Interludes of the Imagination

I read my last entry out loud to Christine, and she said: “I didn’t know that you’d been thinking about these topics,” and I said: “I didn’t know I was either. It just came together.”

Lines converging at the center of two circles—poeisis and ecstasy.

What makes for significance? Why this story and not that? I’ve struggled with these questions like milk pails over rocky ground. I’ve hesitated. I’ve stopped.

This is a memory that sauntered through my brain as I sipped my coffee this morning. There was no reason for it being there other than circumstance and how circumstances are shaped by the magic realism of the internet. I stopped to consider this passerby and almost let it go past without so much as a hello. Why? Because this memory doesn’t mean much to me and I ignore people I recognize on the street all the time.

Why this memory and not another? Because it came together.

Imagine me as a baby communist in a leftist cafe in Beirut. I’m being introduced to the scene by a more grizzled upperclassman in between puffs of cigarette smoke and bites of grilled halloumi. He knows that I’m a suburbanite and he encourages me to grow into my new life as a baby revolutionary by spending more time in smoky rooms at the corners of streets like Hamra—that street that literally means “red.”

I don’t know how we got to this part, but I opened up about a baby comradely crush—perhaps she’d just passed through, I don’t remember; this was the heart of our scene at the time, after all.

He smiled, then chuckled, and cross-referencing my identifiers, he said: “Sandy’s my sister.”

I was mortified. This is Sandy.

Why did I write down these words? To write. To feel like writing. To observe a couple walking past my window with three goats in tow—as I actually did on Sunday—and feel more than nothing. The goats had dog leashes on. The woman was carrying a broom not unlike a crucifer. I mean, come on.

I feel like writing but it scares me and I hesitate and I stop. Every word is another potential embarrassment. Every project teeters at the edge of catastrophe.

“The people are a fantasy / The light is a fantasy / The streets are a fantasy / Solitude is a fantasy…”

Sandy sings about a revolution—a story that is objectively worth telling. What place is there for stories like mine in the material dialectics of time?

Sandy writes: “I have to see everything, retain all the scenes so that I never forget it.”

Honestly? Same.

The impossible finally comes true every time it comes together.

Like a broom held like a cross, like The Star tarot with the number 8, like a crush on a comrade that I very quickly forget, like all the smoke-filled buildings in streets that run red, there is a time and a place in these objective conditions. A time to imagine, a place to sing.

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