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Prufrock- Distractions, Distillations

June 15, 2011

Are emotional brushstrokes any less valid than rational argumentation?

There is isolation walking down a city street at night.  Feet tracing cement, dark shadows flitting away from street lamp light, other bodies moving with unknown intent through the night.  The isolation can stretch and become elastic to a constricting cocoon; that is known as loneliness.  There is a comforting tooth-achy sort of loneliness, walking home, at night, in the city.

It is frustrating being a follow in a room full of follows; it’s like being an odd when there so desperately needs to be an even.  Standing a wallflower pick me pick me!  Chin jutted high, imperious, untouchable.  The body not cooperating, outsides reflecting in.  Where was that moment when all else fades away and there is just the perfection of two people moving in instinctive unison?

A Celebration of Prufrockian Ideals

I’ve been wondering lately about the proverbial little things.  Normally I espouse a theory that the little things are in fact- wait for it- secretly the big things.  That the observation of a curve of a lip, a child being held in the air by her giggling father,  the feel of sunshine on my back in the late afternoon, the taste of peach dribbling down are important to note, feel, understand, distill.  Little daily mundanities crystallized into moments ARE life. But perhaps I was wrong all along; the peach and baby, the sun and the lusty smile are not distillations of life at all but shiny baubles.  Distractions.   Where is the ambition?  Larger purpose?  Theoretical passion for an intellectual cause?

These little things: distillations… or merely distractions.

Someone before me cranes his head back to look down the length of sidewalk.  His smile is bright and real, his eyes shine in the dark, crinkle in the right places.  I feel my face answer even as I know he can’t be looking at me.  And she comes from behind me, her body straining to reach his, matching expressions.  Distraction.

I never got what anyone could see in my roommate.  He was surly and uncommunicative and slightly ‘off’ in a primal way that was unexplainable but felt by everyone.  But there he was, on my porch, getting ready for a run.  He had just tied his laces.  And his eyes were not the color of faded money under fluorescent lights, but the healthy green of spring.  His face wasn’t closed off but expressive.   The light hit him just so, and for a moment he was handsome.  And then he saw me.  Distillation.

Is there no sweeping purpose between the takings of tea at two?  I don’t know if I believe in giving power to the tea leaves just because otherwise I feel lost.

Click for a poem that puts this better than I ever could.  Make sure to listen to Garrison Keillor read it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ted permalink
    June 21, 2011 12:33 PM


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