weathering melancholia


last night I went to see melancholia with seth oelbaum & jiyoon lee and we were wearing these new bracelets made of pastel plastic stars.

at the beginning of the movie everything is so beautiful it’s horror. there is beethoven and birds falling out of the sky like the severed hindquarters of horses and kirsten dunst is just staring at the screen with this face of pure absurdity, like looking at the whole world at once and loving hating so much.

also there are these stillnesses which aren’t really still, but are time and music melting into one another or seeping out of existence like birthings. everyone underneath moons at a castle. light rises and the audience knows nothing good can come of this. not when there are planets. especially not when there is a planet so close little spirals of light make stages upon which every microsecond is acted. mostly there is kirsten dunst dragging heavy gray yarn attached to her ankles & wrists, through a field, in a wedding dress, and the universe is about to explode.

+ a little fire through a bay window is actually the apocalypse.

yesterday I was leaving my apartment for opera rehearsal and the day was bright & cold and all of a sudden it started to snow, big soft flakes like tears.

when I was young I was always very sure of the apocalypse. I used to make villages in the backyard out of sticks which I’d whittled with steak knives borrowed from the kitchen. the village was in a grove of scrub pines near the back fence, behind a yellow plastic swingset and a brilliant ochre field of waist-high weeds somehow always in season. when I could find twine or baling wire or had the patience to braid long ropes of grass I’d make bundles of sharpened sticks and stockpile stones beneath my bed and when this was not enough I made up songs about the end of the world which was sweet in the songs and I’d sing them to the pine trees & the sticks & the stones.

in the middle of melancholia the main girls are picking blueberries in the early afternoon and it is a specific kind of sunny and it starts to snow, big soft flakes like tears, and nobody says anything they just pick berries and ride horses.

I have bad ankles & bad knees from falling off horses in my youth. in the movie there is this horse named abraham and kirsten dunst says she is his mistress. I know what it is like to be the mistress of an unrideable horse. one must be so far away from the world. for a long time I would only liked to ride that sort of horse and I had one. every ride is asking a little bit for death when both parties are a certain amount of strong & stubborn & smart & reckless and we were, we did endlessly stupid things, and now I am a very young adult with arthritis and a penchant for doing anything too fast.

today was that same special kind of bright like yesterday and like the movie and it was cold and my body felt too alive so I went for a run. in the movie a lot of people spend time looking up at the daytime sky through telescopes on especially blue days like today and I was running around the lakes at notre dame and trying hard to consider the form of each stride, and I was coming up on the last stretch of my run and there were these four people in coats & gloves & earmuffs looking up at the daytime sky through a telescope with this expression of pure wonder and I thought it was so strange, and then I turned a corner and when I next looked at the sky it was from the ground.

my body sometimes just collapses; my bad joints give and I just fall and I never know when or how it will happen and it did, just after I saw the sky-watchers, just after I’d seen a movie where sky-watchers are indicative of the end of the world.

in the movie the end of the world wouldn’t be sad if it weren’t for this one child. the child ought to have a world upon which to grow, we are meant to think, and we do. he has intelligent eyes like a brilliant animal.

today after I had returned to my house and cleaned the blood & dirt off my knees and dealt with my sting-y palms I sat down to write and realized I was supposed to give a poetry reading which I had forgotten about and had not prepared for so I left my house with no makeup and scrapes and a seasonally-inappropriate outfit and the only poems the ones on my blackberry, which I read because I had to, and afterwards I was leaning against this bar thinking about the end of the world and these two angelic-looking girls, they were maybe six years old, came running up to me holding hands and told me they liked my poems, and I thought I wanted those girls to grow up and know many more and better poems than the ones I had read, which were mostly about my disdain for poetry and the world. I thought I would be sad to sit with them while the world ended or maybe I wouldn’t. I thought about children I know; I know a lot of children, smart ones, prophets maybe or oracles, and should children grow up and is growing up death. I don’t know. I know I have always felt a great ending heavy in my body like woolen lead you drag & drag. I know events have horizons and can melt.


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