What about the boy with the glasses slipping down his nose? She had wanted to reach out and touch his slender waist and ask him … ask him what?

Doesn't it all seem absurd to you? Why do we have no words for what we truly feel? What's wrong with our parents?

Nothing wrong at all with our parents, or their parents. Words fail us even as they sustain us. This is what we've recognised for a long time:


The truth that can be spoken is not the truth;
The name that can be spoken is not the real name.
Absence begets space;
Presence is in all things.
Possessing nothing, one peers into the heart of things;
Pursuing things, one sees only the visible.
Yet having and nothing are inseparable,
They come from the same source:
A mystery,
A mystery folded within itself,
A door to understanding all things.

And so we've always known that words cannot be trusted: they are rude attempts (everything is) at an approximation of the truth. Calling an apple an apple, knowing its name — this is not knowledge; it is only a label for something we don't understand. And yet we fool ourselves into thinking it is sufficient, that knowing the word for something somehow brings us closer to its truth. And so words are an illusion, they create the impression that we know, and by doing so hold reality at bay. I put words on the page night by night, and it sometimes seems enough, but I know I am getting nowhere. Yet they are all I have.


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