Self Conscious, the J Eric Miller blog

Friday, November 05, 2004

Perfect Witness

--I don’t jog. I run. As if away from something. But I tell myself it is toward something.

All these fallen steps.

All these lifted weights.

What are you doing?

--Can exercise be found in the wild animal world?

Does the Rhino try to build his stamina?

The chimp his physique?

--And those Ancient sculptures, did people make themselves look like that, or were those bodies imaged by the sculptors?

What save the crudest exercise equipment have they unearthed digging through the trashheaps and graveyards of people five thousand years dead?

--The burn of real exercise connects me to every similar moment.

The way the moments in which you think you are going to die are all exactly the same.

The way the moment in which you come has at its core an exact match to all the other times you’ve come.

The way in the face of death and orgasm you are reduced to justwhoyouare and justwhoyouhavealwaysbeen and jsutwhoyouwillalwaysbe, the way you become justyoursoul, neatly packaged and ready for transport or blackness.

Delivering seed to nothing or something or you to just the same.

--So I run. And sometimes after the second wind, when the burn takes over and the mind by necessity goes soft, I am lost to the now.

I am just stumbling off the mat after a match, fifteen years old, so fatigued, so empty, that when I allow myself to sit, I’ll not be able to stand again for half an hour; I’ll not be able to take the top off a bottle of Gatorade.

--We build these bodies not so that we will live longer or do our labors better or win our battles.

We’re not professional athletes. We’re not handtohandcombat soldiers. We’re not the builders of pyramids, the haulers of stone.

We are waiting for somebody to come along and sketch us.

We say:
What good is art without an audience?
What good this body without witness?

--Winning is not an addiction. It is a mandate.

After the match, you clasp the hand of the boy you’ve beaten and what you feel for him is genuine love because he has validated your superiority.

And at the bar, when the girls trace the lines on your belly with their fingernails while your friend stands by, his own hands folded on his own soft stomach, what you feel for him is that same love because he has acted as your foil.

And so on.

--It is easier to learn to accept loss young.

Those that are used to winning age without grace; they age viciously and bitterly, because it cannot always be so.

--You lift the weight up, you lower it down. You do it again. You stride. You stride. You will lift and you will run and you will lie with your back on the floor and you will tighten your gut and curl your spine and you will do it again and again.

You will have lifted a billion pounds. You will have run a million miles.

When you lift very hard, when you run very real, you will create a continuity.

All these moments of pain going numb will be connected, and they will link as well to all the other moments of false death, and that one and final moment of true death.

One can know you by drawing lines between those dots.

Therein is the framework of your sculpture.

If there is such a one that can connect them. If there is such a witness as that.

--CB writes: Believe in my inoccence, and I'll consider yours.