Fluorescent lights. Plastic cups with pointed bottoms dangle from the water machine. A Top 40 hit blasts, the kind that could never be background music. It demands your full attention, consumes all senses, and shuffles all thought. There’s a flat-screen TV on the wall, but thankfully it’s off. Magazines stacked between me and other patients. Psychology Today. Frankie. LivingNow. Better Homes and Gardens. Tightly woven grey carpet. Neon flyers that read “On relationships,” “Let’s talk about drinking,” “Anger management,” and “Building emotional resistance.” A hand sanitizer pump next to the scented tissues. The soft sound of fingers on a keyboard underneath the still-blaring tune. All of it contributing to a heavy static in the air.
Is studying philosophy a sham? Is studying ethics morally permissible? Is the ability to study philosophy or act in and of itself problematic and/or intrinsically valuable? Is it limiting or expanding to read philosophies of those who were able to record theirs? Could it be purely for pleasure?
He had already learned by experience that faith and doubt belonged together, that they govern each other like inhaling and exhaling, and that his very advances in all aspects of the Game’s microcosm naturally sharpened his eyes to all the dubiousness of the Game.”
Staring out the window of an eleventh-floor conference room. Beyond glossy tables topped with glasses of water, the sun sets over Melbourne. She never looks the same. Skyline always seems to change. Haven’t been here long enough to recognize what was, let alone how it becomes. Alas, I distract. Watching red and white pass, to and from flowers and the hive. In a split moment, into those lights, I feel detached from this life. Will anything we say here translate there? What to make of a tower. Bathing in philosophy while people without water. Sliced by fences. Strip-searched of rights. In here, few cushioned. Sipping. Talking, thinking, reading, and writing. Arranging thoughts, growing fields. Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. I mustn’t belong. Not—able—enough. But who is to say who gets to stay? An amniotic slip, gasping for air. Between pockets of meaning and earning. Where are they going? Home to families or alone in boxes. Nowhere and everywhere, staring into a screen, just like me. That space I crave, pushing every him away. Curling “Learn Spanish and Leave” into the margin. Not complaining, just debating. What a fucking gift: to be a student. But what’s the point trying to hold a line? Seeking a PhD? Injecting Latin. Punctuating rationality and morality. The letters and numbers don’t add up. An insufficient balance = halted reach. Or can it seep from seats into policies? Alter the next for this planet. Where’s the ripple? Bouncing on a grid, sliding through that divine intersect, I giggle. Prefer poetry. But isn’t it all when the last petals fall?