Aphorisms Regarding Impatience
by Ellen Hinsey
Mythologies of the End
Each century believing itself poised as if on the edge of time.
The Meaning of Impatience
Restlessness in time. To imagine that which is not swiftly accomplished will never be fulfilled.
Unable to initiate creation, or manage civilization: the drive to engineer decreation with perfection.
The division of the spirit between advancement and abandon.
The Attraction of the Apocalypse
To control with absolute certainty one thing. And for it to be the last.
The intersection where civilization and perseverance meet.
The Effort of Civilization
Miraculous labor. Each day Sisyphus rolling his rock uphill against the accidental nature of mankind.
Not a Solution
To draw into question Sisyphus's task.
Accepting Negative Inevitability
Intellectual sleepwalking. The ethical self abdicating volition for the temptation of renunciation.
To reject contingencies of disaster. To glean possibility from the crevices of improbability.
What is at Stake
Civilization's estate for which there is no sovereign protection.
Not the End
A type of grace: waiting in impatience to see that, from now until the far edge of always, nothing happens.
Ellen Hinsey was born in Massachusetts in 1960. She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe for the last two decades. She is the author of The White Fire of Time (Wesleyan University Press/Bloodaxe Books); Cities of Memory, which received the Yale University Series Award in 1995; and a new collection in progress, Update on the Descent. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Poetry. (5/2007)