The Seconds

I am not in competition with a movie for your attention. I am not in competition with a rock star on a bus headed by highway to the venue. I am not in competition with Xbox 360 for the hand-eye coordination of a fourteen year old. Storytelling is not about the dollar, because those who do it for air and sustenance only get paid as an accidental consequence. When my favorite playwright sat down to rework scene three to better grasp the opportunity for a character to unleash ever-so-subtly the depth of their being, I know by assurance that he was not thinking about whether the dialogue would sell more tickets. People stumble onto work, onto stories and songs and sculptures that will split wide the universe and change the default color of the sky. I asked a student if they had yet met someone who, by their sheer presence, altered the structure of a room, changed the way air conditioning feels, the way a shirt fits. They had not. Had not yet. I am not in competition with the rare moment when everyone sees the same film, reads some suddenly necessary and implosive novel. No. I am fighting against roughly the right word, against nearly the image which mostly butts up against what I almost want to say. I am in struggle with a slant-rhyme of meaning, with acceptance of my limitations, with the uncut agony that is walking out of a room, across a country, into another life while an Ideal has children, and a spouse, and is very happy.

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