Better They Go It Alone

by dschapman

Sense and reference, form and dissonance – many instant motions, many instant states of time, states of nature, statements made of ill intentions, stately plates and costly pheasant; the good man, dining, all alone – he is so good, he is all alone – he could never wrong a woman right – he could never take his pleasure standing straight – it made him feel so guilty, it made his shoulders slouch, it made his fancies fainter. He hasn’t been rude for fifty years; his life has been a living dialectic, mistakes made and anticipated and reactions made against them, finally something new to live on with – aptly, for he is apt. So capable, so strong – he could do anything he chose to do, and he chose to never be rude. He chose to be good and aesthetic, he chose to be civil and strong; and his civilities rendered him perfect, resolute, and clad for fifty years in sternness made plainer by nature. Pococurante – at ease. At leisure, unhappy, untroubled. Wise-minded warden of good… like-minded knight of the round table, celibate, miserable, uncrowned.

I myself am not so perfect – I myself am wicked. I have fared no better than him – I have fared far worse, I am a hypocrite. I hate the little wicked things around me, I hate the way they leave a mess behind them, I hate the way they flutter and gnaw and begrudge me. He went fifty good years in fine woolen suits, fifty good wears in unfeathered fedoras that he never wore inside a building – he never wore in the presence of ladies – what respect, with ease. Many modern stupid boys still wear hats but they never take them off, not even while they dine – modern stupid boys. But not him, not once in nigh on fifty years, and not I – not gentlemen.

Guilty pleasure… is there no other kind of pleasure – is not all pleasure an unappealing act of submission – a tasteless abandonment of mind – a pure and fruitless ecstasy, shameful as a liquor binge, mindless – truly mindless – truly a surrender, truly a display – exhibition – uninhibited madness – truly a model of madness!

And me, in the midst, in the loneliest field of them all, with my hands folded patiently behind my back, in the shoes of the old man, in the hat and the waistcoat, leaning on my cane, and waiting – patiently, in the emptiest space of them all, unending. What I mean is – well, I have tremendous respect for – well – well damn it I’ve been reading Wittgenstein again! I’ve been reading Wittgenstein again… as if once isn’t plenty enough… and there the conversation ends!

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