Tonight I contemplated the animal quality of fire, the way it hunts for fuel and moves like it wants to live.

I also pondered two separate phone calls with friends on either side of the country and opposite ends of the political spectrum. They each described vivid fears of violence in the wake of the election. They both idly wondered if they should buy a gun. (And no, they shouldn’t because that’s not helpful.) But fuck. This is the mood these days. The reassurances I tried to offer in these conversations left me feeling like a Pollyanna: the fringes have hijacked our screens and the media magnifies conflict—but most of us are peaceful and kind, even when we’re incoherent and foolish and scared. This election will be ugly, but we will survive and perhaps be better for it, now that we sense how fragile things can be.

And I believe these things tonight. Or at least, I don’t see the upshot to amplifying fear. But I’m chilled by how quickly phrases like “the other side” have become so natural, even in my own thinking. Because that’s the grammar of war.


Yellow Swans – Burnt Dub

Deterioration Yellow Swans | Modern Radio, 2008 | Bandcamp
Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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