I don’t look at you

I could look at you
but my glasses are broken
I could smile at you
but my mouth is empty
I could talk to you
but my breath stinks.
I’ll see the doctor
taking up the the chemo gauntlet,
then I’ll sip a soup
rushing to the laundrette.
It’s all matter of time
it’s my last show
the world goes fast
and I go slow.
More than a man
I look like a tree
clinging to the roots
I imperceptibly move
the leaves abandon me
But with or without them
I know where I stand
and I know why.
A tree stands there
It does not chase you
if you want you can get closer to it
to rest a bit.
Only briefly though
it is still early
it is still time for you to gather
before planting yourself
before becoming a father.
A tree tells the truth
not every truth
but its own,
its trunk says it
and so its roots.
You see
I don’t look at you
I don’t smile at you
nor I talk
as you can see I’m in a hurry
I’m going to see the doctor
I’m a bit worried.
But you see,
if you don’t mind my empty mouth
if you don’t focus on my unpleasant breath
then would you stop for a little while
here with me?
Please take an ax
break me into two!
Count my circles!
Seek my truth!
It’s all here.
it’s a gift
not a hook.
Because in the end
do I care about the doctor?
about the gauntlet?
and the soup?
and the laundrette?
I’d rather fatigue
in another way
maybe I would try
to still intrigue.

Published by silvialazzaris

Italian writer based in the UK.

2 thoughts on “I don’t look at you

  1. Overall I like it, even if I can’t understand a few passages. I don’t understand why the old man tells the reader to break him into two parts. Ok, it is the tree which is saying so, but this doesn’t really fit the old man so I find it quite inappropriate…
    I also need to know something about your idea of “the truth”, since I don’t understand why an old man should represent a form of truth. I have never felt that the old people are offering me some kind of truth as a gift. For instance I can mention my grandparents; I don’t feel they give me something apart from some grandparent-grandchildren love. Should I consider it a form of truth?
    I could exaggerate this idea and make it suitable to describe some form of interaction old-young. But I can’t see any truth into it. I see an old man who tries to give something back to someone who might continue his legacy. What is “his truth”? I don’t feel I have any truth and I don’t see truth in the people around me. Please, help me…

    1. Dear Frank,
      thank you for the intensity of your reading and for pushing me to make clear what I meant. I will try to explain all my choices. Let’s start from the image of the tree. You find inappropriate that the old man asks to break him into two parts. I chose deliberately this rude image for its power: the man is there for you. You can do whatever you want with him. He gives to you his life, he wants to be seen. You can crack his code. And not only he does not mind, but he wants it. This is not his weakness, but his strength. He does not need any shields anymore. All the layers of an entire life, they can fall now to let you see the core. He does not mind anymore. Nay, he minds you to know, to come and see what he has discovered. His words need not to be actions anymore, but pure descriptions. All he can do now, is to give to you his core. Are his words true? I guess it depends on the idea you have of truth. And here I can answer your second perplexity. You say you don’t feel you have any truth and you don’t see truth in the people around you. I could reply: perhaps you need to look better?

      What is truth, then? Of course we can seek, talk and debate about universal laws, mathematical theories, objective facts. But in the end every existence is lived in an intrinsically local way, through the categories that filtered and influenced the events. Does this mean that everything can only be read under a perspective and therefore that there is not any definitive truth? I do not engage with such a conclusion. I don’t like it, I find it an easy linguistic game. During our lifetimes, something happens. We constantly try to make sense of our lives, perhaps often we are even terrible at making sense of things and of ourselves. We do something, and then we ask “Why did I do it?”. Even if we’re wrong in our understanding, we always need to give ourselves reasons for our behaviour, for that of others, for that of nature. And these reasons and explanations become the guidelines of our existence. Maybe they constantly change, we change with them, our behaviour changes with them. But every time we are happy with some guidelines, it is because they help us in having a coherent standpoint on our past and on people’s behaviours. These core meanings that we assign are our way of making sense of our lives. They are our truths. The old man wants to give to you his truth. Maybe you can discuss it. Maybe you will be able, more than him, to see all his assumptions. You can discover what went wrong in his self-narration. But especially in his mistakes, you will be able to see his truth. Because he has decided not to hide any perspective, he has decided to uncover all his mechanisms, for you. He will tell you what his life was about. What life is about, for him. He does not pretend to have the truth. He has his truth: which is the world from a very specific standpoint, his own.

      His perspective is the one that is rooted, as a tree, on a specific point on earth.

      You can either decide that nobody has any truth, or that everyone has some. I definitely go for the latter.

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