Tuesday, September 13, 2005

quintet (reprise)


The weather wears, moisture gets in, remaining trapped, and the wood begins to rot. Insects burrow, making homes. They lay eggs and multiply - an infestation occurs. Ropes fray and break. Nails rust, their strength undermined by corrosion. I'm one hundred fifty feet of shoddily built bridge over a dangerously active river - the tenuous mass of excuses for everything you do. Deteriorating, swaying precariously in the wind, the water rushing relentlessly below. I wait for just one more step.


"My interest," he says, "lies not in the machinations of rulers, not in the devilry of killers, not in the trophy piety of the righteous. No, these people do not hold my interest. And my interest lies not in the artists who display their thoughts so openly on the paper and canvas of their work - there is no big mystery there," he says. "And my interest lies not in the philosophers who have repeatedly admitted that they know nothing. If they know nothing," he says, "then there is nothing to know about them."


To exist in that place where reason had survived the kill. To be present in the time before innocence suffered that most unfortunate accident. To live and breath in that alternate universe where sensibility had not grown old, had not gone senile, had not died a slow death, gasping for air, alone in a decrepit caravansary. Blood on a handkerchief held to the mouth by a frail claw of a hand. That last cough still hanging heavy in the air. The stale breath of death. body rigid, already decaying.


"No," he says, "my interest lies not in these people - my interest lies solely in the common person. The labourer who builds your house, the barista who builds your coffee, the cook who builds your pizza - these are the people who build up and hold my interest," he says. "How and why do they love? What drives them to hate? How do they rationalize their place, their purpose in the universe? How do they build their own importance?"


It comes easily now. Easier than a fish swimming downstream, easier than a bird flying with the wind - it comes easily. After death, nothing can stop the rot, the decomposition. You die, and in that instant, there is a coming apart, a breaking down into simpler forms of matter. Autolysis: your own internal enzymes and chemicals begin to break down your own tissues. Putrefaction: bacteria consume. Then the scavengers come. There's an unbuilding, a dispersal, and you're scattered amongst the still living, reborn.

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