Skip to main content

the law of the letter

this is an odd bit that i wrote a little while ago. i think i meant to add more to it, but i never got around to that and, reading it, i do think that it functions fairly well as is.

*

Funny now, I thought I heard you, heard those footsteps in the snow,
heard the light click-click of heels along the winter's last ice
that's grown slick with the inexorable thaw, the sweet retreat of the east wind,
the toothless roar of March's latest tantrum sounding out the rite of Spring for all of us
is how it's been these last weeks.
And yes, it does seem strange without you, so perhaps it was just to give myself some comfort
that I imagined I heard your spider-like steps.
Perhaps I wanted to think you'd come back to get me.
Perhaps I thought you were back, wet and frozen and angry
ember-eyes glowing like Chinese lanterns inside that bony cage of a skull;
you always needed some meat on your bones.
But that's my foolishness, finding devils in the air when I exhale
and it wasn't you come back to hunt me down, but just some dead branch
flinging itself, exhausted against the road.
It still gave me a start, alone as I was, up late as I often am.
They tell me I should take something for all these complaints I've developed, these mundane cramps
and bursts of pain that swell in every pocket and dimple from my throat to my feet.
I think it's this that makes me old.
And when I think that, I'm surprised, because it doesn't seem that long ago that I
had energy for everything, a long walk through the feral forest,
a stroll by the creek to hear the ancient footbridge sigh beneath our weight.
You gave me the vitality I needed.
Now, I'm told I need bitters for my liver, more zinc, more iron, more copper, until I think I need to start a mine to meet my needs just to stumble, bored and bitter, through another day.
But we know that's not it, you and I.
I could douse the surly flames in my gut with milk and gold, but I would not be myself again.
For that, I need you, in all your terrifying glory
rising from the dead light at the end of the dark season.
I sit and wait for that, imagining your footsteps to bolster hope.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …