August 14, 2005

Broken Flowers & Such

I am sitting down for a moment here in the basement of my parent's home after reading in the coffee shop for a few hours. I read a beautiful piece of writing in The Sun called "501 Minutes to Christ" by Poe Ballantine. After I finished reading, I went to Indian Rock to see Berkeley, the bay beyond it, the city across the bay, everything shrouded by a thin, yellowish fog, and nothing visible beyond that. I am hungover after a night of stiff drinks and vapid conversation with old friends, their new lawyer friends, and somewhat cute bartenders who could care less about my circuitous, uninteresting prattle. Upstairs my parents are engaged in a heated verbal scuffle about a light bulb. The sound they make is like that of the cats and racoons fighting late at night underneath the backyard's dying cedar tree. For perhaps the first four or so days I thought that twelve days was not enough time in Berkeley. But now on day eight, I know that I need to get out soon.

Yesterday I watched Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers," which was, as expected, very good and also a bit unfulfilling. His films always intimate the sense of experiencing something very deep and beautiful within the very human mystery of living in this present age, but they remain intimations, being films, of something that must be experienced, not observed. I liked the ending of "Broken Flowers," even though most of the audience at Shattuck Cinema sighed confused sighs and stood awkwardly to leave with puzzled looks on their faces. Recently I have thought a lot about my life in the same vein as Don Johnston's pseudo-Buddhist epiphany, which I won't spoil (deflower) for all you who have yet to see the film (I am not sure how many of my multitudinous readership plan to watch "Broken Flowers"). All in all, I am taking my days like the ending, and beginning, of one of Theodore Roethke's most famous villanelles:

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.


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