Friday, January 18, 2008


It’s fucking cold and I hushed up for the proscribed silence. What am I supposed to feel? Even though I’m in a public space, I feel like I’m violating somebody’s privacy. Even though I am inside the walls, my detachment to those remembered here make me feel like an outsider. At how many points have I crossed these invisible lines of inside and outside and public and private?
I scrutinized the two main hills, the smaller one was punctured by gravestones while the other was not. Shit. Thousands of dead people—corpses—are in a grid under my feet. It’s a weird thing to think about, but not particularly sad. It’s difficult to feel moved by any individual life marked these gravestones. I tried. Only funny names (Pickle, Wayne Warren Wagonseller), job titles (soldier-lawyer-senator, cheerleader captain), obscure or trite phrases (“servant of god and man,” “joins the choir invisible”) and occasional simplistic pictures (pelican, scale) are etched into these unnatural rocks. But even so, I am painfully aware of my aloofness because there is an inescapable, oppressive intimacy here. Probably in every cemetery.
I don’t know someone buried in the ground. The person I loved who died was burned. And it’s strange to think that he could have had a small space in a place like this somewhere. A plot of land and box proportioned to his body.
I pictured the thousands of boxes buried a few feet under the grassy hill. I unpictured them and decided to climb to the top of the big, barren hill instead. It was even colder up there, and windier. The Texas flag flapped wildly. But it was perfect. The grass at the top of the hill stopped at a stone ring. This ring encircled a dirt ground with a small tree in the middle. It was finally a place that felt right—somewhere sacred in this cemetery where I would like to lie. So I did. Although I was in an outside, public space—at that moment—to me, I was inside and it was private. My fingers froze while I clasped the invisible city and absorbed fantastical fears. The moment was over; I stuffed the papers in my bag and ran down the hill. Gravity pulled.

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