Not to Fake Being Sick

Benjamin Paloff

We come correct, marking death in stages. Where’s the pride in faking what everyone already believes? You are dead when you cannot make new memories, and the forks on plates downstairs reach you in bed like an admonition. You are dead, again, when you have none of the stored memories left, and again when there are no memories left of you. We are units in an ever-evolving language, distantly made for each other, like an oarlock and the surface of the water, or no… more like the divot under your lower lip and the tapered end of a stylus. The wastefulness of telling a life in terms of everything you did, not in terms of the hesitations that preceded the expansive body of everything you did not do! The danger is not idolatry, as some have supposed. The danger of art is that it reinforces the bias that only sees intention. Language witnesses us from within, it records everything we do. Language will never know how much we love it until it maybe someday has a language of its own.


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