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Human Condition

Hard not to wake at least somewhat cheerful

when you can listen to Angela Hewitt playing Couperin

in the morning and the dogwood's blooming

and you have a lover--not a perfect one,

mind you, but it's hardly a world meant

for perfection anyway--and, yes, back pain

of course, high cholesterol, very little socked away

for retirement, but so what? Aphrodisia will

always find its little nooks and crannies, flesh

grows timid and begins to sag with gravity's

insistence, and there are creams, now, for

everything and, for the truly vain, surgery.

For others, like the beautiful actress killed

just this week in a freak skiing accident, there's

simply a haphazard life expectancy, not something

we will know about definitively until it happens,

and then, wherever it finds us, must celebrate

as well. From the missionary position, all

may be sweetness and light for awhile, but

then, all such nonsense aside, the conviviality

of the everyday eventually triumphs, no matter

what happens to AIG and Lehman. Birds

are all asong in the fir outside, a mass of

foreclosures puckers forth from all sides.

Brethren of the mid-range, be with me tonight--

dreams will come again, the good and the bad

of them, and the short sale of the afterlife

will surely garner less than the balance owed,

but leave us free and clear to progress with

the future. Grief, whenever it touches us,

should do so lightly, as should joy. Look

out the window: trees and sky, birdsong and

the wild graffiti of the everyday, just this life

and the next one--all out there for the asking,

much like the garbage, waiting to be taken away.

By Michael Blumenthal