Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I leave at twilight in a reflective vest and striped gloves and run west towards an unspectacular sunset, toward the river running behind the big Iowneverything houses. The oak groves are mostly gone now but for the larger properties where a few clusters still stand. This all was once a mature savannah of deciduous trees and, I like to imagine, dappled light. Twittering, scampering, dropping acorns. Instead, the cars rush past me with an absurd sense of entitlement. The setting sun is so bland, almost utilitarian this night while the deep blue east is soulful and sublime.

This is my first run in a week thanks to the sudden germyspectacular company of 569 million children who swarm the halls where I now work. I see them, the claims adjusters and porn stars and suicides of tomorrow, so much bruising and loss ahead of them. So much impatience and melancholy and mediocrity forever waiting for a moment of explosive joy that will make it mostly worth another day. They are so adorable I don't even mind getting a little sick.

I have overestimated my health tonight and by the second mile feel tiredness seep from the outside all the way in. Still, when I slow to a walk an hour later I'm almost doubled over with the fervor and bigness and lust of endorphins.

Sometimes when I pass someone on the street I see them in a slick of blood, or maybe with hands bruised around their throats. It isnt that I can psychically intuit their real death, but that a death will unfold for each of them, that perhaps the final chain of events has already begun... that fascinates me to no end. I roll it around in my mouth like a marble and pocket it in my cheek, I feel for its shape under my skin. They all will die. I will die.

It is life in the meantime that I am running from. They will all die but they will have fought endless battles, against time, against futility, against themselves and against others. Every moment of joy will exact its price, then pain its rewards. Life and its seasons are infinite but predictable and I can't stand the cliche. I am facing inward all the time for a split second of control, a moment that I can wield with pure grace.

In the face of all that what else can I do? Out here on the road I can choose the way I feel pain. The way I see it, running is more then a mere act of rebellion, it is an act of extortion.

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