Tuesday, July 5, 2011

little shines

You know the features, but you just can't place the face. Somebody you knew or wanted to know. Someone you had forgotten or wanted to forget. The gift of variation, repeated riffs upon the same old theme. She was the one you always wanted, he was the one who wished you dead. A tilt of the head, a lilt of a voice, some story that sticks even now as some familiar stranger grows uncomfortable with your stare. We are all the same in our uniqueness, so special in so many tedious ways. Most of us learn a part, and play some version of it for the rest of our lives.

She reminds me a little of someone from twenty years ago. She reminds me also of someone else from around ten years later, and then again of a movie actress from the thirties. Memories are full of tricks to treat us with, missteps and inversions, backtracks and epiphanies and all the little shines and fevers found. The asymmetry of a smile, and I believe things about a stranger that are not likely to be true. These categorical imperatives, schema and clades and broad archetypes fill in the blanks everywhere I look. I believe things and scoff at others, and so I play the part I learned somewhere back when time rang true.

Truth be told, I was lost so long ago the original drift is hazy and obscure. I have been lost so long, it is hard to remember even thinking I had a path. Different roles, different stories. Each year a little less left over, each day a little further from the source. Bits and pieces, bites and blows. Another unfamiliar face I have seen before, another name that it seems I have just misplaced. I don't hesitate to start the conversation. I hardly pause when again I walk away. Someone always has to leave. The story always leaves someone behind.

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