BORN LATE

We have been told — again and again — all our lives — (quietly at first, and then to a deafening pitch) — that it’s been getting late. That something should have been done a long time since. That it’s too far gone, that we missed our shot, that we’re down to scrabbling over breadcrumbs.


Few people seem willing to speak about the cadence of a late hour, however: what it brings, and what it calls for.


The late hour bathes in shadows. It coaxes lullabies. It conceives of rest. It swallows hard facts whole, and turns them into equivocations. Its condition is stirred by perceptions as light or as scarce as hairs of silk; that which would not even factor as a mirage to the harsh figurations of midday.


You and I were born late. So why keep time? I think that disavowal of inherent clarity, the subtle yield towards gravity, is the grounds for our resistance to this long and disconcerting day. And we can resist things, not on their own terms, but in another register. That is, falling gracefully. Preventing a fruit declared rotten from being in waste. Refusing to concede our lives to despair. The regenerative art of
decay.


You know what lateness feels like to me? It feels like nascency. Like a moment of awe inside a garden that has flowered from uranium. Like a child’s will to strike a match. Like the playground of visions that exhales from the wreckage of another ruined state.

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