September Correspondence

My Dear Criten,

I seem to have misplaced the file and so I have no idea what correspondency we’re on. Enough for now, I guess.

At one point it became the thing to go on about wasting light. Don’ leave it on–it was for a while, and then afterward–don’t keep turning the lights on and off, you’ll wear them out quicker. A sort of harassment with an arbitrary sense of how electrical matters worked. I once had someone tell me running water was a waste. I was able to rejoin that if I payed for it I didn’t see the problem. I still don’t. Today we have energy saver lights, which are really light-savers. They give the illusion of the same light without the same effect, no doubt something modern ophthalmology is cunningly behind.

I threw the dice and they indicated I should stay indoors, so I went out into the neighborhood to see the people squatting on those moral margins of the universe: our sidewalks. The sky was fine, pale blue behind the clouds which had the sun and so were golden. Some were orange and that light was on the lawns in which even an upright tire swells, shining pregnant with ineffable transcendence.

The bakeries were aglow, the smell of burning coals was in the air, the food was warming variously. The Hallowe’en surprise a horse had left fertilized the breeze if not the sterile pavement. Behind the plate glass windows of a pawn shop a little kid was playing cheerfully on a counter filled with VCRs.

I knew a family once that could only laugh at jokes that were cliches. If it wasn’t a more-or-less commercially prepackaged gag they found it hard to get. Not that they were in my experience unusual. I, for that matter, have often fallen into the habit of talking in another person’s cliches as long as I did not find them aesthetically repulsive. I find the noun use of the word “quote” repulsive, as I do the metaphorical use of the noun “grid” with its clench-minded sound. One day this old world will really go to the dogs and I shall know. That will be the day the word “squid” is used to describe anything other than the disgusting creature composed almost entirely of tentacles.

The litter in the street was rattled in the passing of a bus. A shadow pawed the garbage, and from a distant age an irritating echo erroneously described teacups as whizzing down a chain of hands. When I heard that I said: it is not right.

Are you ready for the end? Lucky is. He doesn’t even take walks nowadays, just sits on the windowsill watching cynically and waiting for the rain.

Love, etc.,


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