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Stoned and Slackjawed Under the Ferris Wheel

from My Life's Work by Ben Seretan

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My attempt to explain UFOs. Light is a physical force - we can feel it on our bodies outside the edges of our vision, we can bask within it, we can almost stand on it like an airplane wing when driving along dark winding roads. It has a presence. The same can be said for darkness, we feel it creeping in, we feel its deep icy plum skin when we're within it. I think the same physical feelings apply to sound. It's more obvious - we've all felt the air of a big speaker pumping at a concert, the rumble of a low frequency. But what I think is less obvious is how we are terrified of silence, much like how we're terrified of the dark. We don't let it in. We fight it, with a single tinny phone speaker playing some podcast we're not even listening to like a torch in a cave if we have to. You ever notice how in big suburban parking lots there will be a light pole every 10 feet or so, and then attached to those poles there'll be speakers, playing the blandest, least noticeable type of music? Keep the silence out. I think we start noticing too much when there isn't some kind of muzak in the air - crickets in the distance, the apocalyptic hum of light fixtures, the David Lynch whoomp whoomp of a ceiling fan. Or even how someone talking to us in the right way can feel as physical as a warm shower on a cold night - and I guess how someone talking to us in the wrong way can feel like blows to the head. But the things which are otherwise safe become alien to us in the pall of silence, when things drop away. You realize - - why yes, my refrigerator is constantly making that noise. Buzzing. I had never noticed it before. For me I always forget that there are seagulls in the early morning in Brooklyn. So strange, I live so far inland and yet the squawks above the train platform at dawn. And I think that's where UFOs start to manifest, when silence really gets to someone. That's why it's when people are always alone on backwood roads. Moments of silence. Isolation. An interior exterior equilibrium. To make it really on the nose what I mean it that utter silence is alienating = aliens. And that's not to say that silence isn't an utterly important thing to confront - we should always confront that which we're scared of. Have you done something you're terrified of today?

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from My Life's Work, released August 30, 2018

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Ben Seretan Troy, New York

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