Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All our life should be baptism

As you get older, this is what happens -- you hear a piece of music from your youth, Across the Universe, let's say, sung by John in that voice of his. Or Harold Arlen's Ill Wind, as played by Ben Webster. A kind of breathing, let's call it a kind of breathing, for simplicity's sake. And you begin to pine for the kind of beauty that only lasts a moment, rushes to be gone, is always about to flee, and now you're going to make an allusion, it runs like wild horses over the hills, and you're left with your thoughts. But your thoughts don't amount to much, do they?

Let's try and think this through. Some mornings there is no news, even though you hear someone jabbering on the radio, or you've opened your browser -- your browser, pretty funny isn't it? I mean, aren't
you the browser? -- to The New York Times online. There are headlines there, and you know you ought to care about the elections in Iran, but guess what. The elections in Iran are almost a distraction, because you and your friends who are also out of work have other fish to fry.

Here's some real news: the economy is stable only because it is on life support. But it is obvious that no one --
and I mean no one -- has anywhere near a complete grasp of the situation. So we are doomed to muddle through it. Which means it's going to be this way for a while, especially if you're superfluous, or redundant, or you're creative but just not adding enough value. This also means now is the time for real sacrifice, not just symbolic sacrifice. If these sons-of-bitches, these primping, telegenic layabouts in Washington can't do something about health care, there will be hell to pay. I'm not thinking about Iran a lot.

It's rare that there's ever real news. Most of it is manufactured. That's because the Free Market Boys need to keep the effin screens lit twenty-four seven. So they train their cameras on people queuing up somewhere, or throwing bricks at a tank. Quist used to say, "Human nature is not news. It's human nature. Most crimes take place within the family. Most people will steal or cheat when someone else isn't looking. But you know what the miracle is? The miracle is that it happens so infrequently."

A murder next door is news. A murder in Tehran -- well, I'm not so sure. Even though people seem to agree that the world is a much smaller place than it used to be. Why? Because of the internet, or air travel, or television, or nuclear weapons? If you have no gas in your tank, a few miles can be a big deal.

Today is the first day in over a week that it's not raining upon waking. A miracle of some sort, but not a big one. Two hummingbirds beak deep in the fuchsia. Another miracle of sorts. You hear a piece of music -- maybe it's Abbey Lincoln singing
Avec le temps -- and it dawns on you that humans are capable of great love, and that the world offers its indescribable beauty to our senses, free of charge. Hummingbirds, petals on a wet black bough, thunder -- yes, even thunder can be beautiful. And then it's gone. Or so you think, right, poot?

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