Thursday, March 21, 2013

passing over

it's springtime again, i'm going to massachusetts again.  no matter how beautiful it is, spring summer or fall, porch lights glowing in dusk, the sounds of the insects at night, seeing the view straight across from one hill top to the next—it will always be, to me, a place that i survived.  somehow i survived it.

and i'm sure the words of Jason Molina had some small part in that.  his voice, with its impossible clarifying pain.  it's hard to believe that he didn't survive whatever his massachusetts was.   

Almost Was Good Enough
          Songs: Ohia

It's been hard doing anything
winter stuck around so long
I kept trying anyhow and I'm still trying now
just to keep working just to keep working
I remember when it didn't use to be so hard
this used to be impossible
A new season has to begin
I can feel it leaning in whispering, Nothing's lonely now
Nothing anymore in pain
A tall shadow dressed how secrets always dress
when they want everyone to know that they're around
leaning in whispering, My friend over there
don't know what he's talking about
Did you really believe
that everyone makes it out?
Almost no one makes it out
I'm going to use that street to hide
from that human doubt
to hide from what was shining
and has finally burned us out
But if no one makes it out
How come you're talking to one right now
for once almost was good enough

Saturday, March 16, 2013

new york city marble cemetery


 from Louise Gl├╝ck, the Seven Ages

Amazingly, I can look back
fifty years.  And there, at the end of the gaze,
a human being already entirely recognizable,
the hands clutched in the lap, the eyes
staring into the future with the combined
terror and hopelessness of a soul expecting annihilation.

Entirely familiar, though still, of course, very young.
Staring blindly ahead, the expression of someone staring into utter darkness.
And thinking—which meant, I remember, the attempts of the mind
to prevent change.

Familiar, recognizable, but much more deeply alone, more despondent.
She does not, in her view, meet the definition
of child, a person with everything to look forward to.

This is how the others look; this is, therefore, what they are.
Constantly making friends
with the camera, many of them actually
smiling with real conviction—

I remember that age.  Riddled with self-doubt, self-loathing,
and at the same time suffused
with contempt for the communal, the ordinary; forever
consigned to solitude, the bleak solace of perception, to a future
completely dominated by the tragic, with no use for the immense will
but to fend it off—

That is the problem of silence:
one cannot test one's ideas.
Because they are not ideas, they are the truth.

All the defenses, the spiritual rigidity, the insistent
unmasking of the ordinary to reveal the tragic,
were actually innocence of the world.
Meaning the partial, the shifting, the mutable—
all that the absolute excludes.  I sat in the dark, in the living room.
The birthday was over.  I was thinking, naturally, about time.
I remember how, in almost the same instant,
my heart would leap up exultant and collapse
in desolate anguish.  The leaping up—the half I didn't count—
that was happiness; that is what the word meant.