The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


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cancer

returning again to a writing space, blank screen, words messaged across
2000 kilometers. an occasion of cancers; it is surrounding us, killing our
friends and relatives, killing people we have known, many of them young.
suddenly, there are triple narratives coming in, triple stories of diagno-
ses, radiations, internal organs, contusions, exhausted on the brink of
death's seduction. the human condition always reduces to the same old
tired situation of wisdom come too late; the elderly are wise but organic-
ally weakened, and it is the stuff of young muscle, hormones, and force
that dominates the world. give the lie to this among elderly generals,
heads of states, murderers all. but young and broken we are with the heat
of revolt and the slaughter of innocents, and old and catastrophic we
become, sliding into inchoate silence and isolation, comprehending the
world, with no one to listen, less reason for speech. now cancer takes
away whole universes on the edge of understanding; messiahs are elderly,
silenced with truth bubbling from their tongues. everything is confused as
wealth buys power at any age. i am still, even now, surprised that it
cannot buy health, that slaughter takes rich and poor alike, that diseases
of long suffering cannot be siphoned off by technologies of the upper
classes. the world is increasingly lesioned; those who have cancer are in
the vanguard of devastation. it is our failure as a species that we have
not the time to grow wise, but only the time to kill, only the time to
die.


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