Felt like a plop, like a hiccup, Northwest edge of myself.
Ribbed feathers struggling in a crater of wet mud. Definitely a disease. Its tiny arched claw scrawling patterns into me. Asemic writing. Ur-texts. Incantatory code unbroken by modern minds, languages stripped of all obvious meaning and trailing shadows of unseen logic. Maybe the original language. Unbreathed.
About six feet South of a smashed and rusted Natty can. Crumpled under the tender foot of Jenny Barrington, October 17, 2007. So drunk she didn’t feel a thing, pointing her heel down to get her full weight over it and then picking up the wrinkled metal disc and arcing it across the waxing moon like just a glint caught in the ambient glow of headlights. It’ll the be the last thing the dying sparrow sees.
Two bird metaphors in Ortega Y Gasset’s “To The Reader”, delicious flesh before the meat of Meditations on Quixote. What were they? Metaphors for depth requiring surface in order to become visible.
Volunteers find me, their orange vests and spears stabbing at the trash on the dried curled mud skin of my periphery. Mostly cans. Domestic. A shoe. Athletic. A few condoms. Unused. Their own depth revealed to them in my diminished surface. The bric a brac of themselves contained within me. Sunlight refracted in sharp glimmers against the desolate...can’t call it detritus...the unified but lost substance of themselves.
Widow’s son finds a box, tin. Looks older than it is in the sheath of rust. A tiny coffin for time itself. Rocks inside older than me, but they came from me.
He finds a faded magazine warped and twisted. Almost pure white image of a mother staring intently at a prop baby and both of their eyes missing and next to them my mud in a streak, a miniature Ionic column.
A metal disc, could have been a coin. Could have been Caesar's image.
A hard leather glove and single yellow shoelace compressed into a knot.
He leaves with his mother in the car without having heard the voices broadcast from a house stilted and leaning on my Southern edge, almost collapsing into me. The dead coming in so quietly and clear.
“Drumming, falling back into the roiling wave. The world has forgotten itself.” Flitting in and out of the seance.
What was Jose’s first metaphor? Birds over over a swamp. Their shadows little freckles on the marshy skin. Singing, dropping into the miasma. “The past falls dead within our memory”. Was the surface the birds or the swamp? The Past or the memory? What was the depth it revealed? The second was St. Thomas, the truth coming to us like birds wounded in flight.
The sparrow now dead in me, having etched hieroglyphics in a final neurological spasm, marking me in some way permanently beyond my transformation.
"Why idleness now? Because we are too busy, too frantic; because of the felt acceleration of time. Lightman supplies a measure. “Throughout history,” he writes, “the pace of life has always been fueled by the speed of communication.”
When the telegraph was invented in the nineteenth century, information could be transmitted at the rate of about four bits per second. By 1985, near the beginnings of the public Internet, the rate was about a thousand bits per second. Today, the rate is about one billion bits per second.
We are in principle accessible anywhere, at any time; we can be texted, emailed, tagged: “The world today is faster, more scheduled, more fragmented, less patient, louder, more wired, more public.” There is not enough downtime. So Lightman argues in his brisk, persuasive essay. His snapshots of the relevant social science portray the grim effects of over-connection in our digital age: young people are more stressed, more prone to depression, less creative, more lonely but never really alone. Our time is ruthlessly graphed into efficient units. The walking speed of pedestrians in 32 cities increased by 10 percent from 1995 to 2005."
Just so many great October 11th shows throughout the years.
1970-10-11 - Marion Shea Auditorium, Paterson State College - Wayne, New Jersey
1977-10-11 - Lloyd Noble Center, University of Oklahoma - Norman, Oklahoma
1980-10-11 - Warfield Theater - San Francisco, California
1981-10-11 - Club Melk Weg - Amsterdam, Netherlands
1983-10-11 - Madison Square Garden - New York, New York
1984-10-11 - Augusta Civic Center - Augusta, Maine
1989-10-11 - Brendan Byrne Arena - East Rutherford, New Jersey
Very excited to receive the latest print edition of Plough! Besides my piece on war/Greek Tragedy/healing there are wonderful pieces by Sir Roger Scruton, Sarah Ruden, and Navid Kermani, among others.
You want them to feel shame. If you’re like me, you do. Anthemideae tribe. Hardy, but this vivid during a drought? For shame. Cobbled yellow together like little flickers of coiled cool sunlight preserved from the source undiluted. A frozen detonation nodding in the dry breeze. Not beautiful. Impossible.