While I fight fear, and deny fear, and sit on it with all my weight to keep it pinned down, Bernie speaks of it regularly, even repetitively, sometimes getting submerged in it, like a swimmer through a storm, but swimming, always swimming, and gaining strength as she goes.
Besides the obvious arguments against censorship in its most dictatorial form, self-censorship, this impulse to erase cruel words that have been used on us abusively feels like a strange step backwards into a sanitized discourse for a culture that pretends brutal people, and the words they use, don’t exist.
I pop in CD number 2. The speaker says something about are you doing what you want in your life, or are you believing in yourself, or something along those lines, and I may as well have been struck by lightning, because the answer, I realize, in no uncertain terms is no, I’m not.
What is in fact singular about the Singularity is that we don’t know what it is. This leaves those of us who vibrate with this future, like strings plucked across spacetime, humming to an uncertain frequency.
Aged 100, Dessie had outlived three bouts with cancer. She actually rehabbed her way out of a rehab center that is the end of the road for most elderly people who get sent there. She’d walked out of more ICUs, more overnight hospital stays than most will ever enter.
My grandfather, the Jewish educator Shlomo Bardin, born in Zitomer, Ukraine, left behind this kind of Judaism during the Russian Revolution to help fashion a more modern, moderate form. In this sense, Shlomo traveled not just from the Ukraine to Palestine, but from the medieval to the contemporary. I have left behind my grandfather’s Judaism by a similar order of magnitude again, and am considered by some to be as wayward as Shlomo may have appeared to his ancestry
Racism offers a symbolic form of relief from the devaluation of mortality through the heightened devaluing of the other. In this sense, the more one can diminish someone separate from you, the less one’s own deprivation is immediately evident. As long as they are facing certain death, nobody is rich enough or powerful enough to be above the need to put someone else down. In the end, everyone is reduced to nothing by death, but along the way, some can feel superior if they can identify another to humiliate
We each at times have struggled with the sheer novelty of our position. As if we couldn’t possibly be okay without having an index of comparable couples we could flip through in our minds as precedent to back us up. Bernie and I might as well be astronauts rambling on some moon somewhere—if anyone else is out here with us, we don’t know about it. But what does anyone really know about intimacy anyway?
I’m at a challenging place in my manhood. I’m developed enough to know that sports don’t really matter, at all. In a world threatened by global warming and profound political corruption, while being transformed by quantum technological advancement, the Super Bowl, for example, is so obviously irrelevant that even having an opinion about who wins is basically absurd.
None of us, of course, saw a future in basketball, so we lacked motivation beyond the write-up in the campus weekly that few cared about, the incidental comradery, and the fulfillment of physical exhaustion, which this coach was all too willing to deliver.
You don’t think such a place exists until you get there, where the whole of the Internet, that repository of all that is true and untrue about the human form, has nothing to add. But where the information superhighway ends, the wild, unpaved places of the body begin.
Published in Rock and Sling | January 2016
One benefit of becoming the family black sheep two decades ago was that I no longer had to attend family functions. Once the mandatory became voluntary, I almost never went to anything. Birthdays, Thanksgivings, bar mitzvahs, weddings sped past like mile markers on a freeway, as the momentum of my freedom grew.
The emergency room lobby is so large, amply furnished and empty as to seem unfinished and possibly useless, like some pre-grand opening resort where we’re going to be sold timeshares. I make it to the nurse’s station with my bag of vomit spittle and focus my faculties on getting them up to speed. But the nurses apparently have no interest in speed, responding instead with enforced calm, even disinterest.
A huge swelling appears around the surgical wound, big as an avocado. Dr. Flight, not encouragingly, says he has never seen one so large. He calls in another doctor to see it. That doctor murmurs non-committal clinical commentary, which I’ve learned translates roughly to What the fuck is that?
Published in: Eclectica | Feburary, 2014
I’d spent my adolescence and young manhood conjuring a person who could do without such communion. There seemed no choice. I made him so well, I partly killed myself, playing a double game, a writer’s game perhaps, of being myself but only on the inside—and I lost. What wasn’t expressed withered. Now that atrophy started to reverse.