by Michael Snediker
Allez,Â allez, I leave a radio like a light on for my return from campus the way Mrs.Â SnedikerÂ left Katie Couric velveteening for the golden retrievers who might well preferÂ less Katie more quiet, all the more so as hours melt the morning, Katie becoming more nasal, less paidÂ television friend versions of herself. I like returning to my radio friends.Â In lieu of dogs I dote onÂ this ghoulish sadness that cares beyond itself, punctiliously, about Katie Couricâ€™s heels; it astounds me upon myÂ Â return that the ghoulish sadness can be so dire when it comes to the worldâ€™s hostile, dubious relation to my buoyance, but out of nowhere isÂ oh wow, those shoes. The things on which it has opinions. Gay sadness, the leashes I give. Thatâ€™s the sadness, the radio in part being onÂ for it,Â Â to keep it occupied in my absence; ditto my returns from campus, suggesting without much strain thatÂ I am the ghoulish sadness, lonely and the occasion of loneliness all at once; I canâ€™t bear the quiet, antsiness moving quickly to the narcissism of really liking the sadness in its reflection without realizing it in fact is reflection, bracketing whatever psychoanalysis says about the jubilance of this specular moment, and when I return fromÂ Â teaching, the radio is playing one of my favorites, a Mendellsohn concerto, the one where Felix is throwing plates at CÃ©cile Jeanrenaud, and then at the surprising tail end of aTempo semplice, he accuses her in English of never truly having communicated the extent of her loyalty. She insists in broken GermanÂ she thought her loyalty a given. At which point all of her languages break, she riffles through them for one that seems fluent,Â Â but duress has made fluency itself the thing that is missing.Â If only I were articulate slipping (fluently) intoÂ if only I were fluent,Â if only I were graceful,Â Â or does this mean if only he a bit more were grateful. The radio, she canâ€™t stand, she doesnâ€™t even understand radios, their being beyond her time, even as her predicament requires technologies she can barely conjure. Sometimes I leave the radio on as a nostalgic technology, the sort of thing that might have assuaged someone many decades previous, to the extent that this could trick the ghoulish sadness into believing if not its own anti-macassar quaintness than its kitsch factor which would be the first step in my learning to take it less seriously. And so the radio. And of course as I teach Iâ€™m distracted,Â Poor CÃ©cile, the world being unkind, what can she say to assuage her husbandâ€™s sense that things get more brittle as each attempt at lubrication or leavening ends up freaking things out. We needed out-moded technologies to convince us that the things they solved werenâ€™tÂ Â beyond our ken, or what several decades ago we nonironically called cutting edge. Solitude, like music, arrived as movement and directive. This loneliness wasÂ allegro, this oneÂ subito. And as I turn the key with real and dirty fantasies of contact, of ceramic projectile, another plate remembers crashes.