Epigrams

March 17, 2010

March 14, 2007:

Jesse of Auto Glass, you provide me with a service

You have a skill I do not, and yet

Your lack of smarts makes me nervous.

April 20, 2007:

To you in the white Bonneville with license number PSA

Why were you so rude and impatient on the road today?

Thanks for cutting me off, now please go away.

July 2, 2007:

Spending a week in Xanadu again, after a three-year absence

With games and friends and drink

Yes, it’s good to be here, thank you for asking.

Sept. 25, 2007

Talking heads warn of global warming, bird flu, nuclear war,

But people are the problem, so is extinction really going too far?

Yet the sooner the earth removes us, the sooner earth raises the bar.

Oct. 16, 2007

This nation celebrates the stupid and shallow

Scorns the gentlemen, and their ways will not allow

But we’re having a renaissance, with good times to follow!

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Fragment 001

March 6, 2010

I have always hesitated to move about in the countryside at night, and a recent moonlit hour’s encounter only reinforced my hesitation to step outside my door in the dark hours. I had gone out at a later hour than I wont for some business or other. And while passing on the main road (or what passes for a main road in the countryside; these bucolic lanes are most definitely not the busy paths of the cities!) with farmlands all around me, I felt a strange sadness. Perhaps it was the emptiness of the landscape. The ground had been freshly turned and presented itself to me as a single level black plane. Some miles away I could see the simple homes of the farmers, with warm yellow light coming from the windows. I could imagine the farmer and his family sitting at their table having their dinner, or relaxing under a candle with a book or game. But I was alone on the path, with not even a taper to light my way. Why, I knew these lanes so well, I did not need to light my way. That, and I will admit it, I did not want my bobbing torch to take the attention of unwanted passersby in the night. Now I know that the walkers of the night hours will pass me by whether I catch their attention or not! For this night, moving with soft footsteps on the hard earth of the path, with a half-moon draped in cottony gray clouds overhead, with the night sky the same black as my ink, and the few stars visible shining brightly, all this above, and around me the flat dark empty spaces of farms, I found another walker, going the opposite direction! I knew the creature was approaching before I saw it; a sudden clammy fear fell on my chest. It moved like the early morning mists one sees at times, after a cool nighttime monsoon. Above, the strips of clouds slid away and the intense white moonlight fell upon the lane. It illuminated the dusty footprints and scattered clods of dirt with a sort of cold and soft white light, giving an exhilarating but uneasy glow to all. It was the moonlight that revealed the creature’s eyes. The moonlight reflected off the bobbing pair of eyes, like red glinting discs, further up the lane. I admit, I did hesitate, but I continued to walk. If the creature saw my stopping for an instant I do not know. Perhaps it saw the sudden nervousness of my gait. I whispered prayers under my breath and with my right hand made the sacred signs. And then I saw the creature in its entirety! Like a wolf it was, one of those gray, lean quick-looking beasts of the hills. Its hide was a shaggy gray mixed with white. The body looked much longer than I should think a wolf should be. The beast moved with a slow, tired gait. It seemed burdened with terrible secrets and truths. And now I did not fear it. I pitied it. The sense of loneliness the spectral wolf put in me is indescribable. Here was a creature of the night, wandering empty dark paths while good men sleep in their beds. It seemed to crave solace, or solitude, but was forever walking the lanes and paths of the countryside. Perhaps it was the cursed soul of a doomed man, a mendicant? A man who walked the world to rid himself of his sins, and after death a horrible thing happened to his spirit, and he walks still. I admit, I could look at the creature for but an instant. Its wraith’s step on the lane, and the heavy sense of despair and loneliness, and the misty weightlessness of its body, and how all these things clashed against my senses, was too much for my poor frightened fool’s mind. And my heart! I looked away, and hurried on up the path. Only now do I feel guilty for having done this. For would not this lonely spirit, having encountered by chance a fellow lonely wanderer, have not felt a fleeting, glinting hope? A flash of hope for friendship? But I ran away from it. I tell myself I must go out into the lanes again. I wish to apologize for my slight, for it is an ugly thing to turn away one in such pain. But I fear this strange creature would not want to see me again, after my offense.

On Despair

March 6, 2010

It’s a trite lyric, but true: Sometimes it’s hard to be a man.

It’s hard because we expect a man to be strong and to do the right thing. And doing the right thing is hard. Doing the wrong thing, or doing nothing at all, is easier. It’s easy to give up on responsibilities and duties and live like an animal. I know it’s easy, because I meet dozens of people every day who have done just that. I don’t know many true individuals. People are everywhere; human beings, not so much.

I am a human being. I am aware I exist and I ask why. I have dreams and fears and goals. I believe in doing what is right and accepting that comes with a sacrifice. I love my friends and family. I respect and admire intelligence and independence.

My upstairs neighbors are everything I am not. They have no talents to develop or ambition for anything beyond skateboarding and partying. They do not work or attend school. They produce noise and garbage, not thoughts or love. They choose to exist like this–I can’t call this living–and believe they are happy with it.

I despair for the price I pay to be a thinking human being, and I despair for what my neighbors have given up. In that, we are similar. And that also makes me despair.

With apologies to Kierkegaard.