Friday, September 14, 2018

We Are Like Air: Day by Day as the last days of summer meld into fall

The countdown was on.  48 hours to go. 24 hours before school started.
Every year I teach a fear of death consumes me before the first days of class.
Worries about quizzes and summer homework from the kids.
One more September Primary here.
Eighteen later with Caroline
Go Cynthia and Jumaane!
Always the best to get a drink with mon amor after one more election day trip to the polls. Eighteen septembers later, were still hoping.
But there were a few days to go before the new year.
Still time to walk and read the signs on the walls.
Riding my bike, I see a doll on the Manhattan bridge,
A clue installed by someone.
Words and art everywhere, trying to decipher the calligraphy.
Looking out over the Manhattan Bridge on the way,
Out of holy Brooklyn to book group.
To explore the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

And the trials of amnesia and friendship that troubled the author:

“These days I have to ask myself: What made me angrier?  That Oscar, the fat loser, quite or that Oscar, the fat loser, defied me?  And I wonder: What hurt him more?   That I was never really his friend or that I pretended to be?” (181)

After Oscar’s suicide attempt, our narrator wonders about the ethical imperatives of friendship.

“I guess if I had been real pal I would have visited him in Paterson like every week, but I didn’t.” (p. 192).

We all wonder what were supposed to do.  Friends meandering to and from, greeting each other as we make our way in and out of town, returning to more questions about what we are doing…
On our way to Judson, hoping for faith.

We all sang

Day by day (solo voice)
Day by day
Oh Dear Lord
Three things I pray
To see thee more clearly
Love thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly
Day by day

Hoping for Mueller and democracy and a future for all of us.
Day by day.
And the kids make their way to school with dogtags declaring:
Fuck you punks not dead
School buses arrive.
She looks like the girl in Taxi Driver.
She’s living her life.
The little one still has a little time for dad, enough for a game.
I’m listening to Pippen and Godspell.
They to give me courage.
The line between activism and theater is a thin one
Staging performances in freedom and all that jazz, sadness and joy.
The yogi asks us to just be here now, forgetting the future of the past for a second.

Maybe then we really are like air?

  Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

No comments:

Post a Comment