Friday, July 20, 2012

'Frame of Reference' by Troy Blackford - a Ranting Essay

There’s at least something wrong with every person, something ugly they know full well about themselves but cling to in spite of their better judgment. People worship their own ugliness, yet despise the slightest blemish in others. Humanity’s proud hypocrisy can drive a kid to despair, sometimes.

Having a nice day? You don’t deserve it! Someone else is having a terrible time – just awful – or haven’t you heard? Smile? With all the violence in Rwanda? You monster! What’s that? Things are getting better in Rwanda? That’s only because the fat cats are prospering off the poor, and if you don’t think so then, well – I’m sorry, but you’ve just bought part and parcel into the man’s system, you pathetic little parasite.

Smile? On a day like this? Didn’t you get the memo that the world is horrible, or are you just so special that you think you’re above all the misery and squalor and pain and suffering and death? I guess starving and being miserable is just something for the lesser folk to deal with, so you go on right ahead and smile, you insensitive bastard.

Birds are chirping in these trees, sure. But what about other trees, somewhere horrible, where nothing good is going on at all? What about places so blasted and pestilent that a tree would look like an obscenity, an abomination mocking the tattered corpse of the earth itself – do you hear any birds chirping there?

Silence! Listen!

Flock, flock onto the beaches you vile lemming filth, hunker down in your costal bathwater basins and play with your rubber duckies until the slime you spew into the seas reaches you even at the shore.

Slither your way into your artificially darkened holes, walls laden with mercury–lined vapor capsules – glowing as their imprisoned fumes are blasted by incomprehensible radiation you don’t even want to understand, only bathe in and let your rotting jaws go slack in the sickening pale glow of that mysterious reaction, your eyes reflecting only the dull shine of your absolute apathy.

Pull your woolen cap down ever further over your own eyes, ears, nose, and throat until your head become a lidless eye supported by a frond–like neck too thin to bear its own mucus–coated load, then let your single, bulbous, weak, slime–coated ocular orifice drop to the floor like a dandelion stalk chopped by a lawnmower.

Too weak to hold up your own bulk, too bulky to find your own strength – yet every molecule of that dead weight that slows you and eats at you is a chain of nothing tying you to a dying rock in the depths of space, a weight that is pulling you to the planet’s center and smashing you flat like an insect smacked slowly with an inching newspaper every instant of your long-short-infinite-transient existence, until the sucking sound of the straw at the bottom of the cup of life is the only sound you can ever remember hearing.

Soon, even that becomes a wheeze of empty air, a coughing crackle of dried tissue, and that a dusty spray of motes that separates and dissolves into still less – food for roaches that becomes a roach’s waste – and in this way dreams turn into laxative for vermin, and all that is the color of life becomes as empty and cold as a stone waiting to be broken apart, having never wanted to come together in the first place.

In the corners, in the cracks, you can find a molting wasp struggling to escape its own dead flesh; a dangling moth being consumed alive within its own skin, and a crumb of a dead thumbnail that is as a feast to a creature too small for a small creature to see: a meal as putrid and noxious on that small scale as ripping the skin from fowl and consuming reproductive glands torn from plants before they rot into worms and ooze is from any other frame of reference – as putrid as the gas of the sun eating its own molecules for sustenance.

A rip on the edge of an unassailable whole can create two wholes, and yet a successful assault on transience resembles nothing so much as dissolution, which is – in its own self–contained way – a reflection on the only true pathway to permanence – pure fallacy.

For permanence is a fallacy, a pure fallacy – and so it is easy to reach. Humanity has a gift for reaching it, for feeling it, for touching it. Fallacy and failure and friction are friends, and they are friends to humankind most of all. Man is the only species who can fail in an intrinsic way without even trying – the only beast that can survive and reproduce and eat and still feel that they are accomplishing nothing and missing everything.

Mankind has a switch in their minds that can cut like a blade, and can only be flipped by handling the razor. It scars and scares and so for many it remains as hidden as a treasure encased in a box of flame, ever present yet never breached. Gripping that handle is painful enough to end the experiment before the change has been made, and many hands have lost their digits that way, becoming useless cudgels.

Yet the flesh that forms once one has embraced fallacy can never be flayed. The fingers that then flower into being can feel no flame. And the force of fear becomes the fire of a forest long-razed, the blaze long-since died down. This is no subtle fact and no absolute truth.

The one who claims to tell you truth lies. The one who aspires to show you beauty seeks only to hide his filth. The one who claims they know doesn’t even dare think.

There are trees, and there are birds, and there are clear days and blue skies. There are salty waves and rocky peaks. There are bears and eagles and snails and slime, and everything from amoebas to ocelots wants a chance to live and die in the same great tangle of energies and emptinesses. And the only way to do anything about it is to stop trying.

The only way to fix the world is to decide that, even if just for a moment, it is okay to smile.


  1. And smile i did, Troy. We all need reminding that it's ok to smile from time to time. Thank you for reminding me!

  2. Your use of resonance/alliteration is so well crafted. How do you do this? I think I asked that before, but it keeps coming back to me. How is this young man so brilliant/shining/amazing/sharp-witted - can you think of any other adjectives I might use. Smarter than whip, whatever that means. Cooler than a cucumber. Cuter than a bug (ugh!) I think you get my drift... I like your writing.

  3. I believe we make our own Heaven or Hell here on Earth. You can choose to be a negative person or choose to be a positive one. That choice will determine whether your day is good or bad. A smile can brighten someone's day and that can make your day go better too.

  4. Change is all we are and all we have. Beauty everywhere you choose to find it even an oilslick glistens with rainbows, refracting, the course of photons forever changed. Indeed everything beautiful you have ever seen has been touched by tiny subatomic particels that through chance or necessity came to nestle transiently in your retinae before rebounding off into the world. Everything is change and everytime we even look at something millions of other tiny things are being forever changed by the act of looking in and of itself. A subatomic cacophonic dance.