—–The things people say about those who have died, right in their midst–but long gone now, in most cases, these things I overhear or am even told directly, as I bow my head in fear and disbelief, about people who were once so alive, even more alive than we (I might say), well what these things make me realize is how little intended, desired, or expected is any future dealing, with that now smudged out former intimate. Lord have mercy, on smudged out former intimates! That’s a way to put it! Often, I just lose my grip on sentence structure, when faced with forbidden lines of thought; though I never lose the thought. It haunts me, and the terrain–their faces hang in the air–and eventually it becomes the theme of a bright, timeless day. Though I think in less dire philosophical categories than when I was a younger student of life (so to speak), I think about specific people rather more and more. And have my ears perked, quite apparently, for mention of those who have, um, died. What I am saying here is, the things people say about those who have died make you realize they have no intention of ever seeing them again. Dealing with them anymore.
—–Sounds brutal! How outrageous! Speak for yourself, I hear someone say, as if offended by the very notion that the oft-traveled highway between life and death could be . . . broken, littered with boulders, gone off a cliff into an abyss–or non-existent.. What are you saying?– goes a chorus of those who wish to remain, I imagine, innocent of judgements. Free of conclusions about anyone dead, though they may have damned them personally, back in the day. Breaking down the barricades, all souls running amuck between earth and some unfenced in hereafter, would the many shattered marriages find their participating egos in a different mood, or friendships won by dint of great worldly connection, find themselves quite flammable, in another context? A host of questions there? Another context did I say! Flimsily put, but that is the idea, for if the dead went anywhere they went into, like, another context. But, what is to discuss, when you already put a blindfold on the questioning clown and spun him around to disorient him, then broke a pinata over his head? That was fun, and that was life. And now I hear people saying things that clearly indicate they have said “good riddance”, and crossed Aunt Sally, and the once redoutable Fred, off their shopping lists. Said permanent farewell, to each of those who are lately skipped out, or early to seek God’s reward, or so rude as to bring in a kind of spiritual depression, or, more colloquially, to have taken their ball and stick and gone home. However it gets roundly put.
—–And putting this debate, this issue, on the shelf for a minute, one immediately sees there is a buffer zone, which is like the daytime itself.  A major conflict, before I can get to my quarrelling with the dead, and my admonishing of the living, is resolving why I insist that reality itself is base-line comprehensive. Where did I get this assurance that reality, no matter what, cannot break down, like within my witness, like right in front of me? It isn’t to prevent it from becoming weird–in fact weirdness just stands out in humming light of day. I have said this before. Unless of course someone has tripped on an invisible wire, and is careening . . . and we certainly have words to apply there.  But what I am saying is that I am continually reminded, from some quarter that life is not weird, but basic. It is like sanity, there is a certain sanity like when the wind dies down, and a slow rush of understanding blankets the mind, that doesn’t even want to be put into words. Or you say to yourself, “My! I am well rested, not a thing can touch me today.” You are balanced.
—–Oh, how nice would that be! I hear the tortured souls complain; but these are never the dead, these are only my complaining friends. “Ah! My friends,” I say, “originally I chose them”.  Personally, out of a motley generation, for my starting line-up. These friends who frequently, in fact whenever they get the chance, proclaim their worldly achievements, hopes, and worries, and in the next breath say something that lets me know how they feel about someone we jointly knew who has died. To whit, they are crossed off, because no one I have ever met is headed that way, really.
—–The ones who are there, I can never get them back, not even in the conversation. And not just because no one else wants to hear mention of them. I am also befuddled, choked up, and irresolute. And yet they circle around like hawks in my mind and keep trying various flight patterns, and land on lintels and across the courtyard–apparently seeking entry, but then they look the other way, like Poe’s forlorn bird in his historical poem, The Raven. Looking to explore another region entirely. By contrast, this sense that life occurs in an atmosphere of great normalcy, like at room temperature, this sense of the span of daylight hours increasing slightly every day now in late February, the crown or halo that is worn by everyone alive–how much is this actually pulling me away from even the psychological exploration of those people who have died. And we all know some of them, I said . . . in my lecture before the assembly of most reverential listeners; and also in kitchens, head bowed. When I spoke of this, then I made a great transition, to relieve the pressure, right before lunch. I asked, does this great normalcy touch down in history, hover and touch down, animating each period in history. Each generation?
—–Is this insulating daytime, this health and perspective, a shield against anything drastic, like precisely what befalls, has befallen, others when they die? Have died! Twisted and turned against the light; snuck quietly off into a corner and curled up. Hit by a meteor. And yet I remain unmoved. What! Something in me is unmoved by the death of family and friends. And this is not a difficult confession, but a kind of dry statement of fact. It doesn’t mean I can’t shake heaven and earth with all kinds of secondary considerations, or theorizing. Theorizing to no avail, there is nothing like it for the development of general intelligence. One makes headway in other areas, with analogies! That is true, so thinking is not useless . . . . What I just admit though is that that hammering, dull death knell, no matter how many it kills, doesn’t get louder, doesn’t touch base, in baseline reassuring comfort-zone reality. Now what is for lunch?
—–These themes have shadowed us from the beginning, and now they are nearly calcified, perhaps. Who can take the skin off the carcass? What a thing to say? Strike that last sentence, please! It’s like I think less and less, about about what is more and more apparent. Widening the absurdity gap, sure–but still it does not break the daylight. Ah, when I was younger I was more deeply troubled, and yet more carefree; and there again, a balance! The audience sees it, they do not squirm for these are easy truths. Perennial. The youthful thinker is devious, and yet lacking in what we might call . . . experience. And the dead, they are finished here, but have I decided which of them I will look up if I find myself in telephoning range (so to speak)?. Will I see any of them again, or is it only now I can see them, their hunched backs, their empty eyes? Strike that! These avenues of speculation go literally out of bounds, and it’s a baseline morality that soaks up all unresolved matters between the living and the dead, the dead who the longer they are dead seem never to have been here, really. Now wait just a minute with that assertion, quoth the raven.
—–New paragraph. I said one cannot proceed in life without in fact abandoning those who have died to such an obvious extent that it is futile to maintain them, to say you talk to them, consult them, follow their example, revere, emulate. Multiply it! The daylight is strong, the daytime is irrevocable, and when it is cloudy  the clouds seep into every corner. Reality is one hundred percent a closed system. It is a set of mirrors, in which the crystalline light can bounce, and travel. But not, this light, escape to unseeable borders. It always comes back. There is no one staring from behind the glass. This can only make you happy, and happier still.  File that in triplicate.

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