The Disappearance of a Grocery Mule

Passing after hour of the wolf, the house falls silent now even as the wind shakes my weak windows by an infant frame and a rough draft rakes my back.  I worry about disappearing, just another ghost in the room with nothing to say.  All the machines powered from speech’s thunder can leave a man mute and blunted.  I think I damaged my hearing a bit with my iPod, which has since been lost.  The irony of going deaf from a device replaced by the deafening silence of a speechless subway car is enough poetry for one day.  The Buddha laughs at a fear of disappearing, and said, “You really think there’s anything left of you  to disappear?”

Often, I only feel old being the grocery mule, walking back with bare-essentials, still in amazement of how many gallons of soda a family ingests.  There are no lies in bulk.  I’m unshaven and squinting, as I’ll only go before noon to avoid that world where everyone has to do the same thing at the same time, battling through the overcrowded schedules of the masses.  The grocery mule doesn’t go to the diner after the bars close.  He listens to the sizzle, watches the boil, turns off the smoke detector again, Makes a point to use spices to cover up the powders and aluminum, the packets and the cardboard paper.   You know, sustenance.   Life catches up to you when you carry groceries.

It’s easy to say “nothing is happening” with a monotonous complaint, and movement blur together slowly like a panic fought with Tai Chi.  Doing the same thing faster doesn’t change the action, until you run out of things to do.  Perhaps that is the key to “doing nothing quickly”—where you can happily do anything.

I wish there was some lively anecdote in all this, some narrative arc of an incident.  But the wind howls and the brow furrows, where crows stand sheltered in the corners of my eyes, waiting with me.


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