Thursday, February 10, 2011

Submitting to be Shaped

No more fingering,
pinching, pruning, bleeding,
every branch and twig wired,
brown and flexible, bent to the shape
of his fingers and thumbs.

Michelle McGrane, “Bonsai,” The Suitable Girl

How much do we want to be adored? Too much. And what are we willing to pay for it? Everything. But it's not a one-time deal: we renegotiate over and over, and get a worse bargain every time. And by the end of it, the price we have paid may have ruined us.

But. The know-it-alls (whose private lives appear to be just as disastrous as our own) talk as if you could refrain from selling. The truth is that if you don't go to market, the market will come to you. “Free” and “market” are two words that should never be used in the same sentence. All markets are slave markets.

So, what then?
when you raise the partitions
you'll run like new watercolor

offer yourself on the altar of stone
beneath the varicolored sky.

Rachel Barenblat, “integration,” 70 faces

Well! There is not much advice to be given, except to pay attention to the trend of payments: and if you're going to be refashioned better go straight to the top.

To Bleed at the Edges

I am old, older than the hills, older than the rain:
my fingers are stiff and nobbly in the morning,
and my knees carry scars of five decades.
I watch the veins on the backs of my hands
slowly rise to the surface,
coming like whales to breathe:
I watch the lines deepen in my forehead,
till I can make faces like a puzzled gorilla.
It's good to bleed at the edges,
to bark and screech and flutter. They say that Adam
gave names to the animals, but of course
that's the Pravda version: what really happened
is that they taught him to speak.

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