outwait outrun outwit


an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
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02.26.04, wednesday morning

Last night lightning streaked across the darkness as a leviathan storm roamed around our part of the world. I thought about the humans on the lit-up crane that we had watched through binoculors the previous night, unloading containers from a barge. No one, I hoped, was working in this weather . . . But I knew, all the same, that someone probably was; the world runs its days and even tempest-tossed nights on logic that is not sympathetic to human bodies.

Later we baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and of course I spilled flour and sugar everywhere and when I woke up today, there he was, five-day whiskered chin tickling my face, telling me how beautiful my eyes were and how beautiful the day would be and when I told him to have a good day at work, he said, Of course and passed out of groggy sight, a tall dark dream.

Sometimes, when there is no time and no place for peace from bills and wars and bosses and dictators and getting barely by, it seems all the beautiful things in the world--hot ovens and beloveds and good books--are dreams passing out of sight, like boats that will never return.

. . .

When I wake again, sun and storm punctuate the sky, one or the other exclaiming its presence at intermittent moments, but nevertheless companions in a landscape where, at the horizon, the port lies, a sprawl of shrouded machine-shapes.

Throughout this meteorological drama, hammers bang and longshoremen unload barges and the trucks keep coming from the port and the baby upstairs cries and cries.

Now as I write, a gloomy light announces truce. Wet sounds come in like ocean-waves and I think of what Andre Gide said, how you have to lose sight of the shore in order to discover new land.

No, no. That's not exact, he said: One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. And now I wonder: to whom or what does that voyager concede her consent?

. . .

(Oh god, Phil. You know amazing people but you've stopped listening. For you're up to your ears in the preinvented world. And it shouldn't take an accident, an encounter with mortality, another news of a dear one's physical frailty, to get you to liste. It's time, dear, to disengage yourself from the banal, freedom-killing, peace-of-mind-bashing, power-tripping meanings of that world. )


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