“At a critical juncture, / man separated ore from block to dangerous / consequence.” writes Roslyn Orlando. Indeed, these consequences act now as the small minutiae of our daily lives. The pressured squeeze of the electric tube, hurrying along the track and pushed out into the market of tasks we stridently uphold with our precarious veneration to progress and energy, heat and light, stardom and success. We flock to the smoky city in its buzzing hours, bumping between the masked subjects of the order until we wheel our way home, smoggy and spent. A daily prayer to the ore and its apparatus, again and again as if ritual or sacrifice. In. Out. North. South. To work and not love, for not to work on love is a day at the office. And the office too spreads like city air; heavy and amorphous, through our windows and into our homes, along the nape of our neck and slowly into the deep webbing of our thoughts and behaviors.
“The ropes of eternity had me bound” says Samuel Joseph Eidelson. And so just as today, tomorrow we will again wake in this awkward hang; balancing between the dizziness of heavy smoke and the fleeting clarity of love. What resists this heaviness then, at least in the canopy of our minds, may come in the form of a thought, a suggestion, a subtle shift in perspective or vision. Could smoke have a message? Could I be listening at the wrong point? Where is everybody? Somewhere within these questions we may find a poem; a temporary answer to an unasked question. An illumination. A flashing vision towards a radical and momentary shifting of priorities. But of course only flashing. We remember that the haze is thick.
At the end of our collective hard day, lost in the dissociated vapors of our daydreams running like a bullet along the track, what we really seem to want to ask is what Brenna O asks in her survey of Fosse’s Cabaret “Am I going to be a Star?” We find ourselves in our own head. What about me? Will I find the end of the string through the thick cloud of burning earth? How much will that cost? How much must I sacrifice to say ‘I am here, standing in front of you’? And we fall back around into life as a cycle of light and shade, just unbalanced enough to stay dancing another day.
“Walking into the ocean with an axe in your mouth” writes Viv Baker. Perhaps we can be armed with attention, in case love passes our way.