CARTER

It’s not the control. That’s an illusion. It’s the giving up that’s hard to do… we try for something that’s already found us. But we ask it to look again and give us what it can’t give. I don’t want a lover to understand because if they really understood they would have to give up. But that isn’t what I really want. I plead for it. Sometimes I rant and rage against it. But if I really got what I wanted I wouldn’t want it anymore.

You can’t tell the age of a stick figure. Maybe if you measured the movement the before and after. Depending on the artist and the flourish of distinguishing features they all pretty much look the same just lines shaded into familiar boundaries so you can’t really tell who’s the talker and who’s the listener who gives more who takes more what’s taken for granted all you know is this was once a room an enclosed patio holding a mother and son and now that they’ve been animated as such the only thing actual and determined the TV in the corner you must see them as they are now and what you see decides who they were what roles they play how that’s complicated by what a man is what a woman is what a mother is to a son a son to a mother and how can it be that they are merely stick figures when they represent so much more for if they move they are alive and with the living comes judgment yet they do not move they sit on stick furniture inside a stick house and instead judge what comes from the TV for what’s on the screen is the only thing that’s moving it moves but does not know it’s alive that’s for Electra and Carter to judge but they’re not sure now not for certain the cat inside the TV box could be dead and now the commercials are over we’ve returned to regular programming and you see Mary Jane again standing in line at the DMV angry at an inanimate smartphone. She’s not moving either. And the boxes around her the Hollywood squares remain darkened you don’t hear the voice of a preacher just the incessant low-level hum of machines working and that other sound a human sound the sound you hear when people gather together but they’re not with each other they didn’t come together and they won’t leave with each other but that’s when you notice the other thing real in the room what’s not a stick figure merely drawn in you see Carter’s hand on it his hand is on the remote.

ELECTRA

You can know what you want all you want but not really want to know why you want it. If there’s anything time on this earth has taught me is my own denial of how I contradict myself. I even know how things are based on contradictions but I don’t dare admit it. How I’ve got what wanted and then didn’t want it. How I didn’t get what wanted and how I behaved… I was a young girl with your father once. But now I’m an old woman with a son. It doesn’t make one more true than the other. One doesn’t cancel the other out or make them less meaningful. And what’s funny is wisdom before would say this world is temporary and fleeting have nothing to do with it while wisdom after would say yes this earth is full of pain and misery built upon failure after failure but you know what I wouldn’t go back and change a thing even if I could…

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