Reading The Blue Clerk, 139

“Verso 38.2”

What travels with one, besides one, alongside one, shadowing one, preceding one. The poet has written that history is already sitting in the room. The poet writes that history moves in and out of rooms, through trains and planes, through pilgrimages and retreats. One is preceded by what one hopes not to anticipate.

In the deep, deep sleep of tyrannies, the long, long sleep of oppressions.

A friend likes to travel. As does another friend. And another one. They describe the pleasures of discovery, the banalities of easy pleasures, the relief of escaping this quotidian oppression for the fantasy of elsewhere. To lose oneself in the fantasy that what presses on you here does not press on others there. No, I’m being ungenerous. It is that a lack of fluency might make the press less visible, and in that moment, you can find the space to breathe a little. A little more. To remember how to breathe. To train  yourself, again, what it means to feel differently.

In the exercises, I would say, expand the lungs. Expand. Hold. Try to create capacity. To breathe again. Shall I say that at a moment when breath and breathing were turning into metaphors, I was holding implements that measured breathing, urging my mother to breathe, waiting for her call so her breathing could be aided. Shall I say what it means to help two parents to breathe. And that relief is shared. And never enough.

Look at our faces, we are ready to abandon everyone else for the violent domestic eases.

And there, where your money is taken, but you are not welcome. And there, where your money is welcome, but you are not. And there, where you have been told pilgrimage should be made, but you are not imagined as the pilgrim. And there, where you are still breaking down doors you had imagined might have a tiny gap through which you might sneak in.

(But the television is on. And the radio is playing. And the domestic is not a refuge. Only a place from which to witness and record the devastating present.)

2 thoughts on “Reading The Blue Clerk, 139

    1. Thanks for reading, John! I’m still learning what staying with a work over an extended period might do. Perhaps I’ll know once I’m done.

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