The Science of Keeping

What holds, what resists.

light dawn landscape nature

Anyone can be an expert, when keeping is the point. All it takes is rejection of a sense of the disaster of being full up, and a guiding hand to fear how the space of its reach might indicate some lack––of anything but the capacity to Figure it Out. 

By the science of keeping, one can make lists and keep intentions. Retention’s methods always have some Master eager to Proclaim the next Solution to loss. To capture a place, there are itineraries, photos, souvenirs, but none so lasting as a scar.

The body, in the end, can only hold a record of its wounds. It returns the bones and teeth to the earth or the next collector. In the end, it can only offer what flies from it, which is a concept the experts have yet to explain.


Inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art. Playing with the negative image.

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

6 thoughts on “The Science of Keeping”

  1. It’s funny you talk about expertise and keeping here because my wife and I were discussing similar last night w/in the scheme of AI and white collar work, and what’s threatened to be taken away vs kept. Because I think there’s a tendency with work for people to keep or safeguard what they view as theirs, as doing so attaches their self and monetary worth to the think they do-slash-know how to do. Aka expertise. Not sure if that’s in any way related to your more carnal take on it here (I like how you end by describing our teeth etc.) but that much resonated with me. The funny paradox of what we humans think we can keep, lots to that. And how it also consumes us and weighs us down over time too, of course. Thanks Stacey!

    1. It’s paradoxical, isn’t it. My younger self was desperate to be an expert at anything. I had intuited (I think correctly) that it was the coin of the realm, somehow. My older self has to laugh at the futility of this, even as I revere real expertise. The “literature” I was surrounded with growing up was often self help, lots of quick ten-step solutions to things. I realize now that this is one reason I waited so long to write anything publicly. I thought I had to know something first. Now I write mainly as an admission of how little I know. The AI connection you make is interesting indeed. Thanks, Bill!

      1. To write as an admission of how little we know well shucks I could write forever on that, for sure! We are never really ready, that’s a good thing to remember. You can only prepare so much.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: