Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bona Fide Attractions

It’s probably a good idea to travel to
a bona fide attraction when you can –
Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon or the Yucatan –
and someday maybe you’ll do more of that –
but your internal universe is so unwieldy –
fat – appallingly insistent you attend to it –
that little else, no matter how amazing
you are told it is, can make you bend to it:
trends or movies, clothes or music
or the latest digital technology – the channeling

of sexual biology into the Internet – bemuse –
befuddle – don’t to quite the same degree
you see around you fuse you into passionate
engagement with the muddle of deciding
what to do with time. You’re not even fully
confident there’s such a thing as time: much
less that you should worry what to do with it.
You rub your windows like a child, in winter,
fogging up the glass with every breath.
Clarity is not the aim: something seethes

around you: makes you far more interested
in feeling than in figuring an outcome –
wrest a verse to make it open like a purse
so you can stuff it with whatever namelessness
emerges: the latest version of experience
for you is playing Bach and Mahler
with a crew of seventy musicians – acres
of violas, cellos, violins – a harp – and clarinets,
bassoons, and oboes – brass enough to make
the northern winds feel jealous of your

wide collective focus, of the human sense
that you have brought to sound: something
that was never sought is found here:
and you’re baffled by its motives and its cost –
you’ve no idea how any of it works, or even
if the battles and the losses and the wins
entailed, incurred, have anything to do
with all the wars you think you’ve fought.
Powerful, dim: gods are in the mist: a lonely
glide – distraction. Or a bona fide attraction.


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