Saturday, December 23, 2006


It's worth looking into why some people grab you. Like the other night, I had a vision (of a real thing) on the dance floor. Out of my element and all, I was playing the role of observer more than I normally would.

This girl: she had the body that looked like it would break, not because of malnutrition, but because of some hard-to-define etherial quality, like she'd just peeked in here from Plato's realm of Forms. And she was standing there, her face detached to the point that a passing Hindu swami would have been jealous, would have sacrificed his wisdom, his ascetism, his learning and his mortification of the flesh all at once. Full flesh, big eyes, black irises probably watching intently. If she were so inclinede, she could have seen the bloom of body warmth from my cheeks, my legs, my dan tien, the electrical buildup on my palms, back of my hand. She was ice, and everyone gave her wide berth, maybe two meters all around to just stand there by a pillar. No intoxicats to make it easer to stand here, as bass beats shook the floorboards, and the stomping of latter-day human tribal dances broke every little idea to dust. She was with some random; actually I coudn't tell that just by looking, because even though he was behind her, and "into" her, so to speak, she had such perfect composure that it looked like he was an unsuccessful salmon swimming upstream.

She disappeared soon thereafter, leaving me with my more open-than-usual emotional reaction, a bottle of beer, a mangled drink order, drinking like a dirty old man in a caver filled with sweat. Visions of clouds of flies drifted across the hazy sky of my consciousness. The biological assault on the ancient floorboards was palpable with every breath. Her name wasn't Sylvianna, but it should have been. Some unlived life, hanging out at the liminal threshold, wants it that way. That same life saw somwething in her that grabbed my attention to the point of exhaustion. Something un me wants beautiful waking hallucinations, something like Paul struck blind on the road to Damascus, or Ginsberg finding "God" in William Blake's reading of "The Sick Rose", or positive acid trips, or deep metidative pure consciousness experiences. Inside or outside, there's enough beauty and enough loci of meaning to latch onto in this world for everyone an astronomical number of times.

Consider: "The difference between a cult and an established religion is sometimes about one generation."

Thursday, December 21, 2006


There are no winters to discontent. I hate that sentiment. Winter is fabulous. More night in which to sleep. More night in which to drink and view each other by candlelight, which is flattering to just about nay complexion. More time for man-against-the-elements struggle, which in the city plays out as people huddled over hot-dog cart stoves. More time to catch swirling ice crystals on the tongue, and watch said crystals as they give form and function to the halos of street lamps. More time to dry clammy skin one indoors and thank good fortune for working furnaces, chugging along unseen below the floorboards. More time when snow melted by body heat only glasses makes the world a latticework kaleidoscope of hexagons, octagons, lines, stars, emanations, holes made by those sam street lights. When the world is dark people come together: they tell stories of relationships come and gone, or coming and going, if your prefer; they sing choral numbers to the glory of the Hammer of Thor, or, if you prefer, marinade the house in chugga-chugga Finnish doom metal. Winter gives more excuses to huddle, more excuses to beer-boggan, excuses to be in and a homebody and a friend and constant companion. Winter is not the time for Existentialist writers, simply because our pseudo-struggle to survive gives human existence an outside purpose--a common enemy, if you will. This is why I always concive of death as going back to some fetid, reeking, lukewarm (or warm) swamp in the tropics.

Winter is the time for decadent poems. It is the time of frozen fountains--perennial monuments to the most shallow human egotism. It is the time when your None becomes my All. It is the time to write long, drawn-out allegories that try to link Jazz, snakes, the water-towers on Manhattan's lower east side, snowdrifts, astronomy and the Olduvai gorge (I'm working on it; as you might imagine it's filled with unpublishably voluptuous phrases, appositions to make the reader's eye boggle, incantations to Lakshmi (from Huxley's Island, impromptu pomes, and my new favourite form of literary expression: the villanelle). It is also time for introverted guitar fingerpicking as well as blasting synthesized grandiosity of musical physics and oscillators for eternity.

Consider: ""Lycurgus, Numa, Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, all these great rogues, all these great thought-tyrants, knew how to associate the divinities they fabricated with their own boundless ambition."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Panic Contra Logos

Maybe it's a consequence of too much depth psychology, but I now have a burned-in image of a sun inverting its colours in the sky, turnign from sickly late-afternoon haze-giver to uncanny and terrifying abcess in the sky. The sun, of course, symbolizes logos, the rational mind, the father-principle, the ascent of consciousness, the mechanizable world of daylight, effort, toil, heat, advancement, the capcaity to do work, clear sight and all that. In this dream I was playing the role of unwitting patriarch, and immediately after the sun's inversion, my "family" fell apart into a shit-fest of fear, weeping, unexplained illnesses, sudden albinism, disappearances and secrets. And I keep thinking about it. Correlating this with my life: I think I've reached the burn-out point. I can't see any reason to continue at this university. I can't read papers and crunch out canned responses to canned questions any more. (I mean this strictly in the sense of inability right now; In a few weeks I'l lbe back at it in the library.) There is precious little my analytical mind can do for me right now. Philosophy of mind is a hopeless confused mess, sustaining a saturation of idiot Ph.Ds. Evolution is cleverer than we are, and there's no effort at design there. You don't choose to be a creativer peson: it imposes itself on you. You don't chosse to see visions: they come from below. To go anywhere now I have to turn to my intuitive side, and I suck at that side. I was not a strager to it in childhood, but years of classroms, drills, lines of cursive handwriting, arithmetic, slide rules, tetris, HTML, astronomy, RPGs, real-time strategy, action figures, cars and trucks, Rubik's cubes, algebra, biology, chemistry and wire-tracing knocked it back. It's still trying to stand straight.

Consider: "For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eclecticism is a Humanism

The only advantage our age has--I stress this: the only advantage--is our ability to look back on all the previous ages. We include those pasts in our presents. We experience their effects, their echoes, their vibrations, their mindsets. Our only blessing is our ability to evaluate those times. Our curse: paralysis. Clearheadedness breeds pessimism. Any conversation about history will demonstrate this amply. We move in cycles of flourishing complacency, stagnation, catagenesis, flourishing. And we never seem to learn anything.

And in the modern age, we see this particularly with people coming of age. They are brought up in an individualistic culture that inculcates in them this concept of absolute agency. And then the encounters with the real world are left to de-program these ideas wordlessly. Bureaucracies do the un-teaching. Massive universities destroy all idea of transcendent wisdom. Social mores and people with puny R-complex minds knock down the would-be creator. All hillsides and mountains melt back to the sea as slurry carried in industrial-strength PVC piping. You are taught to memorize and reproduce, even though we have machines that do that hundreds of thousands of millions times better, all so progenitors can wave pieces of paper in the air in front of their neigbours who live in identical houses (maybe of slightly different hues).

That's why we must again take up the rallying cry of the liberal arts. We must stop their own small-mindedness from consuming them. We must take up the stories of Yggdrasil and the Earth Mother, the Sky Father and the Great Moose. We must erect our inukshuks in the naves of cathedrals on flaoting islands on the backs of giant turtles. We must stare with kaleidoscope eyes at the djembes and resonate the hamonics unfazed, write our tests in crayon in Urdu. We must throw wine in their pig faces to fatten them for the feasts as we dance around the maypole, taking the supersaturation of images passing through flashing TV screens woven into the fabric of our shirts. And we must poison our lungs even as we overturn streets with ploughs drawn by bio-power of many teams of oxen. We must play our pan-flutes and call down the guardians from the four corners of the world to break down the firmament and pluck the bureaucrat-demiurge from his office enthroned and crush him underfoot, in a wine press, in a Bacchic orgy. We must spit on our hands and lift them up to guide the sun across the sky. We must listen to the worries of the middle-aged spinster. We must build the plexiglass brains. We are struggling for nothing less than the survival of basic consciousness. If we fail, the world belongs to the beetles.

Consider: "Most people think that shadows follow, precede or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories."