it happens like you’re driving somewhere while just a little stoned, you know, just a little distance too. but maybe you start to think about the kind of focus required for the different tasks in life. perhaps too much. even in that little distance, that short amount of time this evening, my mind wanted to linger on the very specific way each white road line marking appeared & glowed & disappeared. yet driving requires a shifting of focus across surroundings, mirrors, steering, pedals – you can’t afford to just lock in on one thing. it’s the same kind of stoned concentration that might allow me to play a chord progression repeating for 10 minutes and not notice or think of anything outside that. so. while driving i feel little flickers of doubt or fear, slight worry that i’m not paying enough divided attention to the driving task. i like to think that i’ve developed my country road driving skills to the point where i’m pretty good at spotting roos now but you never know. i may have even said ‘just stay focused’ aloud.
as i think these things and drive to a specific place in a focused and relaxed style (one elbow resting on the door-side arm wrest, eyes alert & scanning the high-beam-lit highway ahead), kendrick’s song fear plays. there is a very cool array of vocal tones in this track (i think that to myself); the lyric that is still stuck in my head now (repeated near the end of the track) is: ‘what happens on earth stays on earth’. i have decided this is great because of the imagery it gives me (& you). it’s threefold: you know how in near-future sci-fi movies & television sometimes near-earth planets like mars are colonised? this is how i can imagine a future where earth is some kind of exotic resort for only the solar system’s most wealthy to enjoy; secondly, i feel like the idea that ‘what happens on earth stays on earth’ is meant to imply the obvious, that there is no life outside of earth at present (that we know of), so we have a moral responsibility to look after the planet, because it is our definition of life at the moment; thirdly, perhaps the lyrics gesture towards a spiritual life, one inside the individual… it really is the only thing on earth you can take with you after death… these three ideas about the lyrics all occurred to me & sat in harmony for a while. kinda like bubbles, when a few of them come together gently in the sky to form a brief & beautiful multi-bubble. that.
maybe things always do occur in threes for everyone. everyone. what’s the point at which i realised these particular thoughts were going to be a small piece of writing? why it’s funny you should ask – it was at that point where i realised there was a third part to this writing, a third paragraph. everything comes in threes. many years ago in newcastle i presented a paper & talked about success & failure as applied to poetry, how binaries like that have a real impact on our creative work. afterwards, in response to a kinda vague question from an audience member i remember vaguely affirming binaries as things i found everywhere in life. i wasn’t particularly convincing. maybe there’s a third part to that i just wasn’t acknowledging. a trickier part. the grey area in between. my limited understanding of the trinity (i may have got this from an annotated dante translation many years ago..) is that it is used to represent the three aspects of god. god above us, around us, and within. the father, the son, the holy ghost. to be clear i don’t believe in any of those religious tropes, but in mythic stories that grey area is always the trickier part, the spirit. it happens like you’re driving somewhere while just a little stoned, you know, just a little distance. but maybe you start to think about the kind of focus required for the different tasks in life. perhaps too much.