Tuesday, March 31, 2020

An Otherwise Gentle Infidelity

Grateful - always grateful - to Emily Dickinson. All our strategies converge thusly: Friday night, the house empty, writing by a single small lamp. These are the dream times and they will not come again, so let us conduct our affairs accordingly. What is evoked and by what ritual is the evocation wrought? One goes into each sentence as into a country they have not visited in a long time. Repetition is not without purpose, which one learns over and over and over. Buffeted these days between the self-image and the one who creates - and then judges, often quite harshly, almost always unfairly - the image. Dishonesty marred an otherwise gentle infidelity and so we repair to back rooms and local bars, the better to nurse our bewilderment and regret. Whole continents unfurl on the bed sheets, political movements and their histories insert themselves in our clumsy sexual coupling. Those back-and-forth walks on Main Street mean always passing the old church and knowing the certain angle at which its steeple blots the stars. Home is an act not a place and it's high time to stop self-instructing otherwise. In a sense, we were always preamble, we for whom the Lord appeared as a certain narrative impulse, a way of looking back and saying "it could have gone one way but instead it went this." This emptiness my love, it will not let me call it by any other name.

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