“So that mofo right there” — he pointed at me — “fucked that guy up real bad.” He cackled. “That sumbitch was bleeding out his mouth, out his nose, out his ears. Shit. You looking at one crazy, wild-ass mofo right there.”
I’d never seen him before. Or any of the rest of them. I was just waiting for my bus.
The bus came. I got on board. Everyone stared at me. Two people, sitting next to open seats, got up and walked to the back. I sat down. The bus wheezed and set off.
The driver kept glancing at me in his big rearview mirror. No one spoke. I could tell that the woman sitting in front of me was crying.
We made the turn onto Lamott. I saw a bird drop out of a tree onto the pavement. Then another and another. I saw a woman running down the sidewalk. She had a baby in her arms. I saw a jagged line of living fire descend from a coal-black cloud. I saw three houses go up in flames.
I watched as one by one, just ahead of the bus, the colors of Lamott Avenue faded and died.
We reached my stop. I stepped down from the bus. The doors of all the shopfronts were smeared with blood.
I could see that Tania was behind the bulletproof glass at her parents’ store. The door chimed when I opened it. She looked over at me and she smiled.
I smiled back.
At any rate, there is a rolling, all-pervasive upwash of dread, one great, hot, shooting surge of dread-sensation through mind and body, a sense—perhaps?—of Time, carrying a body from Sunday night to Monday morning, to every Monday morning after that, and on and on, willy-nilly, to extinction, a mountainload of moments forcing the body from now to then, from drab to drab, from exposure to exposure, this progress, this exasperating, non-negotiable, obliterating motion forward into the dark—the dark what? Was a body (at age five) too new for it? Could it be saved from it? Whom to implore? What enemy forces, where? And what about the sheer searing thrill of it—boiling-hot bathwater—this could not be denied: a brilliance shot up through it, and the body fairly sang. Then it was gone. She took the shock as a lullaby and did not expect anything different. When does that begin, the expecting anything different? Is there a childhood sublime? Does it end where expectation begins? For the sublime is punctured by egotism, by the rapt, hard, small beak of my self demanding to be me. My self finding the words for that. If I can find the words I can make it real, she thought …
~ Anne Carson, “Flaubert Again” (2018)
I never asked for this.
Who said anything about asking.
Me, obviously. I just did.
No, I mean, why bother to say that. It’s silly.
I suppose it’s another way of saying I’m doing the best I can.
You can’t be the judge of that. That’s for the rest of us to decide. (more…)
He hears music, shortly before he dies. It sounds to him like the chiming of tiny, delicately wrought bells. Each note its own truth. Each truth the story of his life, told by a different person. What is this tune, he wonders. What was his life? (more…)
In Kelly Reichardt’s latest film, the male characters include Fuller, who was injured on the job months before the movie begins. His long-suffering lawyer, Laura Wells, keeps telling him that he has no legal recourse against his employer, not beyond the settlement that he accepted. Fuller refuses to believe her. So Laura arranges for a male attorney to provide a second opinion, which turns out to be identical to hers. As they drive back from the meeting, Fuller says, “The only thing left to do is get a machine gun and kill everybody.” Laura pulls over and tells him to get out of her car. He apologizes to her. So Laura drives on. Fuller begins to sob. Laura keeps driving.