Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sometimes I wonder if Chamfort wasn't speaking in hope and possibilities instead of warning. A man who shoots off his own nose has to maintain some sense of humor, right? No matter how sad and bloodstained and heavily guarded his eventual end. Maybe when he talks in his last words about this world where the heart must either break or become hard as bronze he is giving us choices, where we can remain warm and sore or hard and cold. Nietzsche, who introduced me to Chamfort when I was 15 and impressionable, called him someone who almost considered himself lost on a day in which he hadn't laughed, which certainly feels like somewhere in there Chamfort was my people. In the last weeks we've had miscarriages and breakups and a terrible illness in my urban family, and it seems like the choices are slim but the bad ones are to avoid feeling any of it. Breaking seems superior to bronzing, if only in the long run. Chamfort doesn't ssound like a guy who believed much in hope, but sometimes it's easier to believe that he did. Se brise ou se bronze. Nose or no nose.

This hope is the currency I trade in, what Cummings called "the dangerous looseness of doom". I could build you a clown car made of love and cotton candy and gremlins, but you don't really believe in the romance of adventure. The only thing I can be sure of is that each time my heart is ripped free of its moorings it is leaving space for something new and bigger. Somewhere in these new holes is a genie in a bottle with wishes that I could waste, and I might lead you to genies but I can't make you understand in time. You either believe in magic, or you don't.

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