The visuals soothe— a man with a trinket of some sort drawn around his wrist. A woman with a pen clasped between her fingers. A child with a ripe coconut on the table. A dog on a chase for a centipede. A leach yearning to feast on the blood of the famished. A coming-of-age story about a lost thinker, still at her prime but offset by the death of another proletariat. A man wearing a beret, eyeing a monument of magazines. A papa pushing a stroller and shoveling along the cobblestone. An infant startled by the site of a rain-filled cloud. A working woman, hugging the stretch, ten to twelve hour-long shifts. Beer caps outside of the post office. Cigarette butts by the city trash cans. A man in sneakers, brown and green, and white tube socks that shield his shins. The billboard ad, in all its deception, bolstering propaganda, but all so enticing: Sculpted font, encrypted messages, exotic graphics of humans.
The visuals soothe— even that one of the imbecile.
“Who isn’t a liar?”
“Not me,” you say.
“Then who?” And you cast a finger at the rival in her lace-up black boots.
“What’s her crime?”
“Wearing provocative clothing and speaking with fervor and zeal, and oh, can’t the flock see how she has cloaked the generation at present with such perverse secularism?”
“Who isn’t a crook?”
“Not me,” you say. “I’m reading the big, black book of misinterpretation of all things literal and figurative.”
But the visuals still soothe— a toothless, seventy-three your old Dominican man with honey-suckle brown skin. His hair uncombed like distinguished pelts of cotton grown from the grounds of the Congo. The body of a crippled warrior. A black child interpreting classical literature on plutocracy. A white child writing a book on the evils of theocracy. A father who is dirty. A mother who is rich but poor. A father who is a stone. A mother who is a rose. A child who is a dove. A teacher who is a thorn. A society with a pendulum. And it swings, and it swings, and it swings, and it swings.
Bite into the rotten cockroach and then there is the juice of a wisdom that must prevail. One wonders and asks, “Who concocts these fatal distortions?” One can be an Aztec Indian. Or a martyr. The rug of the ritual. The blanket of the forgotten culture.
The visuals soothe all the same— that stretch of the city. A Hasidic Jew looking for wisdom in the Torah. The Brooklyn bridge. The Asian tourists. The Russian tourists. Where are you from? Kosovo, Slovenia, Bosnia, Argentina, Bolivia, Haiti, Somalia…. AMERICA.
If the Brooklyn bridge falls, who goes down? If Texas secedes, will the Right Wing party die? And will America be “Great Again”?
Don’t question the questioner. Don’t mock the intellect.
A man from Jamaica has the last Rastafarian dreadlocks. Why do non-Rastas wear them to appropriate and exploit the disadvantaged? This isn’t a question. Don’t play the victim. Why does everything have to cultivate from pragmatism and sourced reason? What is reason? Everything inside and outside of the cognitive realm.
Can’t ignore Haiti. Can’t ignore what happened to New Orleans. Can’t ignore the President. Can’t ignore Puerto Rico. Can’t ignore the press secretary. Can’t ignore the taxes that will implode the middle class if the bill succeeds. Can’t ignore the tourists. Can’t ignore the billboard ads.
If a poor woman jumps off the Brooklyn bridge, will she go down in history? The photographers and reporters must arrive on time to document the tragedy. And the pendulum swings. And it swings, and swings, and swings. And the digital clock reads 12:34:49.
And somehow, all of these visuals soothe… even when society is doomed.