Eschatology for Modern Living

Archive for January, 2011

1/1/11, 1:11 A.M.

Nothing should be done,

that should be done.

We all try to reinvent ourselves

today,

to upgrade:

Lose twenty pounds.

Control your anger.

Make new friends.

Read more books.

Travel to some new place.

Learn a new language.

Find a new job.

Spend more time with family.

Stop drinking.

As if any of these resolutions,

these pre-broken promises,

can better us.

No.

We are the same shitheaps

that we have always been:

gritting our teeth

behind these new smiles,

these new handshakes,

these new chores.

We always will be the same people

we cringe to look at in the mirror.

So why bother doing?

Why bother changing?

I say fuck all that.

I say don’t do.

I say be.

Be overweight.

Be angry

about those genes

given to you

by the asshole, God,

by fate, by whatever.

Be alone.

Be wasteful.

Plough the same rut.

Work the same job.

Say the same things.

Avoid the same unbearable people,

the same unbearable truth.

Be a drunk.

Be.

No one else

seems to mind you

too much

just as you are.

So don’t do.

Be.

To persist

not despite it all,

but to spite it all:

that is the trick.

Not to feel sad,

but to be sad,

and to feel happy

about it.

Greet the uncertain

future:

the lousy women, men,

the bad health,

the lost friends,

the miscarried children,

the rejection letters,

the days in jail,

the deaths,

the funerals,

the lies of those once respected,

the tyranny and oppression of the State,

the broken engagements,

the careers destroyed.

Greet this future without fear,

your hand ready to shake.

Greet it with

fire

in your throat,

lightning

in your fingers.

To live the right way

is to craft a sculpture

from sorrow,

to place your heart

in the kiln

and wait

patiently

while it burns.

Be confident, sure

that when you

pull it from the flames

it will be better

not because it will be

different,

but because it will be

the same

forever:

beautiful, hardened,

with all its scars preserved.

Changeless.

Silent.

Eternal.

How else will you remember

who you are?

Feel its contours,

craters,

its old war wounds:

like a relief map

of downtown Baghdad.

Yes.

Remember all that pain.

Then put your heart

back in its cage.

Yes.

Still there.

Still alive.

Nothing.

None of it.

Can kill you.

And though it won’t

make you stronger either,

at least you’ll have

this reminder:

You will always

have one choice:

to keep going,

to keep living,

the way

a dolphin chooses

to live

every

single

time

it takes a breath.

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