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From it a string flitters, not unlike a monolithic wagon wheel
whose sheen reminds one of graveyard grass. It is not a knee,
lacking the grain of marble. Pot-shaped and broken off towards
the upper part where the pot’s tapered off, one thinks of a piano
that’s doomed from lack of tuning. There are no finishing touches
on it, as though the maker of it had been given hasty instructions.
It is blind, pelt-gibbet, smelling of a middle-aged man. In particular,
one might be attracted to the mouthpiece, which leaves everything
unspoken, a speechless gardener, that reminds one of one’s mother,
weeping on a plate after the T-bones have been consumed and
the poor old father has been left to shut himself up in a box on
the stair, head-stuffed tinkerer absorbed in his task, tapping to it
till it makes a sound of little splashes. This is the purposelessness
of it, a night drawing near that draws nearer and nearer but never
draws up, a Halloween party one has been on the verge of giving,
but the ghosts keep being carted off to the tints of summer
or fish, dusty uncut improbable states of improper health having
effected their ability to attend. There they go, wading into a screen.
This is the reason offered to the understanding of it. Yes, yes, the door
is closing, and one must be legitimate in one’s consideration of it.
Let’s put an end to it, put our tools back in our bags, take off,
place our toothbrushes carefully in the coal-holes, our oratory skills
in the cellars, compiling our tattered skirts, our diary’s kept secrets,
wordless before the rusty cotton failure of heat to be produced
before it is too late, and one’s been absorbed, a doomed untunable
instrument, and in a sense, not. Even the most literal meanings
are lost on us, though not without the quality of an honest penny
in our palms, as clear as a nail on a mantle-piece that acted as
a makeshift pun until now. To our great surprise it smiles. It follows
our footsteps. Good god! It has all the stillness of an empty dining
room before a meal, heard from nobody, inert as a rinsed pail filled
with steaming vegetables. For an instant, it’s gray and bristly. These
are some more adjectives one can arrange around it, a paddling heap
of boys and girls approaching us from the promenade. Where’s
the chimney part? Where is the seedy oily bandy-legged part? What
oral tradition does it belong to? How long will it go on? But to get
back to where one left off, it’s time to fill our pockets, hear the voice
of our disputed masters, entwining themselves with a kind of stupor
in our ears. You must frame your greasy hair, your scrofulous surplus
of matted limbs, the prospect of your perforated starch tooth. Let us
hate our cheeks, all our points of departure that acquiesce before
they have even begun to stall. Oh ladies and gentlemen, see (if I
am not mistaken) it for what it is—satisfactory, tolerable, in somewhat
good condition, little by little fresh air in an American bar, nine-tenths
of the time ill-adapted, snoring in its bad sleep in which it dreams
of exhaustion and two lovers dancing in an empty gallery, singing
of debts, leftovers and all the impressionable years of their unhappy
homes, semi-digested earthworms instead of heads. You mustn’t forget
to wed. Your must not forget the voice of your conscience. This
is what the Benedictine monk who used to be the master says over
the boom box, without much life in his voice, with the undiminished
sonority of a congenitally afflicted inpatient, casually inspecting
a rose. But is it a rose? It is overflowing. Can roses overflow?
Is it the birth of a child? Is it a firmly finished fragment? Is it even
a chiming fork, a tuning fork, testing what an ordinary person eats?
One could instead simply settle for naming it early dawn, the recovery
of a loan, the difficult issue of hunger, or the other hand, which one never
knew one had, until it mentally fastened its finger to a forgotten morsel
in the pan. Eliminate the questions, and the fact remains, the ceaseless
poking, which is the annoying part about it, its budding unimaginableness,
its going and coming, going and coming, going and going and coming.
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