Because the pathetic aspire 
to be sympathetic, need is often created 
out of desire. It's as if you innocently planted the seed 
of destruction in your vegetable garden 
but forgot to water it: now you'll have to discontent yourself 
with what you don't have. A long, fallow period follows 
during which, as they say, one learns to do without 
a specific dream while waiting for the raincheck, 
but when you think about it you're forced to conclude 
that all those clouds of consolations massing ahead 
aren't necessarily (in fact probably aren't) storm clouds, 
just some steam let off 
by the lake. And what a disappointment that is.

Oh, I know, sometimes we almost feel 
that if misunderstandings gradually accrue 
at the rate of even one per day, it is only a matter of time 
before a cloudburst will bring it all back 
down to earth. No matter what one says it is bound 
to be taken in the wrong way… 
But inadequacy works in both directions: we miss each other 
because we miss each other. Nobody thinks through their fingertips anymore. 
Perhaps it is a pity that we lack 
a word to capture the unique aroma of coffee, 
that our speech is wizened and anemic, remote 
from taste, touch, and our other six senses. Conviction must thicken its own texture, 
grow gnarled and close-grained but in doing so remain 
as transitory as a summer wind whispering through trees 
with the sound of running water… Something like this 
ought to find its way into a conversation someday: a break 
or lull in the interaction that broaches and breeches 
the subject in a single, spontaneous gesture 
not yet hardened into habit. Which brings us

to the next point, namely that 
we are pacing the circumference of an enormous circle, 
and in this, our arena of action, 
a perpetual "and yet" has been inscribed 
so that a kind of running solution is effected: 
we must take our cue neither from the good old things 
nor from the bad new things, but, as it were, 
from the bad old things and their more equivocal recent apparitions, 
savoring the scents of the instants 
the way couples in a park love each other so effortlessly. And yet, 
surely to do this, even in gesture, is a blunder. It may turn out 
that it bears a superficial resemblance to the world around 
or inside of us, though superficial is no doubt the word- 
it's amazing what some people will do in the name of intimacy. 
Soon the storm blowing from heaven to which we've come 
to give the name "progress" will disperse as suddenly as it erupted, 
and since there seems to be no way of getting around the notion 
that we all rely on a certain "authenticity effect," 
there is also no lack in trying 
having failed, so that even now we are not quite failing 
to deviate from what we never exactly already were, 
or as someone I care about very much once said, 
"Almost everybody has this theory that everybody else 
has a fascinating social life."

Not everything we will need or desire to know 
will be satisfied in the question and answer period 
that follows the event: this much seems certain. 
But just as pedestrians and cyclists can't ever really 
peacefully coexist, there is a tension involved, 
and to involve ourselves with the dispute makes us realize more 
often than not we are the product of choices 
we never made, so that the so-called "timeless" 
are really no more than rhetorical questions 
and in fact may be said to have acquired in poignancy 
what they've lost in relevancy: desire is conserved, 
but only at the cost of living, which is rising, but then 
it's always the moment when you're about to say something 
in the tone of "a postcard would have been nice" 
that fresh possibilities unfold the way flowers do 
in time-lapse photography, 
and every time you step into the shower 
another day goes by.

To think that it all began with the kid 
who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar, 
wrenching chaos out of order.