Monday, January 15, 2018

Poems in Ordinary Time

On the one side is what we recall, on the other is our hopes. We occupy, or say we do, a constantly shifting middle ground called "now." Or are we occupied by it? Who's the host in this arrangement and who is the guest?

You may fall in love or you may sign a contract. You will want to fall in love and then sign a contract.  You do not want to be signing contracts that look like love but are not love. You do not need to put yourself under self-induced obligations to anyone or anything other than the few, the very few things you love. I do not need to tell you what you love. You can tell me. But I may say to you, Then why are you contracted to this thing that is not among the things you love? And you may say, Oh, I love that too. And I will say, I wonder if that is strictly true, or have opened the door to the slippery slope of disregard, by which many false, sad contracts are signed? Love is not accommodation, though can love and be accommodating.

Failure is not a thing one needs to induce or enter into in order to know the world or the love of the world. It may seem that way, by way of explanation or making excuses for ourselves, but it is not strictly true. Nothing is true which must be known by failing to get at another thing. You say, Failure made me humble. I say, do not treat humility as the offspring of failure. Failure made you aware of the sadness you carry within. You looked with yourself, having nowhere else to turn, and recognized sadness. Did you realize then that we all suffer in this way? That is a great gift and accomplishment, but it was not the result of failure. Instead, failure was the result of the sadness you could not bear. You acted as if you could not afford to be sad but now here you are. Now you know that you have nothing to fear as long as you remember that sadness within you. If you can keep in mind the sadness of others you will see failures for merely being failures. One does not need to fail in order to know the world, but the world knows us despite our failure to know ourselves.

Properly speaking, there is nothing that does not exist. Even dreams are an effect or property of effect. The idea of a thing exists as that idea. A saxophone-playing bicycle. Simple. I am interested in the notion that one can escape in dreams when of course there is no escape. Failure may overwhelm you and so dreams are a practical means of defeating that failure. A starving man needs bread; a failed man needs dreams. I take dreams quite literally as I do any signpost. There is no harm in this sort of conservative investment. Discounting dreams is a tactic employed by people who are inclined to over-invest in other fantasies, such as purpose and power. Purpose and power are as real as dreams, of course, but over-investment contorts the boundaries of purpose and power and creates fantasies and, often, poor behavior. Dreamers are likely to be better behaved than fantasizers. Or, one is bound to behave better dreaming. A dreamer has a goal to work toward, while a fantasizer misshapes and corrupts the form and nature of a thing that, for all we know, may serve as another person's dream. So, while there is nothing that does not exist, there are some things that should not exist. But even these things exist and serve a purpose, describing not paths so much as boundary limits.

One who loves posits the question whether they are loved in return. One who hates does so at no risk to themselves.

Hate is a means for evading the question, Do you love me too?