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“Blurtso parrots Papa” (IV)

 

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The terry-cloth towel hung from the hook to the left of the sink. It was stained with old blood that had dried and new blood that had not. The blade of the razor rested on a bar of soap and its handle rested on the sink. The basin was streaked with remnants of stubble and soap.

Nick returned to the kitchen when he heard the coffee. He turned off the flame and poured the thick liquid into a small cup. He added a teaspoon of sugar and stirred it with the spoon. He felt the salt air blow through the window. He could taste it on his lips.

Jim will be waiting, he thought, taking a sip from the cup. He was glad he had somewhere to go. Glad he had a reason to shave. He took another sip and picked at a crumb on the table. Any reason is enough, he thought.

“Blurtso parrots Papa” (III)

 

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The sun after the rain dried the rain into steam and the steam drenched the street and the bay. Jim’s shirt clung to his neck and his arms beaded with sweat. His arms beaded and his eyebrows glistened with sweat.

In the dark his eyebrows still glistened and from his bed he heard the late voices rise from the bay. He heard a door open and he heard a door close and a streetlight cast a shadow on the wall. The streetlight cast the shadow of the window shutter on the wall. The mattress grew damp where his body touched the mattress and he shifted from where his body touched the mattress. Sweat beaded at the creases of his arms at his elbows and ran to his elbows. Sweat beaded on his neck and ran along the creases and ran behind his ears. “When this is over,” he said, “thirty nights will be remembered as one.”

The shadow of the shutter in the lamplight grew dim in the brightness when the late voices became early voices rising from the bay.

“Blurtso parrots Papa” (II)

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The people were standing until they sat down. The sunlight through the window was bright on the floor. It fell on the side of Jim’s shoe and cast a shadow on his other shoe.

A bell rang and a person he couldn’t see went somewhere he couldn’t see.

The dust on the floor remained on the floor and didn’t hang in the air. The people that were sitting began to lie down. The shadow from Jim’s shoe stretched to the cuff of his other leg.

A bell rang and a person he couldn’t see went somewhere he couldn’t see.

“Blurtso parrots Papa” (I)

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What’s that? said Alex. It’s something I wrote for my Literature class. Your literature class? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, the assignment was to imitate a twentieth century American author. Who did you choose? I chose Hemingway, would you like to hear what I wrote? I’d love to, said Alex.

“I suppose that’s that, said Nick.
“I suppose so,” said Jim.
“I would have thought it would be longer,” said Nick.
“Or shorter,” said Jim.
The wind was in the trees and the wind was on the roof and Nick slumped in his chair and Jim slumped in his chair. The darkness grew until the voices were only two dark chairs talking. The voice of Nick’s chair said, “I suppose this is what the room sounds like when no one’s here.”
“Yes,” said the voice from Jim’s chair, “the sound of the wind on the walls of an empty room.”
“Do you suppose this is what death is like?” said the voice from Nick’s chair.
“Two voices in an empty room?” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices,” said Nick’s chair, “with no objects to distract them.”
“And no words,” said Jim’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Nick’s chair.
“Two voices and the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
“Or just the wind?” said Nick’s chair.
“Or just the wind,” said Jim’s chair.
The dark chairs sat in the sound of the wind and were dark.

“Blurtso gets a gift”

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I brought you a book, said Pablo. A book? said Blurtso. Yes, said Pablo, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Oh boy! said Blurtso. A Cookbook!

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These are the longest recipes I’ve ever seen!

“Weohryant University” (XXII) – What 101

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The question for today’s class, said Blurtso, is: “What is the difference between sympathy and empathy?”
Sympathy and empathy? said Morton.
“Sympathy,” said Glouster, “is a relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other.”
And empathy? said Chelsea.
“Empathy,” said Glouster, “is the capacity for experiencing as one’s own the feelings of another.”
That sounds like the same thing, said Frank.
Both words, said Glouster, come from the Greek word, “pathos,” meaning, “suffering, emotion, passion.” In Greek “sym” means “with” and “em” means “in.” So sympathy is “suffering with” another, while empathy is “suffering in” another.
I still don’t understand, said Morton.
Isn’t that the same as compassion? said Emma Lou.
“Compassion,” said Glouster, is “sorrow or pity aroused by the suffering of another.” It is derived from the Latin words “com” or “with” and “passion” or “suffering.”
So “compassion,” said Emma Lou, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “sympathy.”
Exactly, said Glouster.
That still doesn’t tell me, said Morton, the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Both words, said Glouster, imply a relationship, or “oneness” between the subject and object, between the “sympathizer” and the other.
Just like in the Upanishads, said Emma Lou, and the Tao Te Ching. Both books talk about the oneness of all things, that separation is just an illusion.
The gospel of Matthew, said Glouster, says “love your enemies.”
Does it say you and your enemies are one? said Emma Lou.
Not exactly, said Glouster, but it goes on to say, “I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
That’s pretty much the same thing, said Chelsea.
The gospel of John, said Glouster, says, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Isn’t that compassion? said Chelsea.
“Compassion,” said Emma Lou, is feeling someone else’s pain as your own. The way to do that is not to see others as separate from you.
One hundred fourteen of the one hundred fifteen verses of the Quran, said Frank, begin with “In the name of Allah the compassionate, the merciful…”
Ommmm, said moose.
What? said Glouster.
I think he said “Ommmm,” said Frank.
Ommmm (phonetically “aum”), said Emma Lou, is from the Upanishads, it is the monosyllable which contains all syllables and all sounds. It represents the oneness underlying multiplicity—the non-duality of “Brahman” beneath the dualism and illusion of “Maya.”
The illusion of Maya? said Morton.
The illusion that we are not all one, said Emma Lou.
So compassion, said Frank, is recognizing—beyond the illusion of separation—that we are all one?
Exactly, said Emma Lou.
I still don’t understand, said Morton, the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Think of it this way, said Glouster. When someone is suffering because of a specific situation, but you have not experienced that situation yourself, you can only sympathize with them, but if you have experienced that same situation, you can empathize.
That’s very confusing, said Chelsea.
Yes, said Morton, I feel exactly the same way.

“Roman Clair” (VIII)

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“There was nothing there and everything. There were no words of love and no words for love. There were no words. He was in his and she was in hers. And hers was everything when hers was in his. But his was nothing when his was in hers.”

“Roman Clair” (VII)

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“Because he had to do what he had to do, he couldn’t see what he wanted to see, and he couldn’t see what he wanted to see because he had to see what he had to see. But she could see what she wanted to see, when she wasn’t doing what she had to do, and he was seeing what he wanted to see.”

“Roman éClair” (VI)

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“He didn’t notice when she came in because he wasn’t there, but when he was he clearly noticed, but pretended not to notice, that she was clearly there. He pretended not notice, so that no one else would notice, that he had clearly noticed that she was clearly there. But she had clearly noticed that he had clearly noticed, and she was clearly there.”