J. went to Canada again, came back again. Before that we all went to Washington state together. Chorus of ravens, chorus of loons. In the café of sleep I order a macchiato and the barista asks me for a favorite phrase.
“I’ve always been partial to, ineluctable modality of the visible.”
“I am not going to call that out when your macchiato is ready.”
“Clever boy!” breaks in a second, obviously hostile barista; “learned your ABCs a long time before everyone else, didn’t you? Why don’t you learn some new ABCs, that no one’s ever seen before, and fuck up Unicode for good?”
I stand my ground, inwardly writhing, till the macchiato is brewed.
The end of Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau moves from tides to texts, bringing together three in particular: Tlingit folklore of scarcity and contingent misfortune; the last stanzas of Cowper’s Castaway; and the Marcus Aurelius prized by his deceased father. “You cannot hope to be a scholar. But what you can do is curb arrogance....”
The priest who officiates Monday nights at the zendo asks (in contrast to usual custom) that tonight’s service be dedicated in mind to her sister, who is at the crux of a long illness. The server asks if a different text should be substituted for the usual Heart Sutra. “No, no,” with a melancholy smile, “everything’s in the Heart Sutra, really.”