“I won’t see this year again, not again so innocent; and longing wrapped round my throat like a scarf.” —Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Recent times is a reference, well-worn and specific enough to create a shared understanding. I read an article that used the phrase “deaths pulled from the future” after reading another article that claimed the word “robot” wasn’t publicly used until the early 1920s. The framing for both pieces was replaceability. What comes next becomes a question of narration. Can I claim to know the moon without having been there?
I listened to a recording of an exploding volcano thousands of miles away. It initially sounded like gunfire, then I heard a blast from a force unimaginable, a process of release and eventual settling that is so unknowable it has been ascribed to the gods. This is a story to find a way, a hook to hold onto while the world spins.
I wanted what the future would bring. When and how was what I was most interested in. I thought about how the best poets break the conventions of language. How passive writing is aggressive and how darkness holds its own light. As trees absorb sound, bodies shelter. I write deliberately. I’m acutely aware of how time can get one-dimensional when influenced by the dollar.
It was only February.
I imagined a time where hope has no currency because there is no fear to weight its over-inflated value. Neglect should have been the word of the year; acting as both a verb (a failure to care for properly) and a noun (a state of being uncared for—deprivation). In between cracks of clouds, blue. I dredged, flayed, and autopsied the past into quantum bytes. I tried to stay inside my bones.
The palm trees hissed and swayed. A Home Depot burned so hot we saw the fire’s heat signature from space. I found quiet inside a frequency where the sacred is buried. Wars drag on, more brutal and unnecessary than last yesterday’s justifications.
What can be palmed is what I want. A random ray of sunlight; the trill of unseen song birds; a break, nearly inaudible, in the freeway traffic. I gather the most extraordinary mundane moments—the astonishing present—as proof of my witness.
August arrived and asked an ancient question: will any god save us?
What reclamation can be shown from the exchange of a year lived? Inside this daydream marathon, I toast to multivalent miracles. Nobody survives by accident.