Sunday, April 8, 2018

Having, at Its End, a Second, and Almost Blank-Faced, Reward


Anne Boyer

There are  at  least two  types of people,  the  first for  whom the  ordinary
worldliness is easy.  The  regular  social routines  and  material  cares  are
nothing too external to them and easily absorbed. They are not alien from
the  creation  and  maintenance of the world, and the world does not treat
them  as  alien. And also, from  them, the efforts  toward the world, and to
them,  the  fulfillment  of the  world's  moderate desires, flow. They are ef-
fortless at eating, moving, arranging their arms as they sit or stand,  being
hired, being paid, cleaning up,  spending, playing, mating.  They are in an
ease and comfort. The world is for the world and for them.

Then there are those over whom the events and opportunities of the every-
day  world wash  over.  There  is  rarely,  in this  second type, any easy kind
of absorption.  There  is only  a  visible  evidence  of having  been made of a
different  substance,  one that  repels.  Also, from them,  it is almost impos-
sible  to  give  to  the  world  what  it will  welcome or reward. For how does
this  second  type  hold  their arms?  Across their chest? Behind their back?
And  how  do  they  find  food  to eat  and  then prepare this food? And how
do  they  receive  a  check or endorse it? And what also of the difficulties of
love  or  being loved, its  expansiveness,  the way it is used for markets and
indentured moods?

And what is this  second  substance?  And how does it come  to have as one
of  its  qualities  the  resistance of the world  as it is?  And also,  what is  the
person  made  of  the  second  substance?   Is this a  human or more or  less
than one? Where is the true impermeable community of the second human
whose  arms  do  not  easily  arrange  themselves and for whom the salaries
and  weddings  and  garages do not come?

These are, perhaps, not two sorts of persons, but two kinds of fortune. The
first is soft and regular. The second is a baffled kind, and magnetic only  to
the second substance, and made itself out of a different, second, substance,
and having, at its end, a second, and almost blank-faced, reward.


  1. Boyer's poem really speaks to me. I always liked the short version of it, from the movie Bull Durham, of all places - "the world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness".

  2. (Delivered with a flat, nasal, coastal-Maine twang:) " Whirld made f'people who ahn't cursed w' self-awahrness'?? Sounds like a whorld made f' Trump, then; ayuh."