Perhaps it’s the term ‘post-modern.” I don’t understand “post-modern.” I don’t understand “modern.”

I know some people who had an argument over when modernism began. It all but destroyed their friendship. When disagreements like that break out, I feel like offering an adaptation of a Mel Brooks response: Uh, you go on arguing, “I gotta wash up.”

Epilogue. Maybe we’re inhabiting an epilogue. I like that. Epilogues tend to have a sense of addition or addendum to a story and are often a gentle settling of things.

Yeah. I don’t want to dwell with you in a “Post-T Word” world. Let’s head toward an epilogue.


I’m working a Sudoku puzzle, one cat
in my lap and Mozart on the radio. I
didn’t catch what work, but I don’t know

much about classical music. I like it,
most of it, have it on all day, a companion
as I wander from room to room within
a life that may or may not matter. I
also don’t know much about cats. We
have two. They act as if they can’t believe
the other should be in the house. They hiss,
growl, swat at one another. The old dog
sleeps. The young dog stands between them.
It’s a cold day, patches of snow and ice.
There are birds at the feeders. There is
a clear sky, and the creek behind the house
drifts along as does the next piece on the radio,
something by Edward Elgar or maybe it’s
Vaughn Williams. This puzzle is impossible.–Jack Ridl

First published in The Louisville Review

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10 thoughts on “Epilogue

  1. We love your poems, thoughts, ideas, friendship. We love you and Julie. We love the world you describe so beautifully.

  2. I have cats like that. They divided the house- you get upstairs, I get down, you get inside, I get outside, this is my human, don’t touch, both of these are my bowls of food…. Finally, after about seven years the less dominant cat had had enough. He hissed back a few times pretended he had claws, took some swipes, and they have lived peaceably ever since. Sleeping curled up together still is not on the agenda, however they will sleep within two feet of each other in the sun spot on the porch. Luckily some people are the same. We get older and less willing to fight a battle when the other one stands up for them self.
    I had to take a whole class on post modernism and structuralism at Kendall College of Art and Design. After three weeks I still didn’t know what we were talking about, never really figured it out, but played the game of pretending to know and managed an A anyway.

    • Within two feet of one another is a good thing!
      Sometimes it does take seven years!
      And of course, you got an A. I love knowing that!!

      I think I’m post-post!
      So good being with you at The Red Dock, Sandy.
      Hope you had a good time.

  3. Post Modern: The mish-mash that arrived after all the little Modern movements. But, why were they Moderns? Because they broke the mold of representational art by the time they reached White on White. I trust Post Modern will eventually be dropped as a label–a reaction to our 140 character world. Why not just continue to be Modern? Can you imagine Millennials wanting to be called Baby Boomers? OR Where do we go when one cat decides the other should not be in the house? I will never see an Epilogue the same way. Thank you.

    • Yes, that I understand. Everything you say.
      That’s what I was “taught” too. But . . . : )

      I am glad for the “thank you.”

  4. Dear Jack-man–

    I loved this one. The other day I mentioned your “sappist” movement from a few years back. I was asserting that we are officially– since have a president whose own wife would not likely clear his immigration policies–“post-ironic.”

    Doc Hemmenway got in touch and I’m going to visit his class in September to talk about Hemingway. Can’t wait to see you guys!




    • I’m post-post.

      I want what is, to be what is, not what was no longer being.

      God, I love talking like this. No wonder academics never cry.

      Yep, Doc asked me if I thought you would be good to have come to
      his class. I said, no, but he went ahead anyway, huh? : )

      See ya soon!!! YAYYYY!!!!

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