Thursday, November 23, 2006


Here the stone from the igneous beach in Central America. Here the walking stick culled from the hilltops where herds of dogs roamed. Here the bracelet you found on the ground whose slight scent of perfume managed to transcend space-time and causality itself. Here the crumbs of breakfast eaten as you watched the streak of light from the window separate my face into dark halves. Here the half-lune moon you offered me. Here the pallid bust of Pallas hanging at my chamber door. Here my pillows still with your occassional stray hair. Here in this room the pink dawn breaks to the east; my mind follows the hypothetical light, dulled by overcast, to the west. I will sit at my piano all day writing elegiac inventions. I will stack papers meaninglessly, make paper cranes from the covers of learned publications, spit-shine the floors, break into several simultaneous plans of action, acieving that blurry effect you sometimes get with time-lapse photography. Here there is a bubblegum wrapper with a bad joke. Here was the cup you drank from every time you were here, back when making tea for you could have been a religious experience. Here we traded barbs, and here you pierced the mirror. Here you smashed the plates, and here I became murderously down on the ground. At first you get dizzy, then you stop wanting to eat, and then the hunger redoubles; this is the course of the days. This is the cycle ticked out by uneven constellations I haven't the imagination to name. All this you left behind; get it back soon; you must do soul work.

Consider: "The universe is an intelligence test."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

4 a.m. Revisited

In moments of peak performance you feel on the cusp of something great, and that is the moment of the highest vibration, highest thrills and trills through the resonant harmonics of the skull. It is the moment of the icepick sinking into human flesh and the moment when you scream "victory!" from rooftops even though you bear no trophies from the war. Moments pass into past and futures slowly sink and coalesce into presents which is itself cut up by comparisons, misrepresentations and uncertainties. Plotinus skings out from wrought-iron balustrades keeping the queen talker posh, safe, protected. Mephisopheles comes out from behind the plant in my garden, whispering projects long lost in mists, wrapped in cloaks of carmine and hats feathered to an insane degree. Prankester cats leap the tree-branches. Mother's telephone wires vibrate in harmony, and my whole bosy is thrilled, but lost and drained at seeing the whole that I saw. Where would I be without my estrangement? (Not the I that proclaims "I', but the I that performs I.) Performative I am. Alms-giver to the sidewalks I am. The knower by which the epistemic drift of world-mind to mind-world is reversed, the gardener who tends to Yggdrasil sprouting annual crops of brains in vats, the geometer who meditated on the mandala and found pi to twenty decimal places, the builder of a Rube Goldberg contraption to pleasure my partner, the politician on a soapbox in the group photo, the decimated loveless pile of rags, the Bodhisattva of interdisciplinary wisdom, uncaring and unapppreciated with his radiant cool eyes hallucinating.

(It is exaggeration. It's for effect. Which effect?)

C: "We are at war between consciousness and nature, between the desire for permanence and the fact of flux. It is ourself against ourselves."

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Wanderers (Part III)

What follows is written in a phenomenological language. That is to say, it is an unfolding, rather than an inference.

Where is there room to wander in a land beyond hay piles? Beyond wine? Beyond emotional, or perceptual, or philosophical transparency? Back to the manicured wilds! There are still parks in this city where you can look out and beyind the crests of hills its's as if there is no humanity-pile just beyond the pale. I sat there in a birch glade and focused on my breath for twenty-five motionless minutes. When I began to move, it was only then that I began to feel cold. I was withdrawing from caffeine (no longer good for my eyes--my weak globules filled with floaters and mini-hallucinations are getting fixed). In my breath I heard the bellyaches of whales; I played smack-it ball with junior faculty at Harvard; I carried on long conversations with ELIZA, where she teld me what I had to do; I got stuck in the uncanny valley, unable to see my arm movements as graceful; I proceduralized my wanderings; I pulled a tree out of the ground ant it gave way; the staff I fashioned from it looked like a gnome.

Consider: "From days of long ago, from uncharted regions of the universe, comes a legend. The legend of Voltron: Defender of the Universe. A mighty robot, loved by good, feared by evil. As Voltron's legend grew, peace settled across the galaxy. On Planet Earth, a Galaxy Alliance was formed, together with the good planets of the Solar System they maintained peace throughout the universe. Until a new horrible menace, threatened the galaxy. Voltron was needed once more. This is the story of the superforce of space explorers. Specially trained and sent by the alliance to bring back, Voltron: Defender of the Universe."

Friday, November 03, 2006


Right. So type in the password. Hear the click of the electric key in the electric tumblers. Wait twitchy. Skittish because your nerves are shot through with caffeine, and you can’t stop the moving of your joints so entangled with her joints. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll come back to pages typed in mad inspiration.

Here all is now and all is not now; time bends. The great axis of wheeling star-sky is streaked, like a long-exposure photograph: kaleidoscopic, unknown, beneath the surface where the tragic spinning. The stars are wailing, aren’t they? Throwing out doubt, causing astrologers to kill themselves. What do they tell about our psychology? But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Parents’ house and they’re fighting like Bettas. Gills left ripped on the ripped linoleum floor; threshold crossed and suddenly I can make out the words. It’s over eight fucking dollars, not even over beets or mashed potatoes craved over the dinner slab-table. No, they are gnashing teeth over a fistful of coins. O that I were out in the snow! And soon enough I’m kicking the ruts; I am Godzilla, sound. I am Gargantua and Pantangruel. Right.

Caffeine twitches in the early twenties. What else is in the early twenties? We have our hair-growth beards. Our single-and-I-don’t-give-a-fuck beards. Our zen mojo of bachelorhood. But we do care. But I’ll get back to that later. Right. Lonely little boy gets inspiration from birch tree. He strips the bark and makes figurines of little men and women in supplication to the Gargantuan deity. Rain drops into silver bowls at the center of the altar. Bark melts even though water beads off the surface, it still gets behind the waxy layer. Lonely little boy eating orange gummies in the room. Cries into pillow, thinking how we suffer. Watches the terrifying shadows cast by two street lamps. Mosquitoes dance in halos in the summer. The stench of unwashed human refugee. Down the block they kicked him in the balls over nothing. And he remembers how in winter the icicles freeze up and rain down, point down, on passers-by. In summer in orchards he dreams of bathing in tubs: three, five children per child-sized pail. Beard of the twenty-year-old stands up in noticing.

Parents now spittling at the mouth. Boy, deal with it! Go bend time under the awnings, feel the bend melt away. Turn telescope onto the lives of other apartment buildings. Gus the window washer! Gus the elevator guy! Gus in relief behind a curtain! Gus fucking Gus’ wife, his paunch hanging in the stairwell.

We had that experience as grad students, too. What if the stairwell had flooded with dilute chemicals as we slapped thighs? But I’m not going to think of that. Same rooftop it was where I mentioned the book, and now it’s foundational to this Threnody. I can still fell your joints. But pace, lonely boy. Rooftop is night sky is apartment buildings is open-concept glass buildings made of light. Venus is flashing; it is actually an airplane. Did you know the morning star and the evening star are one and the same? Just saying.

The caffeine twitch started differently. It wasn’t my parents. No progenitor ever stuck the needle in my arm. No, once I had gotten out of there and had acquired my beard and had stared at enough birch trees to make enough figurines I figured it was time. Time to jack my brain to think differently. (This is really a prose-villanelle.)

It’s not really working. I’m not getting centered. My neck hurts, and all the sinews you massaged just spring back in knotted boils. What is that? Maybe you touched me and transferred his touch, the touch of the benign rival. Worst touch in the world. An angry rival is terrible, but there is joy in triumph. There is joy in sack and pillage. Joy as the spear enters his spleen and leaves through his lung. What is there in a benign rival? No camaraderie; no unity. We don’t even acknowledge what we are, that we are. We are less than nothing. And I lost, so I am less than nothing. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ever seen a trolley tip?

Joyful birch carvings in mushy joyless snows. Lectures inside the brick building about building organizational synergy, etc., etc. I am standing by a fence. They will never pull me off.

Please, child. Can I twitch against you? I am insect and insectivore. I am crusher and the glass screen. I am branch and stick insect. Can my shaking hand rest on the small of your back? Can we face in the same direction, somehow powerful? I talked into the night with you. No benny capsules to be had. Did you think to lay a laurel wreath on his head the whole time? The clockwork aspect of my rival. My benign rival.

You can’t fuck someone benignly. Not when I can feel her twisting in my own neck and joints. You don’t seem to understand the import of the positions of power. I feel spread-eagled legs; I withdraw into myself. I let out moans in some other part of myself. Clockwork aspect and clockwork regularity of his thrusts. It’s all here, somehow timeless. My pantheon of teachers talking to the parents. The whole ensemble bickering over a handful of change. Eight fucking dollars. How many times did it happen? The panes of the kitchen window fogged up. The daffodils flew in a sprightly cloud in the center, stopping briefly on the chandelier. The pollen is sticking. The moisture will make it drip down into the empty silver fruit-bowl. You’re hurting her. Stop hurting her. Joints carving arabesques against the neon of the outside. All this observed from below. I see fluids, sticky fluids, running down, drip-painting in the style of the Old Religion. Rusty squeaks making you sweat all the more. You want it to stop, don’t you? But you still moan, and in that moan the cloud of vapor that escapes from your mouth and traces toward the window in the supersaturated moisture of the room, the cloud of vapor, but also the mustiness of all the ink marks we ever looked at together, the rotten legumes of our chthonic wanders also entered the room, lingered, traced their own arabesques around your calves and thighs, your cute pubic mound, your forearms and chest and neck. They embodied you and shielded you, clothed you in deviant airs until his own moans echoed and vibrated the membrane of the window. Then the vapours abandoned you and diffused out of the room to the moon. He, too, was soon clothed in vapours.

Father screams in toothache.

Cars and trolleys roll by. Someone is pressing me up against the window. Uncle announces the presence of a child. Suddenly I am not squeezed so much. I am facing out the window, a bazaar rolls by, and a long way behind a minaret. Across the Eurasian landmass, you are facing the same way.

I can’t get chart readings unless I get collateral. I comb the streets all night in search. Frail men with thin coats and lanky movements accost me. Greybeards with not a shred of shame. I want to sing, but my notes are all typos in my head. The deviance of the eastern chant. I’ve read books about them. I imagined long ago what it was like to be entwined in the back of your knee, a man and fungus. A mold and mouse. I come back to the seer with a watch and lips quivering, eyes rolling, knees weak. I can’t move to type out a simple message. My father’s borrowed motorized scooter sits in the corner of the seer’s shop.

What was there and what was dream? There certainly were hunger pangs. And if I experienced them, who is to say it was not me? Here all things are laid out as in a picture with four perfect corners and three circles. One circle: father’s hair aflutter and mother heavy and oily. One circle: jet-black mane on skin. Skin on muscle and muscle on skeleton that looks too frail for this world. One circle: in my mind the ministry of the interior building is burning and the trolley in front is tipping. I have never been so terrified. But it was I who kicked the snowbank and toppled the hard-packed snow on the trolley full of birch-bark figurines.

I know your muscle. I’ve seen it spring. Your center has pushed my center. You dashed me up against the wall. You held me when I wanted to collapse into chairs. Nothing but the chthonic dead sinews of your hair ever probed my skin deep. And you beheld my visage with tiger eyes, and in my mind I sang of cranes. And I shuddered outwardly at the terror of the ducks on the still pond, the terror of the tree on the hillside falling into the primordial nothing of uncounted years, when trees were never cut down so we could read their rings. I ate up the moss and I splashed mud with my hiking shoes. I saw swans, too. I saw them at night. They only swoop at night. And they waylaid me in the marsh of the gigantic reeds. I might have been stuck there for all the night.

Clear-eyed morning-star! Helicopter buzz! Can’t you see we are being washed down the river? Down the possessive rivers claiming the treasures of the headlands all for themselves? Right.

Labyrinth rising into the sky, all watched by a single lidless eye. The good seek to triumph and they will take the elevators to the desks. They will type in alphanumeric accesskey supersecurity authentication. Twitch and shuffle as the little green light blinks on or off. Achiever flow state while little light blinks on of off. Face impassive. Hunting for the greater beating heart within the pages of inert static-free metal shelves. All categorized. Indexed. Numbered. Tracked. Fined. Tuned. Kicked out. Accosted. Reminded. Reinstated. Reprimanded. Ariadne’s thread broken down to its proteinaceous components. The heart still beats. The blood of passions of centuries trickles on the floor and a small gnome goes endlessly up and down the hallways, wiping the blood before it clots and transferring to a square pool hidden somewhere in the stacks. You never know what is to be found.

Mother’s cabbage reeks in the kitchen. Father’s tobacco stains the bedroom. My unwashed bed was full of me-smell.

You hear bells when you lie with him. What you don’t know is I hear your bells too. Your post-coitus stretching is something I must pass over in silence. Because I would murder my bitch of a wild She-wisdom to see them next to me.

When you’re twenty, you can grow a beard. Earlier you can kick snow. Somewhere between cabbage will oppress you. Sometime later you will walk up the steps of granite and concrete million-ton cudgels. You will enter them, and watch the cudgeling from the inside. It will still hurt. It may hurt all the more, as the daffodil pollen sticks to the window.

Right. We feel we move toward a resolution, but now when you’re Here and Now, when everything is wide. The night sky is wide in one sense. The daytime madness of cloud drift is wider. We are wide; we will have many more nights. I may even weep for you, who came from tents and grasslands and the wild horse country. But we are also predestined. Predestined by pattern we laid down with every Gargantua we emulated and every trolley we tipped. We had no conception of that when we entered labyrinths before. The nights spent twitching from one side of the bed to another come and fade. There is no home any more. I can’t afford an astrologer, so I have to talk around you.

I can’t deny there is wild joy in it.

Consider: "What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil."