Friday, July 20, 2007

more from 50 Ways to Break Your Heart

Lesson Five

Pick anything, anyone. Make them into to something greater than they are. This is a familiar activity. Remember when you cast that bastard as a revolutionary hero? Remember all that political rhetoric you used to swaddle your own heart?

The easiest solution is to make him her or her him. Some kind of biochemical transition. There’s always that Indian boy who knows enough about women to know they are not born as such; it is something they choose to become. Grammatically speaking there are two ways of being, some assignment the nouns take. But gender is as infinite as sound. Indonesian gamelan ensembles often include three gendér. Most heartbreaks involve three bodies. The best boys were once girls. That girl, the one who broke your heart, she was a boy once too.

Lesson Six

You were an anarchist as a teenager. Stole canned goods from supermarkets and spent four days in the desert with a punk rock band and an assault rifle. This earned you a picture on the back cover of their record album. It was a hot, bright afternoon. You were drinking beer in your pajamas, some teenage girl in a dry riverbed. Later things took a turn for the worse. During a break in the set, the drummer took the rifle and scanned targets from the ridge. It did in fact seem anarchistic. The other band members sat drinking in their chairs but you and the other girl decided to run. You figured he was too drunk to manage distance and movement. But your departure signaled you both as prey. In the end, nobody died. You all drove back to the city together in the same broken down van. After that, it became hard to imagine the enduring benefits of a lifetime dedicated to such social disorder. You turned instead to communism, to labor and books. This would prove to be equally disappointing. But by then you were older. Disappointment was easier to bear.

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