Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Notes Made at It's Italia, Spending Down the Balance on my Gift Card

I think that my theme—long intuited—will be alienation (to use the word that Czeslaw Milosz, himself troubled by it, uses). It's our dilemma: name it the American dilemma, or the white dilemma, or the California dilemma, or the modern dilemma, or the dilemma of the ages.

I don't think it's the dilemma of the ages—or even the dilemma of our age. I've lived long enough in Latin America to know that. My suffering is by no means universal but possesses its own history, and there are other histories, entirely misunderstood, not embodied by the metaphor of the dying animal, or the darkening room, or the idiot watching plump men play golf.

So alienation. Or aloneness—should that have been Milosz's translator's word?

I don't mean—let's be clear—alienation from others but alienation from oneself.

So oneself is the nation within which one is an alien.

Alienation not from her tumbling hair but from an honest response—so honest that it's not even a response—to her tumbling hair.

Alienation from the fact that the world—God—is not something to which one responds.

On TV, John Daly is being difficult.

My neighbor asks me what I'm writing. He's hopelessly drunk, again.

"The word of God," I say.

He says, "I could have done a lot of things. I chose not to."

He says, "I have no regrets."

Perhaps one day I'll no longer regret my regrets?

I hope not. Any man who has no regrets is either a liar or a coward.

A pretty girl on TV. As if keeping us company.

1 comment:

  1. It's better to regret the things you've done,than the ones you did not do.