If I had the power to command landslides, the annual rate of landslides would increase significantly and give rise to a new period of theorizing—a thousand hands deep in the wild anxieties of geographers, who thought they understood stone but now are challenged at their core.
I predict resistance. I suspect some might refuse to accept the evidence of their senses, rejecting the unexpected turbulence disturbing the smooth curve of their established graphs and finding comfort in denial, in a steadfast reiteration of the “rules of landslides,” as if by making a mantra of former knowledge they could scare off new and inconvenient data.
I suspect some would simply be offended.
In others the call to action would be irresistible. I like to imagine them careening around in a new valence of excited activity, vomiting on their own shoes and demanding to speak before congress, rushing to publish, sick with the desire to be first, carrying a little knot of nausea about with them as they nervously check and recheck their instruments.
If I had the power to command landslides I’d bury someone under a landslide every day. Maybe I’d bury a geographer. Who knows. It’s hard to know things.
If I had the power to command landslides I’d make certain to bury unlikely animals underneath it (ex. predaceous birds) so that later excavators would wonder how they got there and have their sense of awe and mystery renewed.
If I had the power to command landslides I’d bury at least one human person per day because it is important to be relentless.
Sometimes I would bury lots of people because I am ambitious. Also, impatient.
If I had the power to command landslides, I would practice making landslides occur in unexpected locations (ex. a busy international airport) because I think it is important to be creative, and because it is important sometimes to interrupt.
It is not a nice thing to do—no one likes to be interrupted—but it might be a necessary thing to do. It’s difficult to tell.
LET US GO THEN, YOU AND I,
WITH THE EVENING SCRAPED ACROSS THE SKY
LIKE HALF REMEMBERED NIGHTMARES IN YOUR MIND;
LET US GO, THROUGH SHOPPING MALLS IN DECLINE
THE HIGH PITCHED WHINE
OF TEENAGE JACKALS CIRCLING PREY
AND UNKNOWN GROWLS ALONG THE WAY:
A TROUBLED LANDSCAPE THAT ASKS A QUESTION
O, DO NOT ASK, “WHAT IS THAT HISSING?”
”WHAT IS THAT VOICE INSIDE MY MIND?”
LET US INSTEAD RETIRE
IN THE LOUNGE AND ALLEYWAYS
TWISTED GRINS IN DARK CAFES
AND ANGRY BASS THAT COMES IN WAVES
RUBS ITS BACK AGAINST THE WINDOW-PANES
MOVES IN LIKE AN OPEN MOUTH AGAINST THE WINDOW
A FOGHORN TRYING TO DISASSEMBLE