If only the personal weren’t, as they say, so political. If only the person-holes called leaders were a bit less personable. If only the suction from those walking vacuums weren’t always so goddamn difficult to resist.

Autumn is the time for longing thoughts, they say; rapid change makes us yearn for stasis. It’s autumn, it’s raining, & I crave the familiarity of cliché. What is a cliché, after all, but an aborted proverb? One man’s culture of life is another man’s petri dish. (To say nothing of the women, of course.)

If only failure were not, as they say, an option. If misery really were capable of love, what loving company a miserable failure might find himself in. The great and powerful POTUS side-by-side with a scruffy, self-promoting documentary filmmaker: what fearful asymmetry! If only a mere Google bomb could blow the manhole cover off that septic stream of lies. But the lies are old news, and in the U.S.A., old news is no news – good news for those who stand to profit off the unstoppable buck, the bull market, the zero worship.

The rain started two hours before dawn while I was in the shower, so that when I stuck my damp head out the door, I heard the soft deliberate footfalls of a burglar in the grass, on the porch roof. Take all you want, I said – as if anything here were mine to part with in the first place.

Every morning I scan the headlines, shaping my lips & tongue unconsciously around the new-yet-strangely-familiar-&-comforting litany of other people’s misery. (I’m only a fully silent reader in company.) Earthquake, hurricane, I whisper, mudslide, flood. A school roof collapses like a sick joke on the heads of schoolchildren; an art museum is flattened by a floating casino. Whole towns are buried under suddenly wakeful, supposedly sacred mountains. Library collections turn gray & mushy in the mouths of their most thorough readers ever.

All that future, down the shit hole. All those centuries of incense & slow fasting.

What does it mean to be a lyric poet in times of widespread disaster & a global extinction crisis? What does it mean to cherish quietness, faced with the absolute silence of the null set? Words too easily succumb to a dervish vertigo. I am bone-tired of this present tense, its tightly wrapped present of tension, waiting for an epiphany that may be nothing like what we have ever imagined that we deserve. I am sick to death of the prayerful moment. I want to tell the wonder-junky in me, shut your goddamn slavering cake hole with some actual cake, for once. Fill your glistening eyes with some light-hearted miracle, some fancy contraption involving hidden wires & gaps in the fabric that earns a standing ovation from your pants. Get a real job. Consume. Obey.

Last month I lost my only set of keys & ever since, everywhere I look, there’s another keyhole right at eye-level. No peeping, now, I have to admonish myself. The world can go to hell, and maybe it will; a wrong thing never turns right. Someone lives in there, I have to think.

With gratitude for the influence of Chris Clarke’s much more analytical series on The Anatomy of Bad News (here, here, here, and here, with more to come, I hope).

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