Tuesday, October 25, 2011

dealing with my dumbness

Once upon a time, in a physiology far, far away, there lived a fellow of my height and build (minus, say, ten, er . . . twenty pounds of flesh) with my blond hair (plus, say, fifty, er . . . seventy-five percent more volume) who was considered a man of astute perception, now and then erudite, always inquisitive, and, more often than not, brimming with strong, at-least-partially-justified opinions.

His exploits were many. Armed to the hilt with gleaming rhetoric and razoresque wit, he set about vanquishing armies of brute Ignoramuses, felling along the way fey beasts of sundry ilks--It of the Daft, It of the Dunce, It of the Downright Dippy.

All was well (discounting, of course, the alienation of friends and family) until one day, a day of doom, he was greeted by the grinning dragon--that coiled wyrm of distant legend--Oligodendroglioma. For years they fought, meeting in the wilds or along well-traveled paths. At first, they were evenly matched. He met his foe with aplomb and jocularity. But time wore on, as did his nerve, his will, and his strength.

At last, the Recondite Knight was forced to lay his weapons down. Very little has been heard of him since. Legend has spotted him napping copiously and staring, nonplussed, into the depths of space and time.


Moral: I'm dumb anymore. And one of the greatest feats of my life to date has been coming to terms with my chronically benighted state of mind. Every day and all around, issues of great importance mock my decreasing ability to comprehend them, much less expound upon or rail against them.

The seeming and/ or real, literal and/ or emotional disenfranchisement of Mexicans; Occupation of paved roads against amorphous fiends; the Ontology of Me and the Otherhood of You. It's like . . .you know . . . er . . . yeah . . . what do you call it? . . . uh, is that a rabbit over there?

But I am coming to terms. Slowly, unsurely, I'm relocating myself in the scheme of things. Where answers elude me, beauty finds me. Where gravity drops me, I rise on an invisible gust, transported to a realm of shrugged shoulders and wide, wondering eyes. Sometimes it's pleasant here. Sometimes excruciatingly lonely. The loveliness and the horror vacillate. But I belong here. Whether once I was meant to know, to understand, to argue, is irrelevant now. Now I am meant to guess, to ponder, to behold.

In short, the poet has a place and mine is in nature. The heart is a short migration from the mind. The knight trades his tower for a hermitage, grows vegetables and talks sensibly with invading bunny-rabbits.

Happily? Leave that to the utilitarians. Ever-after? Leave that to the metaphysicians.

The end? Leave that to me.


  1. Dumb, no...never. As I find myself squinting ever more at the fine print (or hell, at regular-sized words), and my 9 year-old has to complete my vocalized sentences...I'm fine with it. You, I, and many of our comrades from those days of the Recondite Knight's splendor are now settling into current times...some of the equable esoteric essences not so essential anymore. In my mind are tales of twentysomethings regaling each other repeatedly with matters of utmost importance. The tales change, what is retained changes; but our coolness is necessarily infinite. So dumb, you say? NEVER!

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Billie. And, yes, our coolness shall never fail.

  3. Additionally, Billie, allow me to sincerely thank you for not being among the alienated. No matter how cruddy, how dissipated, or utterly obnoxious I was, you loved me all the while. Thanks for that. You are but few.

  4. A ponderance for pondering......is it better to have forgotten more than most will ever know or to have never known at all?

  5. Larry, while I demur from the implication that I belong to the former category (I'd be a little more comfortable substituting "many" for "most", I think this is a fascinating question. Knee jerk response: Of course it is better to known and lost than never to have known at all. Tempered response: The two cases seem to have, like most (well . . . many) things, a proportionate set of pros and cons.