I intended to put this up last Friday, when it was written, but stuff happened.
Friday is an uncomplicated day for me usually. I have few classes to teach, it is the end of the week and the weekend arrives the moment I get on my bicycle to come home. It makes for a good day for some mild consideration of what the past week has brought, what I remember telling myself I want to do better with next week and so on. All very practically, occupationally minded I should add; certainly nothing as esoteric as meditation, not by even the most liberal of interpretations. Fridays like this one are the ones that I both relish and in no small part, loathe for the amount of time I am left with on my hands. It is, on the one hand, nice to be able to spend my time not trying to coax recalcitrant students to learn something they hate; that their popular culture dictates is ‘uncool’; that their government thoughtlessly demands they must learn. Some days are like trying to wrestle a Hindu deity crossed with a Titan while one of my arms is tied behind my back. It also affords me an excess of thoughts, resurgences of regrets and bad memories, the ever penetrating wail of self-doubt and… other such things. Worst of all, it is the most gorgeous late winters day outside and I have no recourse but to remain at my desk. The bastardized dictates of one country’s values being warped by another country’s values before being poured upon us through the hose of an era more than fifty years past; I have no stomach for it.
When I say that I have no love for this kind of working culture, I don’t mean it in the all too prosaic and pubescent ‘I don’t want to work!’ That shrill whine is close to a decade behind me now and I will assuredly got tet a tet with whomever thinks to call me on that. This kind of working culture is more than just the particular style I am in now, the pointlessly rigid Japanese public school system where teachers are not teachers but public servants (really, I’m serious. Public school teachers are public servants who teach; all of the work of a teacher and none of the typical ‘benefits’ such as not having to be at working during the holidays – lengthy ones or otherwise). I mean the culture that dictates that who you are is what your job is, that your entire existence as a human being is determined by your form of employment. It really affronts me that we have let ourselves be boiled down to such as meaningless, soulless integer of our worth as a person. The culture that demands we spend our lives working towards some ethereal purpose like Career or Success. When it took time and real effort to do something for another person, even then we did not fuse ourselves to the task of our day. We did that task in a time, then let it be. We could still remember what it was to be human, a part of the existence when inhabit. We don’t even consider these days, what can make the doing of the task at hand better.
Other things happen on days like today however, like this:
Things like this poetry are the closest that I get to anything truly meaningful as far as ritual or worship are concerned. The small kernel of an idea that starts from a whim and becomes a raw outpouring of something from me; my head aches afterwards, like its being pinched somewhere and pulled inwards and in every direction all at once. It is something that I certainly can’t explain any better and I couldn’t even say if it was from focusing on something so much for so long or because of something else. Its definitely one thing however. A release. It is something that I can count on, this kind of explosive act. I wouldn’t say that I am impassioned when I do it, so much as possessed. Driven, but in a cold way like it is a mania compelling to literally and figuratively get the words out of me. It mercilessly abrades every single piece of congestion that I am wrapped up in.