Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oral History

My lesson today included "Take Me Home Country Roads," which, in a moment of delightful synchronicity, we discovered was co-authored by the guy who wrote "Afternoon Delight."

There are a few benefits to going to school two thousand miles from where you grew up. One is being able to get sentimental listening to John Denver when the lyrics have absolutely no relevance to your life beyond a general feeling that somewhere there is a dusty road leading up to the old homestead. Your favorite cow idles up to you as your boots kick up dust and snorts a snort of recognition right as the screen door swings open to reveal your whole family, wearing aprons, leaning against the door frame with the exact same cross-armed posture. Why is everyone wearing aprons? Because you're home. Country roads.

You get to picture your city like a fishbowl filled with the smiling faces of everyone you know, unified in mutual consciousness, content in shared presence. He who has funny mustaches and talks big-heartedly about Socialism bobs in quiet revery next to She who pierced her tongue for a day just to prove she could. Wearer of late-night speedos streaks by Carrier of way too many fragrant, earthy things in her magic purse. A parade of the femininely demure floats indignantly past a chorus of the damned shouting gleefully about buttholes. The disembodied heads, still smiling, roll across the floors of places you keep remembering.

And even though most everybody's on different continents and maybe have always been there, it's nice to think about bowls and roads sometimes.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My Education

It's hard to tell, sometimes, whether I stand for very little or very much.

Maundering, quasi-poetic, autobiographical narratives. Certain lines in certain paintings by Klimt. Anticipatory thoughts about the future. Calming down. Not pretending to understand much of anything. Turning your back on prophecies and the apocalypse.

It's hard to buy a t-shirt for Waiting To See. It's hard to write about it so that people will know quite what you're talking about. There's no club to join for There Are Things to be Reconciled Within You that are Ultimately Larger than Men in Helicopters and the Declining Value of the Dollar, Maybe, Maybe.

Secret taboo thoughts I share with myself, like, maybe it's more important to be kind of baselessly in love with her even though she didn't know what the devil-horns hand thing was and you've only said maybe fifty sentences to her and she didn't show up to your party anyway than to read esoteric scribblings in your room about imperialist American wars and the economic fallout of globalized capitalism like tracing the shadows cast on the ground by silhouetted giants boxing millions of miles away, somewhere around the moon or maybe Jupiter, and going to rallies to let the starving people know how sorry you are to have stood in the darkness. Forbidden things like talking about my friend with the startup company being possessed with a good soul and treating his workers like people and keeping some sodas in the fridge for them and having the professor later stand up in class and say "Matthew knows a friendly capitalist, maybe you should get his autograph" and later having the professor laugh in your face chuckling "I mean, how is that relevant to anything?" and all the time wanting to say Fuck you fuck you fuck you with your crude hieroglyphs of men in top hats holding bags with dollar signs on them and pyramids and dire proclamations about all these goddamned gadgets 'WHAT IS AN IPOD ANYWAY, am I right? Am I right? Ha ha ha.' like the world was so simple and the beauty that is inside of people could ever be captured in your stupid algorithms and the only way to make space for your unborn children is to lock arms and resist, resist, grassroots resist with your slogans and sexy, sexy molotov cocktails and bless yourself with the tears of the oppressed and FIGHT, KILL, FIGHT, KILL, BLEED, BLEED, BLEED and your killing will be vindicated by the purifying glory of righteousness.

Secret taboo thoughts I keep to myself, like, tying up the demon of blame-casting, scapegoating, adherence to anything but that which fills you with love or oddity or wonder or tolerance or memories of things that mean something to you in a burlap sack and filling it with rocks and tying it closed with a dozen knots and throwing it into the river so it sputters and dies a watery, silent death and stays dead in your heart forever, and ever, and ever.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether I stand for a great deal or nothing at all. But other times, it is not so hard.