Archive for October, 2008

The fall wind stripping the branches

Woken up at 7:30 by jackhammers outside my window tearing up the sidewalk as if all the construction workers’ curses that were packed and layered into the cement when first built are being released in one explosion. Buildings falling and rising, all the little angels homeless now. On the trees outside the leaves, like raging drunks, glow red and can’t even fall to the ground in a straight line. The wall of the building is a mass of chameleons, all unseen–but on the move. Broken up by hoarse laughter, this piece will actually reach a respectable length. To try to live by your own principles is to be falling forwards against a stiff wind.

Cinematic promenade

The shirts hanging on the wall look like children that have been beaten down to empty skin. This country is either veering leftwards or rightwards without being aware of it, or so I infer from the people passing outside my window. The monosyllabic agitated words piercing through the walls like a pencil tapping through taut paper make it clear that thanks to short-sighted immigration policies numerical superiority on this hallway has been lost to the Chinese. I remain reluctant to concede that my headache may have been an inside job. Persian rugs are becoming the only acceptable form of art to me, because you can walk all over them. I think I’m going to start wearing glasses and contacts at the same time–20/20 vision is mediocrity by definition. As long as you’re careful to keep your books facing the wall, you can read most of them in three words or less. Sometimes I think my eyes can wear down the things they most often look at, like a beaten path through the grass.

Out on a run I noticed they’ve started planting dwarf palms in the traffic islands in Medford. There are a lot of Brazilians up that way, they’re probably trying to make them feel more at home. I don’t know, maybe that’s why they’re ripping up so many of the sidewalks too. Later, I ran by the famous Gehry building at MIT, and realized its only real problem is that it doesn’t fit in with itself. Still, I like artists plagued by frequent collapses and declines–the most common sign of attempted flight. In my room, on the other hand, it’s all clean, bare white walls, since Massachusetts fire regulations only let you cover 10% of your walls. It’s like living inside the blank pages of a diary–but at least it’s not inhabiting someone else’s words.

The miracles of St. John

I’d like to salute in advance the election once again, 48 years later, of a young Democratic president with the vital help of the shady machinations of the Chicago political machine and a certain Richard Daley. Obama is even going to upstage the Republicans on the religious angle: we will be going from a president who listens to God to one who is one. And in his messianic quality he also strangely parallels JFK. Kennedy’s reign was surrounded by miracles, although befitting our age of weak and helpless men his miracles were performed for and against him by the more mighty, for example his election, when the voters of Chicago were raised from the dead to vote for him, or the Magic Bullet that killed him which, like the Trinity, was both one and many.

Ah, what selfish cheaters, these miracle-workers, tearing apart the laws of space and time to get ahead. It’s a wonder they haven’t made the universe collapse. A beach could be a mountain, after all, if every grain of sand didn’t want to be the peak. On the other hand, the value of these miracles shouldn’t be presumed too quickly, since it’s not clear whether Kennedy or Kennedy’s assassination was the greater leader in the ’60’s. Of course preventing the world from being destroyed in the Cuban Missile Crisis probably could not have been managed minute-to-minute by the dead, but on the other hand the death of Kennedy, in the hands of a superior manipulator like Johnson, became an unanswerable argument for the Civil Rights Act. How strange it is that a person’s wishes, generally ignored when they’re alive, become a gainsay-less mandate upon their death, at the very moment they cease to know or care what happens.