Monday, June 20, 2005

For Monday, Justify Your Existence

I keep trying to write the big "here's why Humanity is worth saving, little Heather" post just right and spewing my Riverside Shakespear and a zillion other sources all around the room, and I keep quitting because its not just right and I want it to be, because the defense of all humanity is Very Important. But of course, it ain't like there's a real audience here, so I'm giving up on Just Right, this is what I got right now. So it goes.

i say to you who are silent, -- "Do you see
Life? he is there and here,
or that,or this
or nothing or an old man 3 thirds
asleep,on his head
flowers,always crying
to nobody something about les
roses les bluets

EE Cummings

So that's Cummings on life. Poetry as defense of humanity is sticky, a little bit circular. We deserve to exist because we make sounds we ourselves think are pleasurable? So what?

But here's the thing. The old man that Cummings uses to stand in for life, the one with flowers on his head? That's Shakespear's Lear at the end of the play, mad and wandering, flowers in his hair. A lost king, rediscovering his humanity, a man made up by a playwright centuries ago who I can, in certain moments feel deeply wistful about. Mention Lear at certain times of the evening, and I'm likely to sigh, "Poor Lear."

So Cummings uses a sort of premordial hyperlink in his poem to reference another poem, and I link to both of them here and work them into yet something else. So together, humanity spins out of phonemes and pigments, out of ideas and out of pixels a whole other order, a set of intangible strings woven together to create a second reality running alongside and beneath the natural world. Nothing else in our knowledge does this. By doing this, we can create beauty that did not exist before.

This is the flip side of the Zombie bit I posted up last night. No one should believe that we, as people, are simply entitled to the spoils that our status as 21st century westerners deliver to us; at the same time, loathing humanity does not undo our crimes, they are (largely) in the past, the only positive direction is forward. We can create, we can share with others the possibility to create, we can be redeemed.

Go forth, and sin no more. Tomorrow, something about a video game or a damn TV show or something.

1 comment:

heather said...

working up to a response, I promise. just a long time coming. and it did come out just right, btw.