“The imagination is a cynic. By that I mean that it can accommodate the most disparate elements with no regard for relative values. And it does this by assuming all things have equal value, which is a way of saying nothing has any value, which is cynicism.”
– from The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing, Richard Hugo
On a tree-lined street in an unremarkable suburban town, there is a white house in which my mother is always dying. Falling ill and then dying, repeatedly.
The mayor has a child she did not want.
The mayor does not trust the children in the town.
There is a hill on which a young girl died; the circumstances of her death remain mysterious.
Ghosts haunt the town. There is little time for sleeping.
There is the ghost of the young girl. There is the ghost of the mother, always dying.
Flowers thrown across graves are signs of disrespect. Do not bring flowers to the dead.
A river runs through the town. It is too cold now, for swimming.
I have never seen such trees. I have never seen such mist hanging over this river. I have never felt such dissociation from the requirements of living.
FInish one thing before starting another.
There are some things you can only take one at a time.
Certain tasks will remain unfinished. Days pile up and then months. Too much static in the brain.
I write it all down because it seems easier to lay it all out like a map one thinks one might read.
A list of the dead and the dying includes us all.