nothing will be right till it returns.

A sough of cooler air stirs the twisted cords that hang down by the window, makes them rock slightly. Unless the world is rocking, and the cords are still.

Two old men from the bible club keep talking in the parking lot, unable to leave an audience, however imperfect: they gesture with their books, they swell with vehemence, become congested with conviction. Their faces redden. They strain as if on the toilet. Not for the first time, I wonder how this bluster ever became associated with anything sacred or holy. The pale meek monks and saints of medieval iconography, humbly dressed, with their hands fluttering and their eyes cast upwards, are silly representations of holiness, but at least you can see what the artists are driving at; you can follow the associations. No chain of any length connects my ideas of holiness with these portraits of constipated outrage.

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