It’s hard to concentrate. Ping pong of the mind is in play — sometimes that restless movement is productive, but not now. I’m sitting on home, but mind is racing through history, through ditches and pogroms, uneasy peace, good & evil, unstability of thereof, pronouncements and truths which in a silvery instant become their opposites. Other war zones, names of weaponry, mass injury, mothers. The mind ping pongs. I can hear the echo across screens all over the world.
I been reading the work of a Polish poet whose mind ping pongs, Czeslaw Milosz. A witness of multiple 20th century cataclysms, Milosz followed the tortuous turns of his fractured consciousness. After he arrived in Berkeley, California, he wrote, “Who will honor the city without a name/If so many are dead and other pan gold/Or sell arms in faraway countries?” He was remembering his hometown, Vilnius, then in Lithuania, later a part of Poland in the poem, “City Without a Name.”
Blink in the poem, then ask where are we now? We’re in Death Valley. We are lost in wonder. Also at the zero point for the imagination. A place of not extinction but a low buzz, imperceptible murmur, desolate, alien. A place of immersion. As is true with all darknesses, it is alive with potential.
I thought of the zero point as Orthodox Christians were celebrating “Forgiveness Sunday.” To be a fly on the wall in the Orthodox churches! Imagine the buzz inside the heads and consciences of Russians and Ukrainians alike. What are Russians murmuring to themselves? I imagine a descent down to a void, wildness, to experience the howl, a cry of anguish. Radical insight, a shock of recognition. To be a fly that could make a swerve, a turn in action. The small voice longs to be heard.