The best proof for a soul is that it can be destroyed. Then daily we must reconstruct it, never knowing whether it exists. I mean, Kafka died only fifty-one years before I was born, & Melville is even still alive. And though I know it occurred, I do not recall my life before having seen the film Road House. I remember the day I met Seth Landman & yet when I think of my life I think of it all at once & it includes Seth Landman at every point. What are we if not tourists of our own memories? How much of your native tongue do you still speak at home? Sometimes life produces a wife or a husband or dumb river that makes you weep dumb tears, sometimes the city we live in is another language to learn & to lose. We secularize our own lives like a stack of books left in an alley. I could never understand horror without Kafka, want without Melville, nor love without Seth Landman. And even if I do everything I can it will be, after I’m dead, only cursory, a mere doorway remaining from an original building. Because it’s true, of course, like the cruel couplet & the effortless dick-joke, like all things we laugh off to attempt a face, pain don’t hurt. It’s all only on paper, but paper also can kill.