Discover more from the animal eats
At the end of the world
A new game, an old poem and some jellyfish. For fun!
I’ll try to keep this brief.
We made up a new game.
It’s called At the End of the World.
You remember, being young and foolish and obviously a big time virgin, reading fortunes pulled from cookies and adding in bed, because mischief and hilarity, anything for a laugh?
A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you (in bed).
Soon life will become more interesting (in bed).
You have the power to write your own fortune (in bed).
Yes, you remember. Good.
Okay here’s the new game. Whenever you talk about the future you think you may want, add at the end of the world. It’s a good way of knowing what’s actually true.
I want to be closer to the sky (at the end of the world).
I’d like to tend a sweet, clever garden to feed me and my friends (at the end of the world).
No gods, no masters (at the end of the world).
You see? It’s fun, and it works. Something to pass the time and keep a little fire burning, it’s good and healthy to want a future. These weeks and days and hours between it so often feels like we were born to witness the collapse of it all, some final caving in, apocalypse and ruination. You wouldn’t be the first to think goddamn wow, we really did it huh, we achieved total annihilation.
This is, of course, a colonial perspective.
We are witnessing collapse, yes. A brutal caving in. Our planet and our people are in pain. And yet. Is it so hard to believe the earth will live long after this peculiar version of the world we created? That however hard we may have tried, our species could not and could never succeed in murdering the earth that birthed us? We will extinguish ourselves, one way or another. Continuing to do as we have done will certainly hurry things along.
But the earth has its own intelligence, 4.5 billion years of evolving, insistent and incessant and, friends, just absolutely batshit creative in its capacity to generate life.
What I’m saying is there is the world we know.
The world as we know it.
And then there’s the world beyond, the one that’s only possible when this one falls away. Because it will. That’s inevitable.
What’s not yet decided: what it looks like on the other side.
It’s always a good time to start imagining.
Whatever I’m doing at the end of this world, I hope it breathes into the next one. We gotta be willing to plant seeds for trees whose shade we’ll never know.
I want to bring things to life at the end of the world.
Now please enjoy this bit of a poem, which is perfect today.
Read it to yourself or a friend.
from When the World as We Knew It Ended
We knew it was coming, tasted the winds who gathered intelligence
from each leaf and flower, from every mountain, sea
and desert, from every prayer and song all over this tiny universe
floating in the skies of infinite
And then it was over, this world we had grown to love
for its sweet grasses, for the many-colored horses
and fishes, for the shimmering possibilities
But then there were the seeds to plant and the babies
who needed milk and comforting, and someone
picked up a guitar or ukulele from the rubble
and began to sing about the light flutter
the kick beneath the skin of the earth
we felt there, beneath us
a warm animal
a song being born between the legs of her;
And also other things
I think about Caity Weaver’s 2017 profile of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at least twice a week. Please read her piece on a horse magic ranch which is in Santa Fe because of course it is and marvel at the possibility of so many truths at once. Remind me to tell you some time about my other fun game called Nobody Knows What a Horse Looks Like.
WATCH: How To with John Wilson
There’s nothing I can say that will do this program justice. I think you should watch it. You might like it. It makes me miss my friend Ariel.
LISTEN: Teju Cole Playlists
Some people give and they give. Teju Cole is a generous thinker, and writer, photographer, and creator of playlists. I’ve been making my way through these slowly. They don’t miss.
COME: Luminaries Poetry Reading
Next Saturday, March 27 at 2pm CT or soon thereafter, I’ll read some poems, and so will other poets. The line-up is bananas. Frankly I’m beside myself. $1 donation. Come if you can. I’d love it. RSVP here.
Okay that’s enough. Be good to you.