the sons of man

Magritte.  The Son of Man.

Seen and unseen. Thought and not-thought.

Henry sits down and looks out the window and tries to think, for just a moment, about what he doesn’t want to think about. About the thing he knows is there, but can’t quite work out.

“Down the drain. Down the stairs. Out the door. Hit the floor!”

It’s like counting sheep for the…

“Wide awake and ruminate!”

Sometimes he wishes his brain would stop. Would freeze. Right there. Right now. Right where it is. But this invariably leads him to thinking about how horrible something like not thinking would be.

“I’d be a vegetable! And vegetables are dull. Dull as beetroot. Boring as cabbage soup. Potato head! Not really a term of endearment, is it? No one likes vegetables. No one wants to be like a vegetable.”

He thinks all this in one long solid thought. And it makes him tired.

But still, he thinks. And he keeps on thinking and wishing he couldn’t and knowing, all the same, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Because Henry keeps company with misery just like his neighbours keep company with each other and the hands of a clock keep company with the time.

Because misery – and this is the thing that’s seen and unseen and something he no longer tries to dissuade himself of – misery is the only thing he has in common with every other human being on the planet; and “…aint that just a bitch.”

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  • JP Fanshawe
    Sep 30, 2009 at 1:07

    “And he keeps on thinking and wishing he couldn’t…” So, thinking is misery? And misery is all Henry has in common with everyone? Maybe not for your character, but there is joy, too. We all have joy in common, as well. At least I hope so…this is interesting paired with the famous painting. Was it an exercise orginating from the art?

    And really interesting after your last post…shells of thought. Comments are off there, but, repsect for the youthful Pound notwithstanding, he did wind up endorsing fascism…which might have been (I hope) insanity, but could also have reflected an elitism that would allow him to say that “most people” only experience “shells of thought.” Which is to say that Ezra found his experience superior to others…when all that was really superior was his ability to articulate that experience.

  • JP Fanshawe
    Sep 30, 2009 at 1:08

    Of course…I am, in all likelihood, similarly elitist, now that I think about it. I hope I don’t wind up reading news reports for fascist radio stations!

  • Stephanie Klein
    Oct 6, 2009 at 19:25

    Absolutely loved this!