Academic journal article TriQuarterly

The Logic of Opposites

Academic journal article TriQuarterly

The Logic of Opposites

Article excerpt

The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up as if orchards were dying high in space. Each leaf falls as if it were motioning, "No."

- Rilke, "Autumn"

Serbia is on my back and Jonestown was my failure. And Birmingham, Hiroshima, Belfast: I'm implicated in the world's disgraces. Every mood is in me, every feeling.

Chain reactions blow up laboratories, cities. When they take place in my head, they tip my balance. Like someone plunging from a height, I fill with terror, with "What did I do wrong?" with "Make this not be happening," with "Let me out of life's vicious double-crossing trick." I fall. I beg my bones, "Get ready not to break!" I want to play touch football in your yard again.

Let's see what links events and moods and why I'm always drawn into catastrophe scenarios. I miss happiness. I want this graveyard spiral over with, the future rolling, our clothes flying off again, no images of leg-bits and exposed bones.

You don't think up and down have much in common. You tell me one can only fall so far, can ascend to any height. You send fragile capsules full of delicate machinery into space, sure you'll catch them later. I'm thinking black holes, poisoned oceans, fallout from precision bombs. I want your labcoat, your van, your house, your crabapples, your Hefty bag of dead grass, dandelions, dog droppings. …

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