Passing Thoughts

Passing Thoughts

“People don’t always understand what they see…it’s always better with a few verses”

-Henri Rousseau-

“I don’t understand it.  The injustice of it, the random, unpatternable thing life is, feels like guilt, at first, and then matures (thought the verb is obscene in the context) into sorrow.”

-Larry Levis-

            I often feel something that must be near sorrow when I pretend for a moment that I am able to reflect or observe my own life.

Usually this occurs a few minutes after everyone that inhabits the home in which I live have tottered off to their beds or their dreams or wherever it is that they go when they’re alone.  I pour myself a cup of coffee, take on cigarette out of its case, and swing gently on the porch in the night’s dark.

At first, I simply listen.  For the trees, the breeze, my breath.  Then I let my eyes  gaze.  Neither here nor there but some middle-distance that never asks to focus.  Three or four puffs in, two or three sips of day-old reheated coffee, and I begin to feel.  My body reports its day.  How long it has been awake, what muscles have been used, what nutrients processed (or wasted).  I start to find emotions.  Perhaps lodged in the elbows or neck, gut or temples or knees.  Places they sneak off to in the day’s demands.  I gain what feels like a sense of things.  A “this is what you’ve enjoyed, endured, has transpired in your waking.”

And I breathe.  The smoke, exhaling, tells me so.  And the knowing the days that remain are smaller.  And that the days that compose me stretch out.  And I wonder.  “I don’t understand it.”  It baffles me so.

I have the impression throughout my aging frame, that so many places, engagements, and events that require all of me should not feel so dangerous, such threatening.  That the places we spill for one another, on one another – where we come forth – why do we fear so deeply? and try so hard? – why don’t they give rise to elation rather than wound?

I see moments, occasions, and encounters that have scared me to my silent howls – but from here, now, look like people in love giving themselves or trying to – declaring, expressing, vulnerably opening.  Why the fullness of human persons should overwhelm and frighten us so, when we are also one of them – why is this?

Why do I not feel I can hold my own in another’s anger or grief, sorrow or fear?  What is so uncomfortable about difficulty and complexity and unknowns?

The haunting guilt of finitude, of insufficiency, eventually levels out toward a universe of conundrum peopled with questions, and a kind of sorrow and grace seeps in.

By now my smoke has gone out, the coffee has cooled, and it is high time I join my spouse in our final accord.  The waves rise, they wash out.  They rise again.  There is a passing, and some passage, it is ephemeral and sure, and it goes on.

All these passing thoughts, and days.

I don’t understand what I see, but it’s usually better with a few verses…

I have the suspicion that the meaning of things

will never be sorted out

-Denis Johnson-

 

(click image for musical accompaniment to the text:

“Broken” by S. Carey)

(it’s worth listening to even if not reading all the text)

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5 thoughts on “Passing Thoughts

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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