Smile Politely

The thing is…

I am taking the day off. I am not buying milk or making yogurt. I am not going to visit my parents or buy gasoline. I am not going to test-drive my son’s car to see what is making that grinding sound. I may not leave my room. I am looking, finally, after years of both introspection and public expression, for my voice.

THE THING IS, maybe it’s time to withdraw and write my autobiography in the form of a poem.

THE THING IS, this is the final year of the Mayan calendar, the end of a cycle, and I believe that it will be represented by the Post-Verbal Millennium. Already, everything that can be said in words can be contradicted. And there’s not much one can say about that. Maybe silent dance is required, such as in Pina, or The Artist, or the performances at the Whitney Biennial. Maybe foreign languages and poetry will offer temporary respite from the inevitable wall of the sound of silence.

As Acid Astronaut Terence McKenna once said, in the future we will only have to glance at the box to comprehend its contents. I pity all those mind-warped PhD candidates. Facebook and Twitter have compressed all content already. We speak in abbreviations.

The Republican would-be candidates for President of the United States will be spending millions, if not billions of dollars, attacking each other for not being fiscally conservative. Most of them, not all, encourage the prospects of another war in the Middle East, right on the heels of fiasco. I’ve always been told that doing things in the same way and expecting different results was the definition of insanity. There is no lack of hard evidence that sanity has been in short supply for a long, long time.

THE THING IS, I am experiencing some sort of Chronic Fatigue attack, some immobilization of effort. I imagine it’s what David Foster Wallace felt when he realized that all his footnotes would never lead him into the heart of the onion. Words failed.

THE THING IS, at this point in the essay I start looking upwards on the page and start editing things out, snipping away at the unnecessary words, lines, and paragraphs, until nothing is left. This has happened over and over for months. When the page is again blank as it began, I leave the keyboard, go outside, and shoot some pictures with my phone. I mean, camera.  No, I mean phone.

And then I upload the pictures to my Facebook page with a clever title and wait to receive comments and likes.

Then I come back home and take a nap. Or I eat yogurt over which I drizzle tahini, because I like a) homemade yogurt, b) tahini, and c) the word “drizzle.”

THE THING IS, today is different. I have not gone backwards to edit away the preceding paragraphs. Not as much anyway. I may have gotten past the hurdle.

THE THING IS, there are eight long months ahead of us before the presidential election and I am no longer amused. I’m thinking of joining the overcrowded ranks of the willfully ignorant. I’m going to stop reading the news about Mitt’s dog or Newt’s wives. The whole thing is more stale than the latest Fast and Furious sequel, and I stopped watching those before the first one, which was stale to start.

THE THING IS, I’m going to watch a Bela Tarr movie, a black-and-white, Hungarian language, seven-hour epic of cows and muddy pastures and tortured cats and spilt wine and overcast skies filmed in barely moving shots that last seven, eight, or eighteen minutes long.  I’m going to watch the paint on the pyramids dry.  I’m not even going to bother to swat this fly.  I’m going to be happy now.

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