Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Angelfish Ink Stain

Jesse S. Mitchell

I have an angel fish shaped ink stain on my kitchen floor.  I stare at it every breakfast.  I sip coffee out of a tall plastic insulated cup and look down at it, swimming motionless on the hard linoleum floor.  It reminds me of Virginia Woolf.  Across the Atlantic, so many years ago, Bloomsbury group sitting on the edge of the channel.  You know, the British government at the time supplied Virginia and her husband, Leonard with two emergency cyanide tablets.  It was during the war and in the case that Britain’s best laid plans for ultimate self-defense failed and the Nazi overrun those Albion shores, it was decided that some folks like Ginny and Leonard had best quietly suicide rather than face the horrors of capture.  I call this good governance.   This is a place where I believe the European have surpassed us.   They are better at authority.  They seem to have a knack for it.   No matter what we try to do, in the areas of governing we always somewhat fail, maybe that is a good thing, a special thing, something unique that should be cherished.  Who am I to say?  Anyway, it doesn’t matter, the jury is still out on whether governance of any kind is even a good or proper thing.  So maybe it is better after all to fail at it.
The angel fish stain swims between my feet as I stand over it, watching it between my legs.  Like a giant groping downward at the imaginary movements.  It reminds me of Virginia Woolf.  Blown through a tube at one hundred miles a hour landing hard at the other end with scarcely a hairpin left in, groping at the trunks and roots of trees like the legs of giants, never seeing the canopy of beautiful petals, waxy and feathery above.  It reminds me of Virginia Woolf because of her ‘Mark on the Wall’ obviously.  It reminds me of that work because few things have made more of impact on my life or style than that unfinished novel.  I have it complete in a book collection of several of her unfinished novels.  She wrote a lot of fragmentary things.  I do too.  I imagine most people do.  Johnny Cash once said he only finished one out of every ten songs he started and he didn’t consider it a sign of being inconsistent but of being professional.  I’m not sure of that, I don’t know what it is a sign of or for.  What I do know is that it is monumentally easy to lose the passion ands taste for a thing.   The rickety clicking of your fingers sliding over hard cold keys brings all kinds of thoughts to a head, one being that most likely whatever you are working on then will lead only to rejection.  If it doesn’t lead to rejection but instead to acceptance, it will be an acceptance without pay or glory and whoever the lucky soul that did accept it will not promote it, either because they can’t, don’t know how, or simply won’t…if that isn’t the case and you do happen to find yourself in the loving arms of a big and wonderful publisher of some prominence…still only time will tell.  Few of us outlast the harsh ravages of time and the best of us still don’t like to think about what that means.  Say, you do manage as in the case of Wordsworth, to write some bloody  Daffodils, the best you can really hope for is two hundred and twenty years down the road being stuck in the pages of some old dog-eared textbook that smart-assed students kick down the highly illuminated tiled high school hallways, stuffed in lockers, forgotten, on the weekends used to clean and break up their weed, seeds collecting in the spine next to the scribbled dirty words and amateurish drawn penises.  It is not a pretty picture of the future, even for the best of us.   It is easy to lose a thing.  Especially in this world where so much simply flutters around.
The angel fish ink stain on my floor sets off a web of thoughts.  Lines and ropes that lead to other lines and ropes, ropes that lasso out and catch other thoughts and pull them crashing back into my mind, upsetting and rattling otherwise perfectly normal bemusing.  It reminds me of the looseness of my consciousness.  It reminds me of the very looseness of the hold I have on that consciousness.  It reminds me of the entire world, seas and seas of it but mostly and especially as I near the last sips of my coffee cup, it reminds me of the need to buy more bleach.

No comments:

Post a Comment