The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


of falling

tonight azure and i watched the leonids. i don't sleep anyway; i woke her
and we went out, lay back on the deckchairs by the pool and stared up
between the palmtrees. huge clouds floated by from the east then north.
you could see around them. we saw meteors. we were alone. they had been
moving through space since the early solar system. we witnessed hundreds
burning up in high atmosphere, some leaving bright and glowing clouds. we
watched. we cowered. i said, i think you're the only reason i'm alive. i
was thinking of azure, of my father, my daughter. i didn't feel there were
others. i felt i have done enough. i felt this world is emptying out.

for azure, i should have remained silent. these things can't be discussed,
they're present, they breathe down our necks, caress our face. they're
silent. and then there's judgment.

of which, nothing. there's no judgment for good or evil, there are fits
within laws made by humans scarcely in agreement, humans who can barely
think for themselves, who live shuttling between fear and desire. what
doesn't fit loses; what fits, goes quiet.

after death, nothing. all about the judgment is senseless. draw that
senseless down to you. bring it to life in the world. it remains the same
and just that, without meaning except they will take you away for what
they don't want or don't like. there is little more to go on, derrida
notwithstanding. jurisprudence works out the fine points, drags ethics
along, which is where ethics belongs. but not in this world; ethics is not
of this world, not of us. the tether always breaks. we built ourselves
against and within that. life turns into an impossibility by virtue of
culture drawn out along legalisms and the rapture of implicit violence. be
on the side of the winner. be a scapegoat. walk silent.

the meteors are drawn nowhere; they have a indescribable ontology. i think
of all those billions-of-years-old topographies on the way to annihila-
tion. it is never possible to recover lost terrain, only the memory of a
tiny shooting star moving south from here, almost overhead, a punctum i
will retain and retain.

i have seen meteors. i have seen meteors leaving clouds glowing in the sky
for minutes afterwards. i have seen fireballs and portents. i have seen
omens and comets, rare atmospheric phenomena, bead lightning and aurora.
azure, i said, almost crying, i wanted to hold that back, you're the only
reason i'm alive. the shifting of pillars of the world was terrifying;
nothing happened; no judgment was called. i did it myself, turned against
me; i made sure i lost. the meteors continued; they are falling now.


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