The Continuous Now
Tourists who had taken selfies at the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe posted them to Facebook. A gnome-like man with a greasy comb-over responded, “Everything is art, everything is rubbish.” We decided to put down flowers and dog biscuits, and light a candle. It was like Elvis coming back to play Las Vegas.
EMTs rush by with a man on a stretcher, eyes rolled back in his head. When it happens three or four times, you realize this isn’t chance. That’s why you must educate your nerves. If you look down the alley, you’ll see all kinds of goings-on: people dumping trash, and pissing, and dealing drugs. There might be someone with a gun. Don’t you think NASA should hide this? They’re certainly things that keep me up late.
What kind of conclusions can you draw when you’re watching the sun go down? Or you’re watching the sea or the forest? The same events keep repeating themselves, just worse. People send us their children to get healthy but they leave in ambulances and body bags. The whole purpose is to make this last forever.
Everyone says, “Just be yourself.” There is no way to overstate the amount of stress this causes. Eyeglasses go into one pile, gold-filled teeth into another, props to help tell family stories. Sadness is not uncommon. Back at the house, I write down what I can remember from college astronomy about red giants and white dwarfs. The dark of night makes it difficult. Most people have forgotten pretty much everything but the very last thing they heard. Oh that sound. Believe it or not, it’s real, roadblocks and document checks and guards with machine guns strapped across their chests.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry and forthcoming from Thoughtcrime Press.