Pluto, Zoo and Helen Keller


7/14/15, Day 14,314 (Mercena Day 333): Pluto, Zoo and Helen Keller

I have once again fallen short on my goals of posting here daily (or at least more regularly) but yesterday was the right kind of day to start again.

After all, it’s likely that never again in my lifetime will I have a brush with a celestial body like we had yesterday with Pluto. The first image we received filled me with a rare hope that life might survive all our mistakes, all the natural catastrophes to come, the sun frying the earth before fizzling out, the collisions of our galaxy and the long whimper of our universe’s dissolution. While it seems a tall order for our troubled species to discover a way out of universal heat death, I don’t know who else will volunteer for the job.

So after 9+ years and 3 billion miles in the dark indifference of space, New Horizons is carrying the ashes of the first human to ever lay eyes on earth’s most distant cousin, sending what it sees back home at the speed of light; and I can’t help but think of Nabanita’s ungainly haiku in DEINDE:

“If we live forever
There still won’t be time to say
All the names of beauty.”

Yesterday, we learned another name of beauty in the heart-scarred image of Pluto.


Meanwhile, Heather took Mercena to her first petting zoo yesterday. After a terrifying brush with a lamb, she drew inspiration from the images of Pluto and extended her hand in cross-species solidarity:

Mercena Goat

Among her most recent tricks, she can now hold herself up standing, military crawl with a modicum of speed, and transition from seated to crawling without too much of a fuss. As we hurtle faster than New Horizons toward her first birthday, I am inspired anew to record as many of her moments as I can.


I missed bedtime last night to hang with Josh Koopman, my oldest friend from home, and to see Fluxer Chinaza Uche appear in Three Days To See by the Transport Group at New York Theatre Workshop. After catching up at Phoebe’s, we met up with David Neal Levin of Golden Scallop fame and headed to the theatre. Having spent so much time on this block of Fourth Street over the years, it feels as much like home as anywhere in Mahattan.

Chinaza was of course great in the difficult role of Helen Keller (yes, you read that right), aided by six other actors all tasked with bringing the famous writer and activist to life. Aside from an opening that featured a bunch of Helen Keller jokes, every word spoken in the play was hers, and I was reminded of what an extraordinary writer she is: funny, sincere, political and with a poetic searching that makes me wish we could have met. It is almost as if, though some form of poetic echolocation, she could bounce her words off the world and though their vibrations back, see it as feelingly as if she had sight. In spite of some repellent sentiments expressed against Arab communities, she was also radically compassionate toward the demonized and oppressed peoples of the earth.

I’ll end on a quote of Keller’s shared during the performance:

“I believe that when the eyes within my physical eyes shall open upon the world to come, I shall simply be consciously living in the country of my heart.”

Published by CorinnaSchulenburg

Artist and Activist

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