the Tenderness of Wallpaper

WHAT I AM MOST interested in usually leaves me dumb. By “dumb” I mean silent, mostly, though many things I am attracted to or lost in thought about, are seemingly stupid also. I have spent a good deal of the last few months trying to find words for what I saw in the Denver International Airport while waiting for a flight unaccountably delayed on a clear day. In the middle of the wait, Steve Burton, an actor, a bit of sunshine on General Hospital, inquired about his flight somewhere and then bent over to tie his shoe or to adjust his sock; his shirt, untucked, moved with him, revealing the rim of his jeans, the band of his briefs, his tan waist and the small of his tan back; he walked away. I understand that this moment—Steve, his bending over, his tan interstice, his walking away—was banal, stupid. Yet he was more striking in “real life” than on TV, startling even. Generosity (dahlias in

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