Sunday, October 27, 2013

Joy Tedium, for John Milton

Tedium is not alone. It is a composite phase. It is not an event, or exception. Tedium is art made perfect.

I heard a story today from a little girl who stopped me in the street to tell me that she had lost her purpose. "You are so young, little girl," I uttered with all possible tenderness. "How can one so young have lost her purpose?" She replied, "It is in the nature of purpose to be lost. Purpose is not a thing to be acquired and held and profited from, like a convertible asset. You mistook my statement of fact for one of lament. I have lost my purpose, this is a fact," said the little girl, "but I have not lost my critical sensibility."

Ah. If only I were half so wise as the little girls one meets in Portland. Unlike the books on  our shelves, or the birds of the air, there are all kinds of people dipping in and out of cafes and convenience stores who are chock full of answers.

Just the other day, walking out, bleeding inside from an incurable mortality, I found myself paying attention to some things and ignoring others. Meanwhile, my body was digesting something. Coffee and fat mostly, I suppose. The phone rang and rang. A computer spoke but I was already elsewhere. It's like I can never catch up to my success. It's like I will always be the last one to know myself.

I have come to accept the world. What is the alternative? Even where I doubt, I water flowers, or I pull them up. I return from a long bike ride, flowers in the pockets of my jersey already wilting. I appear here and there, usually out of a sense of obligation, and am a brick.

Where is his joy?

Joy is not alone. It is a transmutive forage. Lymph-like epodes embark. The window of opportunity is glazed with the likes of you. A great noise awaits. Cigarette smoke. The moments where we pause and light our cigarettes - in compliance, in assumption - the stuff of eternity.

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