Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Understanding the "Other"

[Artist: Javier Zabala].

On Re-reading Bartleby the Scrivener

Nothing so aggravates ... as passive resistance,
the stubborn persistence of the unaccepting Other, 
where the refusal to comply
forces others to react.

Understand that you can't always reach or understand
the souls of those who suffer.
They sometimes seem ungrateful, treat you with disdain.
There is no compromise, no felt need to explain,
theirs is the only universe, and you're not in it.

Know you what it's like to be undone?
Bound up in
overwhelming hopelessness
where you can no longer Be, where 
even hunger's ceased - one
dies, despairing, choked by
unrelieved meaninglessness.
At days' end will still they murmur
 "asleep with angels now"
to restore lost balance?

Ah lost soul.  Ah humanity.

I would prefer not to
on the whats, or whys or whos
inside or outside the Tombs,
on action versus passivity, guess
the motive, know the reason,
judge the Silent.
We adapt, pretend, shut down, continue -
do or be done unto, who's ultimately
to blame?  "We are all brothers" but
don't communicate, and even if we did,
what is there to say.

We, I, you, him, her, can you divorce
an "us", reject all life, to let the world know
none of it applies?  Oh do not lecture, that
the rules have been bypassed, that one has
self-destructed in the process.
All life is a process, it's not life but the
with which we concern ourselves -
and there are many ways to Be . . .
and even more,


To read a text of the complete story, go here.

To hear the full audio book, click here.

To see a 27-minute film reenacting the story, go here.