Y’all: if I have to watch the world burn, I want to watch it burn from New Orleans.
Chance is not simply a matter of choosing, but the result of that which might have happened anyway.
– Laszlo Krasznahorkai, from “Downhill on a Forest Road,” in The World Goes On
Yes, I was smiling as I walked by, because I was looking at all those bumper stickers on your truck, and, for a second, I felt like I knew you–or at least who you wanted to be known as, though honestly even that manicured intention seemed stretched here, glossed over …
You are awake. It is still dark. You’re in bed. In…Golden Meadow…no…Poplar Bluff? Um…Mexico City? Alkmaar? Hah, no, it’s New Orleans and then you notice that your head is pounding and that a sleeping cat has completely cut off the circulation in your outstretched left arm. Good morning.
You can only lol alone.
I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
– Umberto Eco
Well, it’s Ninth and Hennepin
All the doughnuts have names that sound like prostitutes
And the moon’s teeth marks are on the sky
Like a tarp thrown all over this
And the broken umbrellas like dead birds
And the steam comes out of the grill like the whole goddamn town’s ready to blow
And the bricks are all scarred with jailhouse tattoos
And everyone is behaving like dogs
And the horses are coming down Violin Road and Dutch is dead on his feet
And all the rooms they smell like diesel
And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept here
And I’m lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway
And I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat
And no one brings anything small into a bar around here
They all started out with bad directions
And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
One for every year he’s away, she said
Such a crumbling beauty
Ah, there’s nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won’t fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
And the clock ticks out like a dripping faucet
Till you’re full of rag water and bitters and blue ruin
And you spill out over the side to anyone who will listen
And I’ve seen it all
I’ve seen it all through the yellow windows of the evening train
– Tom Waits, “9th & Hennepin,” one of my favorite poems, which came to mind today when I crossed 9th Street, while driving down Hennepin, in downtown Minneapolis.
Because there’s no shortage of writing about politics (if thats still what we’re calling it these days), I’m especially refreshed when I read a new and well-considered viewpoint on what is, obviously enough to me and a few other people, more than an issue of ideology or personality. Our world is shaped by our decisions and behaviors, often in unexpected ways. Adam Thirlwell of the Paris Review does a great job here of relating ourselves to this world we’ve inadvertently created.
It’s hard to follow current events these days and not comment on them. I try not to follow things too closely (the constant breathlessness will eat you alive), I try not to become invested in the way the world progresses (after all, nobody cares what I think about things), and I try not to add my voice to the angry clamor (there are too many screaming voices as it is). But at a point one has to speak, somehow, no matter how ineffectively, to say THIS WAY OF CONDUCTING OURSELVES IS NOT OK. We cannot survive as a people of anger. We must be a people of compassion.
I have chosen to be a man of compassion. It’s not much, I know, but it strikes me as the only way to start making the world better.
Be well, and love always. It sounds cheesy, but there’s nothing in the world more important.