Wrong, Wrong, Uncertainly Right

Flickr.com: '041/365 - Skeptical,' by Artamir78 on Flickr

[Image: “041/365 – Skeptical,” by Artamir78 on Flickr. (Used here under a Creative Commons license; thank you!)]

From whiskey river:

You fight your superficiality, your shallowness, so as to try to come at people without unreal expectations, without an overload of bias or hope or arrogance, as untanklike as you can be, sans cannon and machine guns and steel plating half a foot thick; you come at them unmenacingly on your own ten toes instead of tearing up the turf with your caterpillar treads, take them on with an open mind, as equals, man to man, as we used to say, and yet you never fail to get them wrong. You might as well have the brain of a tank. You get them wrong before you meet them, while you’re anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you’re with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion empty of all perception, an astonishing farce of misperception. And yet what are we to do about this terribly significant business of other people, which gets bled of the significance we think it has and takes on instead a significance that is ludicrous, so ill-equipped are we all to envision one another’s interior workings and invisible aims? Is everyone to go off and lock the door and sit secluded like the lonely writers do, in a soundproof cell, summoning people out of words and then proposing that these word people are closer to the real thing than the real people that we mangle with our ignorance every day? The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It’s getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That’s how we know we’re alive: we’re wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that—well, lucky you.

(Philip Roth [source])

and:

Theories of Personal Identity

The photograph;
the past life;
the long lost
black sheep who’s become
the shoe that fits.
The ghost town,
a.k.a. the rummage bin,
that old sweet song.
The suitcase; the hotel
room; the surprise
box lunch; the plain
brown wrapper. The umbrella
someone opened in the house.
The alphabet, or perhaps
I mean a river, or a well.
The skeleton in the closet.
The writing on the wall.
The telltale heart.

(Jan Zwicky [source])

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The Trap of What Never (Might Have) Happened

10th July 2008 - The Dream Diary, by practicalowl on Flickr

[Image: “10th July 2008 – The Dream Diary,” by user practicalowl on Flickr.com. (Right-click and view in a new window/tab for a much larger version.)) Used under a Creative Commons license.]

From whiskey river:

Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On

This morning when I looked out the roof window
before dawn and a few stars were still caught
in the fragile weft of ebony night
I was overwhelmed. I sang the song Louis taught me:
a song to call the deer in Creek, when hunting,
and I am certainly hunting something as magic as deer
in this city far from the hammock of my mother’s belly.
It works, of course, and deer came into this room
and wondered at finding themselves
in a house near downtown Denver.
Now the deer and I are trying to figure out a song
to get them back, to get all of us back,
because if it works I’m going with them.
And it’s too early to call Louis
and nearly too late to go home.

for Louis Oliver

(Joy Harjo [source])

and:

Some religions call life a dream, or a dreaming, but what if it is a memory? What if this new world isn’t new at all but a memory of a new world?

What if we really do keep making the same mistakes again and again, never remembering the lessons to learn but never forgetting either that it had been different, that there was a pristine place?

Perhaps the universe is a memory of our mistakes.

(Jeanette Winterson [source])

and:

Birthday
(excerpt)

I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss
on the mouth of that new born river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.

(Andrea Gibson [source])

and:

Shuttered Windows

To speak of the smell and feel
of books, the erotics of the text,
has begun to sound perverse

One by one, the old places of worship
churches, bookstores, Nature herself
become quaint and are vacated

In their stead a gleaming, ambitious screen
part shuttered window, part distorting mirror
full of wandering, restless spirits

Like so many ghosts in limbo —
free of the tyranny of bodies,
yet aching for their phantom limbs.

(Yahia Lababidi [source])

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