Reading The Blue Clerk, 141

“Verso 39”

Today, there might be a term for it. I do not keep up with the proliferation of psychodiagnoses. A teacher, perhaps my mother’s age, which means, a teacher who had lived through the most public atrocities of colonialism, no, not lived, survived. Between lived and survived. She said the world was cruel. And because the world was cruel, she needed to beat the softness out of us.

We were 9. Some of us 10.

(that any softness survived surprises me)

My tenderest self, the author says, my tenderest self was the self that felt everything newly, all experience freshly.

Children pick at scabs. Not only children. But mostly children. Believe that discarding pieces of skin is pleasurable. And know, with a knowledge that precedes everything, that their bodies renew and grow and morph into other forms. Some scars remain. Most do not.

(Memory: made of psychic scars. Is that the philosopher? I once believed this. Now, I am learning to sit with the softness and beauty of then.)

Today everything has the sediment of experience, the cumulus of event tinges the new experience, or summarizes it before it is felt, or alters it before it is observed.

To remain open to the new. Not to call the new simply the difference of space:time. Is there a now unshadowed by the cumulus, the gap where light spills and delight awaits. (Yes. Of course. Though the gaps seem smaller and fewer and you might have to wait longer and more intensely than you imagine to experience that slice of something else, not this.)

There, on the train, I meet my early self, my young and tender self.

Friends and I have been marveling at what we loved. Not simply survived. At choices that, from here:now, feel much too reckless. We thank our ancestors and angels and the kindness of indifference that blessed our recklessness with joy and pleasure.

To extend that. To extend that. To extend that.

A benediction.

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