Experience in Groups
April 3, 2016
Apr 3, 2016
Things are worse than they are.
The earth returns a usable world.
All my cells are pages stamped.
Half the time reach comes back
With nothing though everything
Touches everything else. The sun
Has gone out in the poem
In both senses of out, all senses
Of in. Or hasn’t yet come, or has
Too weakly to be felt on the back.
Sunlit messaging in the streets
Makes them look spread with quiet
Excuses for motion called place.
One day hate-rhymes with the next.
Things stay together, the center can hold.
We know a few reasons for this
Through which the ones we don’t
Escape. But be calm, as calm as
Green plums in the fridge at the end
Of August. If only one is left
Be tranquil instead. Each feeling
Departs the time in which it lasts
For another point on the graph,
The next chest in the world. You are
A host of the temporary, taking
The short view of a long century
Already ending, leaving or left behind.
The difference between escape and departure,
The difference between command and
Instruction, between description and praise,
Praise and assent, assent and complicity,
Complicity and fold, fold and seam,
Seam and border, border and line,
Line and detention (at a border),
Detention and camp, camp and asylum,
Asylum and detention at a border,
Detention at a border and rest,
Rest and care, care and worry is
Fog become rain when it hits the pines.
Dramatic irony not not knowing things
But not knowing the things you do.
And they aren’t things, but a time,
The jail of the year. What can be done?
The dishes somehow are clean,
That struggle is over. You can leave
The kitchen entirely, without guilt,
Flick, turn, or pull down the light.
It’s been one of those lives in a day
Repeating vague portions of the new
To make time right, but it isn’t, filled
With objects at the end of the aisle
Of a stare. So the little collisions
Experienced as progress through.
But it isn’t, it won’t, so be patient
As the future, things not even
Yet in the ground. Be ground,
Though not the one we having are.
While we have you...
...we need your help. Confronting the many challenges of COVID-19—from the medical to the economic, the social to the political—demands all the moral and deliberative clarity we can muster. In Thinking in a Pandemic, we’ve organized the latest arguments from doctors and epidemiologists, philosophers and economists, legal scholars and historians, activists and citizens, as they think not just through this moment but beyond it. While much remains uncertain, Boston Review’s responsibility to public reason is sure. That’s why you’ll never see a paywall or ads. It also means that we rely on you, our readers, for support. If you like what you read here, pledge your contribution to keep it free for everyone by making a tax-deductible donation.
April 03, 2016