So there’s a man, or a woman, okay,
a person, and this person has a problem.
Not so much a problem as a yearning.
They live in a city but yearn for
the quiet of the countryside. No,
they yearn for the geometry, the voltage,
the violent anonymity of the city. Or
they yearn for the selfish, fat simplicity
of their childhood. Okay, something
more specific. They yearn for the silence
that followed the call of the mother-owl
out across the misted glade that morning
in June. Or the silence of a blown-out
filament like a ruined suspension bridge
in a snow globe without snow.
That silence. That is what the person
yearns for. Only they don’t know
that this silence is what they yearn for.
Instead they cast around, throwing
their yearning over everything
like holy water, not knowing that
the attainment of surrogate objects
of desire only frustrates or aggravates
their yearning, since the act
of attainment itself eliminates an object
from the category of desire, throwing it
into severe relief, so that immediately
it takes on a figurine aspect,
a repulsive resemblance of the silent
moment that the person does not
know they yearn for. Thus abandoned,
the search continues, the world always
ready with fresh and bright distractions.
And this person is just like us.
It could be us. Only it isn’t.
But you do know this person.
I can tell you that much.
Though of course, I needn’t tell you.
You know exactly who I’m talking about.
Photograph © John Davey