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I Had Known it and Rejected it – “Leaving the Atocha Station”, Ben Lerner

November 7th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Various people greeted us and Teresa detached from me to kiss them and I was acutely aware of not being attractive enough for my surroundings; luckily I had a strategy for such situations, one I had developed over many visits to New York with the dim kids of the stars: I opened my eyes a little more widely than normal, opened them to a very specific point, raising my eyebrows and also allowing my mouth to curl up into the implication of a smile. I held this look steady once it had obtained, a look that communicated incredulity cut with familiarity, a boredom arrested only by a vaguely anthropological interest in my surroundings, a look that contained a dose of contempt I hoped could be read as political, as insinuating that, after a frivolous night, I would be returning to the front lines of some struggle that would render whatever I experienced in such company null. The goal of this look was to make my insufficiencies appear chosen, to give my unstylish hair and clothes the force of protest; I was a figure for the outside to this life, I had known it and rejected it and now was back as an ambassador from a reality more immediate and just.

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