Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Endeavor to drop the accent as it will never sound authentic, even if it is. We judge words based on their sound and not their meaning because we know somewhere deep inside ourselves without anyone having to tell us, without anyone having to demonstrate this truth through intricate logical maneuvers, that words can never mean anything, or at least they can’t mean anything in quite the same way that objects can, the way objects mean something when you place them side by side on a flat surface. And then you step back and you wave your arm a certain way – in a sweeping motion over the objects. Or, if they are large, in their general direction. Those in the audience will begin to shift about uncomfortably in their seats. Minutes pass, more people get anxious and pretty soon someone is shouting in the back row, stringing together expletives as if they were bits of shell and he was in the process of making a necklace. Make no mistake – he and the others like him are in on it; they have been rehearsed, they have been carefully selected based on the color of their mustaches and the blank looks they get in their eyes whenever you ask them a question concerning the Adriatic Sea, or the hypotenuse of a triangle and why it is almost always more beautiful than the other sides. After the others have cleared out, I approach a table occupied by a single, snarky-looking little man and three women each at least three times his size. I try to make out what they are saying before I get there, but the conversation unravels at the speed of electricity and sounds – as a consequence of each of these people speaking at exactly the same time – as if it were created by a machine. One with a handle on the side and a mechanism hidden away in the interior of the machine, a mechanism that is set in motion by someone turning the handle. The mechanism, I imagine, forces gears of soft metal to rub against one another so that there is a great deal of friction, but not an excess of heat. Hence, the hum. One gets the sense immediately that what all of this is aping is the physical operations of human coitus while intentionally leaving out some of the more salient factors, such as what we like to call an “emotional connection” and an imagination wholly taken up sometimes with images of other people’s shoes. It doesn’t take long, though, to realize we have been misled, have been left to fend for ourselves on a terrace overlooking a series of other terraces, each of which is, as near as we can tell (and believe me – we look; we have no choice but to look) abandoned. Bare of all life, except for perhaps a housefly here and there. Even that we can’t be sure of because the distances involved are such that what one thinks one sees might turn out, in actual fact, to be an illusion -- a trick of depth and shadows, and the mind’s unconquerable desire to populate the world beyond its borders with other entities very much like itself. Meaning, very frail things. Abysmal things just moments from flickering out. But possessed, for all that, of a sense that they ought, by rights, to burn forever. That no one has ever experienced that unseemly thing called light in quite this form before.

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