Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'd be alarmed if I was my friend.


I want to be awake
when the world ends.
I want to be my friend

who rose to an empty 
house, even his grandmother
& her worn cross gone

& thought it was the rapture,
that he hadn't crossed over.
Let me rip my shirt

as he did & tear into the street
hollering. Let me hear
only my blood beat this morning

 in the rain before the dawn--- 
no one on the line.
Later, when they return,

let those I love who left
have only gone to the store,
running errands, this errant

unebbing life. After, 
let what I've torn---
the myself I mourn---

be mended & start
over, like a scar,
or star.

---Kevin Young

I read that poem in this week's New Yorker magazine and it echoed the fact that I've been thinking about/reading about/internally debunking the ending of the world interpreted by someone (does anyone know who?) to be foretold in the Mayan calendar. It has reached a level of frenzy seeing as the date everyone is so certain it will happen is the day after tomorrow. I never believe anyone who says they know for certain anything, much less when it comes to the ending of the world. Why? Because the fact that I can smell the fart from a library patron here at the reference desk clearly indicates that they were all very wrong. The world keeps turning....and people keep farting.  Of course the world will end eventually but just as you are never, ever going to win the lottery, you are not going to know ahead of time either. Also, why would you want to? I have friends and family members who have a plan of survival in mind. Maybe it is just the pessimist in me but I always assumed I'd be killed immediately. Like if a meteor hit earth somewhere near Australia or wherever is the furthest point on Earth from New York is, I'd somehow trip in the shower, bump my head and be cat fodder for a few weeks. Or I'd eat from a salmonella contaminated jar of peanut butter. Something along those lines. So I don't have a survival pack or a plan of where to go to hide should a natural or man made disaster happen. I know only this: I was living in NYC during the previous decade when both 9/11 and the blackout of 2003 happened and the entirety of Manhattan (basically) had to evacuate on foot to the outer boroughs. On BOTH days I wore very, very uncomfortable shoes, one pair of which ripped my ankles to hamburger meat resembling bloody stumps. So that might be the indicator that the end is nigh: I'll be wearing intensely uncomfortable shoes.

It is less than a week until Christmas and the holiday binging has begun in earnest. It started with a piece of coconut cake at the staff sweets party this morning. I mean honestly, cake at 10am? What am I? A 7 year old?? It all culminated just five short minutes ago when I crossed the line of one too many cookies. I fully expect the day long sugar high to send me crashing big time when I go home and perform my favorite ritual of the day: shutting down.

I've still got a little bit of time left during a painfully slow workday and my brain has already begun the process. I had planned on reading a bit but I think my brain has also put a moratorium on reading for the rest of 2012. That is the only way I can explain why I'm reading the same g'd book for the last three months. This is so unlike me. I'd be alarmed if I was my friend.

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