Author's Note: There is a recurring video—you may have seen it on YouTube or Instagram—of some lions lazily lying under a tree. Soon, some monkeys arrive and are seen playing among the branches, then one swoops down with one hand on a branch and with the other slaps a tiger. This goes on for some time. The monkey, repeatedly taunting the tiger is clearly risking a gruesome fate, but continues to amuse himself. The notion that "everything is serious," (as Rilke claimed in his famous Letters to a Young Poet,) is challenged not only in the jungle but in the daily life of sometimes serious, and sometimes capricious, human beings. "Whifflings" is an attempt to give examples of this phenomenon as pattern that seems to run through almost everything, and I would like to think that it may be a microcosm for a larger reality, one that involves the actions we observe on our planet, and perhaps, in the stars.
Pages flitting onion-skin-thin in divination; cash counters, thumb-side skipping over edges of bill bricks; what the card shark does cupping a folding dome in his palms; or the night when edges of dark clouds sail over the moon like chem trails; riffles in the stream under the little wooden foot bridge just outside of town; it is in the wind toying with tree leaves as if Amusement is playing Chances.
©2023 Michael Gessner
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