Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thursday BBP (3/31)


when it happened
there was no fanfare
there was no victory march.
the winners and the losers,
such as they were,
left together
in a line of quiet,
crying people.

there was still anger there,
of course,
there was still outrage,
but all the fire, the heat and
light, was dampened by
the wool-blanket heaviness of grief
and the guilty relief that now
(they were ashamed to think it)
things could return to normal.
there was no need to fall on
their swords. one tragedy
did not deserve another.

the vigilant packed up their
tents, their broken signs,
their melted candles, and
left. as they made their way
to cars of myriad origin,
the ones who paid
closest attention could
almost swear they heard
the gentle patter of
feathered wings, fluttering.


i wrote a poem (several,
actually, but one comes
to mind in particular) in my
undergraduate years about the
suffocation of dissent
in my alma mater.
in recent days, it has come to
my attention that, just as i
remember it, Baptists seem to
love their traditions.

a man's opinion offends
the Family, and they give
him the Luka Brazi
treatment. poor schmuck.
("it's a message. it means that
personal conviction
sleeps with the fishes.")


i realized last night that I am
close to deciding never to see
the film "Sin City."
not because i fear the film will be
inferior (quite the opposite--I'm
sure it will be fantastic), but
because I don't think seeing it
will do me any good.

this kind of self-restraint is a recent
and puzzling phenomenon--
choosing to refrain from things, not
on the basis of their inherent moral value
(can art have moral value instilled at birth--
mixed in among the paints, staining the
celluloid, seeping out of printer's ink?),
but refraining in order to avoid things
that won't contribute to my life, that
won't make be a better person.

i have made similar decisions about fast food and
holiday candy, although, in those cases, my
convictions aren't quite as robust.

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