The bus is crowded. It's the morning rush.
I'm reading Francis Fergusson on how
"drama is an art which eventuates in words,
but which in its essence is more primitive."
A fight breaks out at Ninety-Sixth and Fifth
around the choked doors--some libidinal spark,
almost unnoticed, just a touch, a gaze
gone wrong, the whispered poison of a phrase--
and two men beat each other with their fists
without a word. Backward and down the stairwell
they plunge like one convulsive animal,
each broken from the moment's smeared surfaces
into a more perfect concentration
on how the other might be best undone,
after long years, the infant wish fulfilled
to remake, with bare hands, the rude flawed world.
Watching, I feel the rise of bliss and shame,
covert, defiant, envious of such freedom,
and then compose myself to better hear,
with the remoteness of a thing apart,
that hard birth, now expelled onto the street,
the slack language of flesh receiving blows--
in which consists "the tragic sense of life"
(the phrase, says Fergusson, is Unamuno's).
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.