Sunday, September 6, 2009

the killing wall

Ostensibly, a tranquil early Sunday morning view of the first landing on the stairs, sun filtered through the blowing pine trees outside and making flickering shadows on the wall. But what are those dark marks? If you look closely - if you zoom in - you'll see that the wall is blood-smeared - and from the bottom smear protrude a few remains that make it very hard to tell whether the original creature was a mosquito (fat with my blood - and there are many of those) or an unfortunate moth. Now I know what those kitty-thuds in the night were.

These things are a parable (as George Eliot would say). I'm very much aware how un-politically engaged my writing here has been - as if uncoupled from anger and pain and negative feeling, despite being daily moved and enraged by so much - today, the video by poet/activist by Andrea Gibson, "The Pursuit of Happiness," (many thanks to Patti Digh for posting this to FB), and the NYT story about children facing the new school year whilst homeless, and that's for starters. Such interventions and reporting makes me wonder why I spend my time looking for pretty patterns of light on the stairs. So the image of insect-cide stands - albeit, to be sure, in a self-mocking way - for my knowledge of the cruelty and violence that's out there. But at the same time I stand by my belief that we do also need to look for the unexpected or unlooked-for instances of beauty and visual pleasure that are out there, all the time - or we're sunk. Little chance of rescuing my street cred from such a Pollyanna-ish statement, of course - but it's a reminder that my purpose in keeping this daily blog hasn't been to go out and hunt down my subject matter, but to keep to the challenge of noting what's in front of me, and then seeing what happens as it interacts with prose.

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