Sunday, April 15, 2007

A place to think.

Tiger got to hunt,

Why’s it so easy to get lost?
I’m not sure, myself. All I know is that they’re somewhat of a rarity -- those times when we understand the world. More often than not, we wake up in the morning, feel the air against the soles of our feet, and stretch ourselves into the shape of a beginning. “As freeform as an amoeba.”

Something, someone alive. But not something, someone that understands. What we are going to be, what places we are going to see, what lives we have to live, what mornings we have before us, stretching their legs and yawning with the scorch of the sun. We’re here, that much is known.

But the rest of it?
Yeah, not so much.

Bird got to fly;

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is dead. You know that by now.
You’ve probably seen the declarations in the newspapel, you’ve probably read at least one of the sudden rush of interweb eulogies; you’ve probably seen a somber sort of bookstore display, one lining up the more popular of his novels, all underneath the quiet heading, “So it goes.”

So. So. A man is dead.
What does that mean to the world?

Really, I mean. Really.
Not much. Not much at all. The author of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater had not written a truly novel novel for many a year, the voice that men/women/children alike held dear growing cold and distant, as if it pulled back into the fog. He wasn’t the same. Not really.
Another man is dead. He, just, died.

And for whatever reason, at least to this solitary fool: it’s gotten a bit harder to breathe.

Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"

It was merely another boy who went looking through that bookcase, his head beaded with sweat from the stagnant heat of a summer evening. He didn’t know why he was looking through that dusty collection of red-spined words; it might have been boredom, it might have been simple curiosity. It might have been something else. But whatever the reason, he, just, looked. He found something.

Two somethings, actually.
A small, beaten down copy of a rather thin book. Its cover splattered with stray drops of green paint from a decade previous, its back cover lost somewhere to the river of time, its edges turned jaundiced by sheer age. Yes, the book was beaten down. But it was far from defeated.

Far, far from it.
It was Slaughterhouse-Five.

It rested there alongside a hardcover edition of Breakfast of Champions, the orange cover emblazoned with a signature, one rimmed with gold, sunken down into the cardboard like a treasure. One that he could easily trace with his fingertips.

The boy didn’t think much of this, not that day, not that week. He wanted something to read, and his thin fingers had led him to that bookcase, to those books. He was going to read them. That was all, right then. But that, that moment -- it was the sort of moment that gives one form. “Goodbye, Blue Monday!”

And it was. It really was.
It really gave me a world.
“Goodbye, Blue Monday!”

Tiger got to sleep,

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died.
The night that the news made itself known, I was sitting at work, watching some kind of Dread Rapscallion do something pronounced in a place that I’ve spent my time, back with someone who has now gone on by. It was pleasant night, that night.
Cool air, quiet rooms.

A nice night to mull things over.
Which was what I had wanted to do; because even on the best days, even on pleasant nights, it’s easy to find oneself lost. I’m certain you know what I mean, my compatriots through the screens. Lost in the constant tumble of everything going everywhichaway, as things just seem to do. It, just, happens. Always.

So on nights like those, what do you do? You sit back, you lean back, you bend back. You crack your back. You crack your fingers. You snap. You think too much.
“Busy, busy, busy.”

And sometimes, sometimes, sometimes…you come across a bit of news that you hadn’t been expecting. Even though it had been a long time coming, even though it wasn’t really that much of a surprise. Even though the news was about a man who had long been dormant, in all the ways that really mattered. All that considered, you -- I -- hadn’t been expecting it.

You snap.

Bird got to land;

I drove home that night, my mind locked on an endless series of other things.

I sped.

I got pulled over, my eyes tearing up a bit as the spotlights in the rearview assaulted my senses, forcing themselves upon me, pushing themselves into focus. The officer in question had know idea who Kurt Vonnegut was, and clearly did not care that he had died. It hurt.

When I explained that little happening to someone far across the US of A, she was flabbergasted that I had been so affected by this. That the death of a man who I had never known, who hadn’t brought himself to the attention of the world in such great while, had had driven itself down deep enough into my neurons to actually alter the course of my life. And my wallet. She scoffed at me, that she did.

And truth be told, she was right for doing so.
“I was a victim of a series of accidents, as are we all.”

Man got to tell himself he understand.

What’s to understand?
A man, a brilliant man, has died. He, just, died. Way of the world. Right?

Right. No foma to confuse us, to make things pleasant by way of liars that have the balls to flat-out say that they’re lying. I can respect that, I really can. But in this moment, the kind of moment where it’s easy to stray from the head’s own path, I have to think clear to keep myself from getting lost. Again.

He was a kind of hero, to me. A man of words, of gentle mirth mixed with sublimely bitter cackles. The kind of man I can respect, even if I don’t always agree with whatever he was trying to say.
I wish to weep, for this passing.

I wonder if I can.
Or, more importantly: if I even should.
As always, “So it goes.”

And so on.


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