Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Slanted Lines

 Well, then: you've seen them go sprawling often enough, skinning their palms, banging their elbows, making chimp grimaces so as not to cry: what of that?

And you have pounded the disks flat in the sand, with a palm or with a heel, while the sky considers every variant of steel, from the bright ripples there away just above the trees to the heavy tarnish above, and the lights drains away: is that supposed to tell us more?

Because the question, then, now, and probably always, was: how do I live? A question that you might think should arise only after "may I live?" and "may I choose my life?" but you would be -- not for the first time, forgive me, little light! -- you would be quite terribly mistaken, because the question comes up premature: botched and mottled, a monster, an awkwardness from its first day and ever after. It is the first question, and we ask it before any of its answers could possibly be of use to us. That's how we're made.

(And I would like to make clear, at this point, that I had nothing to do with the design of human beings. I take no responsibility, none.)

But it is obvious from the start that a life worth living would have music, dance, and singing in it, not just around the periphery, but at its heart. And not as packaged commodities for purchase, but as what we do ourselves with a whole heart; clumsy, lame, and hoarse as we might be. And it would come inevitably, twice a week: if we missed, there would come a knock at the door, and the maenads would drag us out to the dancing lawn. That's what happens in civilized countries. 

And it would have lovemaking, and the silence after, and the slow return of light. These things are obvious, aren't they? They don't need to be argued.

Most of life, now and always, will be made up of addressing the problems at hand. Life has two parts: addressing problems, and making beauty. In the intervals there is sleep, and the long dream; but we're not quite ready to discuss that.

Why should anyone listen to us, little light, when we don't yet know how to live? Why should our exhortations and denunciations be taken seriously? 


leaves have filled the pool

and some few float with their leafstalks

above the water line:

red diagonal strokes across

a lion-colored page


Lori Witzel said...


Pascale Parinda said...


So beautiful.

am said...

"Well, then: ... lion-colored page."

Thank you.