So, I finally get around to reading Your Cowboy Days Are Over
and Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose
tonight. I'd been avoiding them because someone had described them as too traumatizing for words, and I'm not usually one for heartbreakers, but in the end I'm thinking something along the lines of why not
or perhaps need to do this
and go ahead, open the window, scroll down. Read. I am reminded of something Annie Dillard once wrote: You can't picture it, can you? Neither can I. Oh, the desk is yellow, the oak table round, the ferns alive, the mirror cold, and I never have cared. I read. In the Middle Ages, I read, "the thing of a thing which a man framed for himself was always more real to him than the actual thing itself."
I read the words, but I do not see what the writer dreamed of seeing, I do not feel what the writer dreamed of feeling. In this sense the dull has for me always hurt more than the sharp, when I am beat down by the weight of words. No catharsis of blood. I read Cowboy Days
and retain nothing; I read Another Word
and feel brushes of feeling, like words whispered so that nothing may be heard but the movement of air.
These days everything I read seems to be motorized, sterilized, I look at the human wreckage projected up at the screen and do not look away. My blood-and-bones teacher, the paramedic EMT instructor, he once told me that the people who faint during his gory slideshows were the ones who make a living from these things. Do they feel more or perhaps, less? Is the dread-sickness they feel the dread of these things happening to them, their own dermis rent & subcutaneous fat splattered? Do they do these things to forstay this dread, to delight in the foreigness of it? These dead and dying - these things do not resemble us. Meat does not drive our own mortality any deeper; the dead never look like they do in the movies, and nothing is crueler than the morgue camera. In the photographs he shows, skin is yellow, body hair like grit, and every limb ends in a bouquet of black gobbets. Ikibana of gore. My blood-and-bones teacher, my paramedic EMT instructor, he tells us stories of faces blown off by shotguns and I think, will I ever find anything beautiful again?