Balthus Van Tassel

Crazy people live normal lives

We inhabit an abbreviated world. A hasty world, dash and dart, life at a sprint. We’re all initials, contractions, shorthand, and shortcuts. Can’t wait, gotta go, tl;dr, kthxbai.

We were together I forget the rest

No time for punctuation, give us the bones and we’ll imagine the flesh, just lay out what’s important. Condense the poem, cut the fat, exclude detail, summarize. Can’t wait, gotta go, kthxbai.

Many of us hear a quiet, unhurried voice suggesting we slow down. Decelerate. Take our time, look around, appreciate what’s there. It’s a voice we should listen to. But there are times it deserves to be ignored. There are times when what’s there is only there for a moment. Times when we haven’t a moment to wait, to read the whole thing, to spell it all out.

Walt Whitman made a brief visit to New Orleans in 1848. He intended to get a quick sense of the city in preparation for a longer visit in the future. But he met somebody. And eventually wrote a poem about it.

     ONCE I pass’d through a populous city imprinting my brain for
future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,
     Yet now of all that city I remember only a woman I casually met
there who detain’d me for love of me,
     Day by day and night by night we were together—all else has
long been forgotten by me

Shows, architecture — forgotten. Customs, tradition — blotted out. Detain’d for love, that’s what Whitman remembered. We were together. I forget the rest. I have to leave. Thank you so very much. Goodbye.

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