Tuesday, June 26, 2012


You look at the clock and think, it's not that late where he is. I might give him a call. Except that you have never really talked on the phone, except once, except for a few factual exchanges of logistics of meetings. Long ago.

Even so, you take a few seconds to rehearse a few lines, and then you see that little wall of nothing, the fact that is something, that is, that anything you can think of to say is utterly meaningless.

You have no passion.

Or activity.

Or. Well, you two never were in it for the conversation.

It's only one example, but like all good examples, it serves a rhetorical purpose. To illustrate:

There are 'current events,' but what once seemed fresh and vibrant 20 years ago are just repetitions; there used to be 'philosophy' and 'poetry,' and, above all, possibility.

Now, there is a very narrow passage of workplace, homeplace, commonplace. New recipes fail to excite, even when shared, which is what food is for.

Others seem enlivened, and I am bored, by the immemorial recounting of the usual growth stages and the way they are a delight to behold, apparently, by anyparent witnessing such firsthand.

Is childbearing, for the unsuffering, the unpoor, the unstarving, the unoppressed, the only new stimulant remaining?

After all, I have poured out words after words after words.

There were pages, hundreds, of hand-written letters. Then diaries, journals, notebooks. Both dried up. Both became unimportant; albeit, it took decades, but still. Is growth something that does end, when cells stop adding to their numbers and mere maintenance sets in?

Email arrived while I was still vibrantly interested in the word. Chatrooms were the pre-Facebook but more personal, exclusive. I used to have 'conversations' on screen with people who were literally feet away. The land-line was within hand's reach. Teenagers haven't changed. Most of these verbal transactions/transcripts were lost all the same as all the typed phrases of endearment across text-phones become — accounts suddenly shut down, clouds dissipated.

My mom told me that when she turned 18, she burned her diaries.

Those 'letters' I wrote were commonly thousands of words long, and even you know, have you been here long enough, that something was driving sentences from me at a rate far greater than the bimonthly trickle of late. Very long late.

Dried up, perhaps. And thoughts now are reduced to a dribble as dull as the neighbor-did-this, neighbor-did-that gossip of my grandmothers. It used to bore me as a child. As what we'd now call a 'tween,' I used to rage at my immediate family's mundane conversation. They have quotes to back this up.

The brain has been proven to have its window moments. The things scientists say now about babies' minds and opportunities … well, such things only make me sick, because I read the news, and the news is full of mothers who lock children in closets, children who are only 32 pounds, fewer than 4 for each year of miserable life.

Not all parents delight in their lot. Mine did, but I was still all cranky to know more, to have adults about who were artists, doctors, bullshitters (philosophers, lawyers, artists, doctors, bullshitters : )

Yet these horrors — children deprived — are not stimulus enough to motivate me to action. Having spent a life working to quell anger, I can't do more than weep quickly, suddenly and without action. Frequently. I suppose I am afraid still.

What to do? There are taxes. These are spent killing abroad and, at home, failing to prop up our weakest members. There are churches; their job, for the most part, seems to be to absolve the living from taking part in anything but ones own spiritual comfort.

I might find cause in the way things are written; facts march at us with their heads turned, and the writers are paid and are content to show only one side. Facts in 'the news' (or in blogs) are never chained together in any reasoned cause-and-effect, but rather are presented as messy lace, and you won't mind, you won't have time, because layer after layer of incomplete cloth, riddled with holes, is piled upon you hour after hour. You feel warm enough, but burdened.

To make a canvas whole enough itself so that it could be used as a sail …