Saturday, October 31, 2015
Luxurious decay. Obvious name for a punk band. But I'm talking leaves. October. October 31, to be exact. Autumn. Fall. Emerald rust burnt sienna crimson gold amber honey tangerine flame cream verdant straw ad infinitum. Luxurious and ample and lush and abundantly wild colors, textures, shades, hues, intensity. All that. And guess what? It's all from one thing: death. Yet what a carnival! A riotous festival. Swirling rot. Achingly gorgeous life and death cavorting together, or lazily reclining side by side on the welcoming earth.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
You see the signs adorning many corners: an addendum, or gloss, on the larger sign on the same metal post sporting the imperative STOP. (This codicil strikes me as a suburban phenomenon, reflecting a hyperattentive concern for propriety and rectitude one associates with American exurbia.) That STOP surely is a verb, not a noun announcing the type of action required at the junction. STOP MEANS STOP presumably means drivers who are supposed to be stopping are merely pausing. Or not stopping long enough, or not at all. If we are going to parse propriety, let's go further. Perhaps the editorial sign commenting on STOP should instead say: 'Stop' means stop. Or "Stop" [not the single quotes you see in headings] means stop. But let's go further. STOP MEANS STOP actually risks sending the opposite of its presumably intended message. You would never post such a message unless the word "stop" were being routinely ignored. So, how does replicating the word, repeating it, strengthen its force? Does it not weaken the word "stop"? Does it mimic the situation of a parent remonstrating a child, perhaps loudly, as the child clearly knows the word carries no force if not enforced? As a codicil upon a codicil, let me say that I suspect some visitors who read the title of this post arrived here by serpentine paths. They may have twinned STOP MEANS STOP with NO MEANS NO as an expression of sexual consent, or rather its lack. So, how does that alter the arc of the conversation? Or does it? We can milk this; we can explore endless variations. Peace means peace. War means war. Love means love. Hate means hate. Go means go. Walk means walk. Buy means buy. Sit means sit. Listen means listen. Talk means talk. Stop this means stop this.
Monday, October 19, 2015
He was sitting on what might be termed a grassy knoll, not far from the arboretum. Sitting on a patch of grass between the curb and the sidewalk. A man with a dark beard, and glasses. Maybe in his forties. Or fifties. Or sixties. Who can tell anymore? Sitting, almost reclining. Not looking ill but possibly so. Not looking anxious; but possibly so; looking tired. Looking like someone with COPD who can only take so many steps. I was driving by. I was on the way to the bank, already late for an appointment scheduled after my stop at the bank. (Actually, my appointment was scheduled for 10, but I was late by virtue, or vice, of squeezing in this bank visit, a visit later deemed beneficial owing to the fact I paid with cash.) I gave a glancing thought to stopping, at least to ask if Man Down was okay. He wasn't writhing. He looked almost comfortable. (What do any of these ludicrous adjectives or perhaps a participle mean or imply? And who is to say?) Still, I fought back feelings of guilt. I even sternly lectured myself, in imaginary, half-comical fashion: "Sure, if it were a lovely damsel in distress you'd stop, wouldn't you?" Would I? What would I say or do? I drove to the bank and conducted my bit of business. I then drove up the hill, in the same vicinity where I had spotted Man Down. This time, however, he was sitting down, almost reclining, looking tired but not injured, on a grassy knoll on the golf course, meaning he had advanced, perhaps a quarter-mile at most. He had seemingly progressed in his journey (was it a purposeless stroll? or a challenging walk toward a destination?), leaving me with a half-ounce less guilt.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
An upside-down neon-orange-red traffic cone, in a hole, in a sidewalk. West Fayette Street near South Geddes Street, Syracuse, New York. Although the traffic cone cannot speak, it evokes questions:
- How did the traffic cone get there? Did a human or humans place it there after a human or humans fell or tripped at that spot? Did a human call another human at City Hall or at the DPW?
- How long will the traffic cone reside there?
- Where does this urban not-quite-infrastructure problem rank amidst the parade of priorities inexorably marching in place?
- Is the mayor aware of this? Is the Common Council?
- As with many problems in distressed cities in America, will this problem-concern-issue be ignored, becoming a "cone of uncertainty," or more aptly a cone of neglect, or cone of temporary potential caring, or cone of insouciance?
- Is this upside-down silent traffic cone a megaphone shouting into the void, its cries muffled by traffic, concrete rubble, and indifference?
I wrote this after strolling in the serene and evocative Fayette Park, in downtown Syracuse, with its touching memorials to fallen firefighters.
splurging fountain spray
firemen's statues, still silent
splurging fountain spray
firemen's statues, still silent
Friday, October 09, 2015
Thursday, October 08, 2015
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The projected paths of hurricanes are surely not the only examples of a "cone of uncertainty." We are born (and borne) through and into a cone of uncertainty. Our cone of uncertainty encompasses the all-direction maze of life, death, and all stations in between those two terminals. Uncertainty about meaning, lack of meaning, direction, no direction, beginning, middle, end -- it's all there, entwined by faith or fear into a conical conundrum, comedic or tragic -- take your pick.