On Endings

At the end of “The Emerald Light,” the boy points the man out of the woods. He gets his car unstuck and drives back to the main road. He can turn left or right. We’re left with the starkness of the decision. Antrim doesn’t even tell us which it is, only that the man “checked both directions, and went back the way he’d come.” He might have chosen differently, but doesn’t. There’s no lesson, but there is a sensation of life.

- from Donald Antrim and the Art of Anxiety, by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Beyond vision

I like that phrase from Koestenbaum: "thick with thought". Reminds me of another metaphor where slowness becomes syrupy, as if applied to heavy-lidded eyes.

I spread Koestenbaum's poetry (Best-selling Jewish Porn Films) on my face, the bus moving south towards home, while I reclined in my chair. The bus was half empty. In a rare feat the busboy turned off the lights when we hit the expressway, drugging all passengers to sleep.

I woke up with fields rolling in the dark from the bus window, and it rolled and unfolded until it made sense.

The sleep I had was beyond words. It was full. I wanted to cage it in a poem. It was bliss. The sleep, like a flower, bloomed and died. I woke up like a newborn baby, stupefied, as if someone has played tricks behind me.

And I walked the five-minute stretch towards home, thinking about a story set in the future. It starts with this:

"Rats as big as cats become our pets. They don't purr or bark at strangers. But they bore holes in the ground and eat the pests, and that, in the near future, is enough."