Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How frequently are we deluded when it comes to the capacity of our hearts to endure emotional overload and cruelty? Or the value of the surrounding pastureland? When will we be free of the tumult that follows even the simplest decision? Large portions of the time allotted get taken up with maintenance – typing out the proper forms in triplicate, re-reading and revising them to eliminate the sort of errors that might place us in the next county or make of us professional taxidermists when we can’t stand the sight of fur. I would have expected, given the carnage I wake up to, some premonition, some visual approximation of the violence that must have ensued during my intoxication. Some channeling of its actual horror into a poetic, transformative equivalent. The sort of thing that turns us into characters in a narrative rather than just blobs of grease and protoplasm bouncing from one place to another without any clear understanding of why. But there is nothing of the sort – just what seem like immeasurable expanses of cognitive prairieland populated by beasts with long shadows. Violin music piped in from somewhere in the clouds as if there were speakers there hung from dirigibles and a microphone and a single performer standing in the gondola with his bow working furiously and his mind occupied with the rigors of improvisation. Even so, the final product sounds as if it has been scored and re-scored again, laid out from beginning to end with the mathematical precision of an engineer’s blueprints for a bridge to span the Orinoco. Perhaps we protect ourselves unconsciously from the horrors that surround us at every moment of every day, and so when something extra-vigorous occurs -- when we are immersed in blood and the untoward facts of the body to an extent heretofore unimagined and unimaginable -- we have some resources to fall back on. Procedures made instinctive because of repetition, because of our ability to get in a rut and stay there. After all, the rut is comfortable. And, when viewed properly, a real lifesaver. It can lead the way reliably across an otherwise treacherous stretch of wilderness.

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