Monday, December 13, 2010

Listen to Your Mark

As many of you who read this blog, or who are in the same circle of friends that I find myself in, may know, last week Ariel Panero died.  I did not know him terribly well, but if you want to find out more about him and the thoughts of those who did know him well, then you can certainly read about his unfortunately brief life here, here, and here.  I was thinking about posting a sort of ruminating post about death and how we perceive it in those we know closely and those we know from afar, but that seems a bit too soon to delve into, as I fear slightly that my basic, inarticulate nature would accidentally offend someone.

So, instead, I am going to post something that Mark Jack wrote up.  Since he knew Ariel better than I did, and had a harder week last week than I did, this was pushed from Friday to today (also because of some of my internet problems).  At Mr. Mark Jack's request, I have not included any pictures.  At my own discretion, I have decided not to edit or proof this post to smooth any rough edges as sometimes I believe in the raw draft doing a situation justice.

Without further ado, here is Mr. Mark Jack:


December 10, 2010


Mark Jack



He hears something playing on someone else’s radio, in another part of the building. The music is wretchedly sad: now he can (barely) here it, now it fades into the wall. He turns on his own radio. There it is, on his own radio, the same music. The sound fills the room. 

Donald Barthelme “Robert Kennedy Saved from Drowning”


It’s not that I have a problem with any situation, but I find myself saying as much far too often. I mean, the problem is in what way different than the situation? Or, are they not the same but for differently angled perspectives? I’ve never wanted to have something with a situation, which is to suggest, sharing ownership of an object with a situation—mutual responsibility for a subject, I’ve wanted even less. You see, I’ve never thought of myself as irresponsible, exactly, but I have always appreciated that to mean that I am not so unavoidably saddled with responsibility. I find myself incapable of shirking a duty that I do not have. Perhaps I am unique. I have my doubts. My responsibilities are largely avoidable. For instance:

There are angry women in cafes. They are almost sociopathic in their lack of empathy, but are not predominantly psychologically so marked. This is why:

Their righteousness is great. You have betrayed them instantaneously, and such injustice will not come to pass unhindered. Oh! Dignified distemper! These, though, are people made of the glass that never cuts you. Smash the glass at the bus stop. All harmless cubes you’ll find, scattered on the ground. The danger and expense lie in the repercussions, but they are tangible and forgettable.

Not so the pint glass slipped, stone-faced, off the bar where you sit at the turn, seeing everyone but talking to no one, your angle of sit so situated as to relieve you of the need to even meet their eyes. This glass shatters in such a way that you find the bright blood on the inside crease of your index finger’s first knuckle before the little slivers come to rest on the dark floor.  Strange, you almost think, as you alternate your eye’s focus from finger to floor, but what’s the use in such thinking. At these moments there is a corner where an unseen shard spins, wobbles, and vibrates with furious energy, and you will yourself not to taste the blood as it seems there must be glass in your veins, or rather, where did the sorrow come from, or rather, I do not understand.

Needless to say, I am not a responsible man. I have not been given a chance.

But Goddamnit! I do have a problem with this situation!

We must reach for catharsis, you say, but I’m feeling cast iron. Such vigorous cleansing doesn’t suit me.

Emotion is not to be underrated in these times, maybe, but…

I’m trying desperately not to say something because I don’t understand implications, but I feel forced into either dullness or something theatrical. This situation is problematic.

“But it is wrong to speak of “situations,” implying sets of circumstances leading to some resolution, some escape of tension,”

I am filled with love for you, Ariel, that much I know.

Rest in Peace.

--Mark

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