Baudelairean Satanism.There, I said it.[#nevermind]
Okay, so I just don’t understand why it is I cannot walk into a room and simply be allowed to do whatever it is I am doing. Look at me, I can’t even remember what I was there, for, because suddenly I needed to stop whatever I was doing and think about what books I might want for Christmas, as if the question could not wait another second, or, even more, mattered a whit, because we both know those aren’t the books people buy me. And now, what was that, did I just walk into a room and randomly be asked to peruse and approve a household change of some consequence? Really?Some days, all I want is breakfast. Or a cup of coffee. Or to find that book that was on the foyer table, like, oh, I don’t know, when between yesterday afternoon and right now did it actually disappear? And why do I always find them, in weird places, months later? Of course, maybe it wouldn’t take months if I was allowed to think about why I walked into the damn room in the first place. You know, like: Oh, yeah, that book I’m looking for; it’s not here, so I’d better keep looking. No, of course not. And, just for the record, if the question eventually becomes what the book is doing hidden away in the linen closet behind the broken DVD player we’ve never thrown out, no, we are not changing the subject to why there’s an old, broken DVD player in the linen closet.Oh, right. Whatever. It’s just, most days it’s true, the functional lesson resolves that the fundamental user error is in the fact of bothering to try, in the first place.When it gets to the point of pacing back and forth because the mere thought of what happens after leaving the room is so distracting as to forget why I would leave the room in the first place, there is a problem. Solutions exceeding my power are not mine to implement.
It’s never really that people don’t understand; we always say it as if they are somehow confused, when they are not. Like this:
• Why do people fail to understand that if someone should expect to be criticized every time they walk into the room, to the point that one can actually watch people look around for something to complain about, then no, that person will not want to be in the room with you.
It is not that everyday belligerence doesn’t understand; these people do. It is not that they are somehow confused about why the constant hostility distresses anyone; they aren’t.
If there is any one thing you ask people to not do, they will do it.
There is a certain futility in announcing anything, especially when there is nothing to announce. Still, two poems in two days and an actual effort to retain them feels like starting something. Here’s a joke, though, that isn’t actually a joke: National Poetry Month, having just ended, managed to remind of something apparently forgotten.
At some point in my nearly forty-five years I forgot that I am a poet.
No, really, I have no idea how this happened.
Except I probably do.
I don’t know, I should probably be embarrassed; but, y’know, whatever.
So, there is this thing people do, sometimes, and perhaps it is perfectly human behavior, except when it is so clearly statistically deviantα. Or maybe it’s just something about perception. Sometimes we exist in an environment where simple things are impossible: I am writing something; my coffee cup is empty; if you wish to take odds, no, I cannot manage to go refill my coffee cup without someone demanding that I stop what I am doing and undertake another task. And perhaps that summary sounds a bit pointed, but when you can watch someone get up and start searching the room for something to give you, they make some sort of point: Here is something that looks like it has a deadline in about four weeks; you need to stop what you are doing and do this thing right now.
And if you ask about this phenomenon, the one thing people don’t do is explain why they can’t leave you to what you’re doing; indeed, very often they come right out and—what, confess? admit? acknowledge? chide?—say the one has nothing to do with the other.
α There is, of course, a recursive dive into the question acknowledging that statistical deviance, real or perceived, is itself perfectly human; this is, to the one, a seemingly legitimate existential consideration, and, to the other, a nihilistic rabbit hole.
Ambition is obligation.
No, really, this is hardly any manner of genius, but at the same time it seems worth noting explicitly. Call it some sort of multiphasic something or other. Still, as so much happens, perhaps I ought to write it down, yet the act is laborious and stylistic precisely, at least in part, because of ambition; and the most direct address of labor and futility only amounts to greater, or, at least, other and more complex, obligation according to reframed ambition.
And say what we will about desire and suffering, but ambition, in function, is obligation.
Frameworks are as frameworks will; that life is more than mere utility of accident is an article of faith. Our futility is our own choice to attend the word.
Anatomical Futility is the name of my . . . ¿sixteenth? . . . yeah, something like that . . . next punk band.
A reflection on anatomical impossibility:
“I gave it the ol’ college try—well, you know, everything short of binging to blackout so someone else could cram it in for me—but, no, it ain’t happening.”
There are days when it feels deliberate. Just sayin’.
Does it count as Skitt’s Law if, despite being unplanned, it still manages to make the point, anyway?
I would, however, note that once upon a time I actually lost an internet argument about how language evolves. There is a word we use, from the Italian; most Americans get it from “mob” movies. In a world in which I am supposed to know, off the top of my head, that the word is now officially spelled “koppish”, because, y’know, language evolves, I have also learned to remember that some evolution leads the way of the dodo.
When you hear someone justify poor presentation with something about how language evolves, it does in fact behoove us to consider whether the “evolution” in question improves or denigrates communication.
There is an argument that says EoS only makes good people feel bad about their own writing, but there is also a way in which that argument relies on some contradictory notion about communication. There are a lot of good people who communicate poorly; somewhere between, say, failing to speak in a way that fails to frighten a stupid, frightened person with a gun and, oh, I don’t know, being able to write a sentence without netspeak shorthand, exists a viable question by which communicative skills really are a proper consideration for self-conscious good people.
It’s just hard to figure though, to what degree the Elements bring jittery self-awareness to people who don’t know what the book is, or have never tried to use it.
Did you see what I did, there?
The gaffe in the sentence about the stupid person with a gun really is a mistake of revising something or another in the moment as that jalope hit the page.
“Why ‘The Elements of Style” is out of style”. Public Radio International. 8 February 2018.