Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ain't A Ghost

"The word boredom did not enter the language until the eighteenth century*. No one knows its etymology. One guess is that bore may derive from the French verb bourrer, to stuff.
Question: Why was there no such word before the eighteenth century? 
"Is it because the self first had the means of understanding itself through myth, albeit incorrectly, later understood itself through religion as a creature of God, and now has the means of understanding the Cosmos through positive science but not itself because the self cannot be grasped by positive science, and that therefore the self can perceive itself only as a ghost in the machine? How else can a ghost feel otherwise toward a machine than bored?"
 (Walker Percy, Lost In the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book)

There's too much of everything
     books, stars, flowers.
How can one flower be precious
     in a bed of thousands?
How can a book count
     in a library of millions?
The universe is a junkyard
     burnt out meteors, busted up stars
     planetary cast offs, throwaway galaxies
     born and buried in an instant
     repeating, repeating
Yet something remains
     the dream of fewness
     one woman, one man.

(Untitled, The Thomas Merton Poems, J.S. Porter. Moonstone Press, 1998)


Adam and Eve laid death 
at the roots of the Tree of Life 
Adam donned a hard hat 
and the motto, "Safety First," 
while Eve snuck off 
to the Cinema Paradiso 
every afternoon for repeat 
bargain matinee viewings of 
the Bergman film in black & white-- 
that famous chess game with death. 

"The Grim Reaper" became little 
Cain and Abel's favorite 
Saturday morning cartoon 
when they moved out to the suburbs 
and could afford cable TV 
now that Adam had landed 
a sweet promotion to 
a management level position. 

A little death goes a long way-- 
the sterile hospital smell, 
the clinical distance, 
the rubber gloves, 
the pain, 
the indignity of various 
procedures, the cancer 
with its claws inside you, 
your life stretched out and nailed down 
like a man on a cross 

You regret the fear, the caution 
that cut you off from things. 
But then you see and smell 
and taste and feel 
the substance of your life. 
And your mind, Lazarus-like, 
shakes off its shroud and walks 
in the wonder of it all.

Adam and Eve wake up
from their long sleep.
Drudgery and repetition turn the corner
and learn to be a funeral march
Dixieland style down Bourbon St.
to the gardens of the dead
where these bones lie waiting to be
refashioned for a new
and never ending dance.

(House of Words, J. Potter. Korrektiv Press, 2010)

*that was when people realized that they didn't have Mario Kart.

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