Silence by Laura Jean Moore

My fetish is silence. My computer is off. I have read the noise. The brain sorts. Biohazard butterfly still inside me. I could tell you that I am okay, that these two months have been hard but we’ll make it through, like we do, like we do. But I won’t.

I am more interested in the boundaries of disaster. I saw the edge of Hurricane Matthew from the mountain top and it was swirling south over the home I had abandoned: catastrophe has its own shape (or shapes?). It is happening, now, otherwhere. It is happening in slow motion. Hear the reassurances—that is the first clue.

I cried after the election. Did you take a shower too?

I am not okay. I know it is a crime to admit weakness in America—unless you splay yourself like a sacrifice, strip off the skin, become unsalvageable—but that’s not my style. Instead, I wake up five years older every day.

The silence has clues.

I consider a new conspiracy theory: there are no secrets, just context and distraction. The cycle of scandals eliminates the power of scandal. If I look into a canopy and do not see a bobcat, it does not mean the bobcat is not there. What truth is self-evident? What truth is complex?

The boy who cried wolf was eaten by the wolf.

I was found out, if found out can mean someone at work discovered that I write and read what I had written. I stare at my cat’s eyes and wonder what it is like to live without (a? any.) culture. Shame is good for enforcement, but only when the shamed shares the same values as the shamers. My cat is a predator. She eats without guilt.

I forget my own story every day.

Conformity demands psychological violence to avoid physical violence. But uniformity is a lie. Tolerance is not enough. Pluralism requires the acceptance of discomfort. Your right to the pursuit of happiness ends the minute my civil and human rights are threatened by that pursuit. And vice versa.

Can there be intimacy in a sexuality of power?

Every book is a cave. I disappear. I reemerge in gasping breaths. Tye had a panic attack in the school library this week. Tornadoes of answers, pieced and hidden behind broken spines. Human societies have failed to evolve beyond a model of social, cultural, and environmental parasitism.

Freddie Gray’s murderers got off scot free.

Freedom is wasted on the mediocre. We are changing ourselves. We resemble the products of mass production and embody the thinking of digital algorithms, rather than asking our tools to better reflect ourselves. What of fear? What of love?

I am writing an alternative history. Maximum inefficiency. Treasure from trash. I love the smell of rot, because it is a sign of life. Only the artificial is antiseptic. Let me smell dancers, sweating in the sun. The gospel of order is the law of death. They will tell you otherwise and it will sound like truth. Do not be fooled by power. There are always bones behind the gold.

Laura Jean Moore

Laura Jean Moore’s poetry, essays, and stories have been featured in VICE, [PANK], the EEEL, FLUX WEEKLY, ENTROPY, the Brooklyn Rail, Corium, the Cobalt Review, andChange Seven, where she is a monthly columnist. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Reed College.

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