Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Vignettes

Initial Glances

The bookish librarian who stops in the quiet moments, hidden down an aisle, to read a snatch from a book that needs re-shelving.

The hale striding rambler whose deliberate steps can only be halted by the most striking flower, bobbing in the breeze beside the path, and whose lungs live for the crag-whipped zephyrs of buffeted bluffs.

Discerning More

The librarian does love literature as far as he can remember. But these brief moment with it are fogged by the petulance of his delinquency – and, little does he know it, his boss will never catch him. Moreover, these moments are too few and far between. The words barely register, existing only as symbols of escape from the drudgery of re-shelving. Whatever he actually reads it might as well say “I am misbehaving”. Plus, he hates his wife, – or has forgotten how to love her – has no children and spends Sundays locked alone in his study flipping through the thesaurus, occasionally shooting impatient glares at inanimate objects – ostensibly writing a novel.

The rambler does love walking. But the magnificence of the ever-sought flower beside the path is drowned in the sharp liquor of loss: his compulsion to stop, stoop and cup them in his big hands is glued to the memory of his lost daughter, whose tiny hand cherishes just such a fragile flower, lolling its weak-stemmed assent, in a photo that plagues his mind’s eye. And, though he barely knows it, the icy air is a purgative to rid his lungs of the tar that his estranged wife’s endless cigarettes left there. He walks to walk away from all this and yet he knows the flowers will recur along with the piercing memories, and no amount of ventilation can de-tar the mind.


Change is forever indebted to its point of departure, the changing thing indebted to what it is changing from. The poetry found in a glut of literary or ambulatory solitude is just that: poetry. Visiting someone else’s picturesque pain can feel redemptive but to actually be these fellows is no jolly poem. I shake my fist at the sky and hope for luck, and hope that I will understand what luck is and know it when I see it, and hope lastly that I will understand what it is I have written here.

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