Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Snow White's Apple

Snow White's mistake was that she tried to eat an abstraction, since apples are more thought than thing. The witch knew this (that's the sort of thing witches specialize in) and was trying to poison Snow White's mind, not body.

So let's talk about apples. For openers, orchards aren't apple machines. More specifically, apple trees don't "make apples". But the problem is we humans are so hypnotized by language that it's almost impossible for us to "see things like they are". Anyway, why bother if we already basically know the truth of things?

This is called believing is seeing and every time we think that we should receive a small electric shock because we DON'T already basically know the truth of things. If we did, we'd know apples "aren't what they seem" -- and neither is anything else for that matter (including us!).

An apple is the coming into form of orchard process, not a unit of independence (what Kant called a "thing in itself"). There isn't any thing/object called an apple. What is it, then? Well, it's not an "it" either and just that’s the problem.

Language greatly complicates the saying of this since it keeps populating the world with me's and you's and things and apples. However, let's do our best to communicate in spite of this zoo of illusion. Everything works if we keep remembering who's the dog (us) and who's the tail (language).

Apple trees aren't to apples what shoemakers are to shoes. Why not? In the first place, apples aren't premeditated. The orchard certainly doesn't "stop and think" before it "makes" the apple. We love to think nature is a macrocosm of our own self conscious existence, but the ancient Chinese word for nature, TZU-JAN, means (approximately) "that which is so of itself", and the of itself soing of that which is so of itself is nonstop spontaneity.

But if there isn't an "apple maker" (and there isn't), then what's manufacturing those apples? Nothing, since that's not what's happening. The "make it happen" machoism is foolishly simplistic.

And for that matter, let's dump "causality" while we're at it, since all that cause and effect business is a just mind game Homo sapiens play. Spontaneity is acausal. Nothing is pushing or pulling anything else around. Force, causality, will -- big deal. That's not what's happening.

Look, when a crystal precipitates out of a solution, nothing's "behind the scenes" causing effects. The crystal is "all of a piece" with the solution. It's a "form event", if you like, evoked by an arbitrary perception system. Same thing is true for the apple. Hey, no orchard, no apple.

And no nature . . . no us

Mars (god of nothing)

You've seen them, haven't you? These mind boggling photographs of the surface of Mars. Not science fantasy paintings, not Hollywood special effects, not connecting the dots into Lowell’s canals -- just crystal clear pictures of the landscape of another planet.

Shall we say the obvious? Shall we talk about the absence of birds? And where’s all the highways and schools? No churches in sight (fundamentalists, take note)! And what about music? Do you hear any rap, rock, or Bach? I sure don't see any soldiers, do you? And where's all the bloody SIDEWALKS? What do you think? Surely there's gotta be a few arrowheads buried under that ocean of red sand . . . maybe some bones or wires?

Looking at these photographs is like looking at death. Yes, we take it in up to a point, but then quickly toddle off into diaper intellectualizing. "Homo intellectualizer", that's us! How do therapists put up with those client/patients who so smugly claim to "intellectually understand" their childhood? Serious therapist self control issues there, probably.

And hey, let's not forget box city! Grim Reaper, no problema. You're no skeleton at MY banquet!" Why (on Earth) do we LIE like that? Because we're too petrified not to pretend? Self lying is our method of choice for staying "separate" (and we ARE "separate selves" . . . aren't we?). Apparently some terrors are of such magnitude that even psychosis is the lesser of the evils.

Let's face it, our lives are usually NOTHING BUT intellectualizing. Take these pictures of Mars. We say, "Yeah, nice glossies, pretty awesome, etc., etc.," but what we DON’T take in is that these pictures erase all the plot lines of human condition. Because Mars doesn't give a rat’s ass about your sex life or your tax returns or what church you go to or who's buried in the family plot, plus a million etceteras. It's just THERE and that’s what it looks like.

And yet -- that's not quite right either is it, since that's just what it looks like to US. Mosquitoes and extra terrestrials presumably experience these night sky "wanderers" (= planets) rather differently. Not to mention that the word/image of Mars is 100% man made (no big deal). However, the truth that the very "thing" we call Mars isn't even real unless it's evoked by the human brain/nervous system is a VERY big deal.

This is that business that we don't "view the view" since the viewing IS the view. Sorry, but there really ISN’T any sound in the forest when the tree falls if there aren't any auditory nervous systems around to evoke it (human or otherwise). Said differently, no visual nervous systems -- no visible world. The “objective external world" is just a game Homo sapiens play.

So where does this leave us? For openers, it means the empirical world is transactionally evoked. But it also means we're not working out our salvation/damnation in some fundamentalist's pamphlet reality. It means we're all "participants" with nature (quantum physics has all kinds of spins on this). Above all, it means ultimate realness is where we already are.

So what we do with such pictures is soul stuff. Of course, we can always turn the page or change the channel, but we can ALSO simply come off it -- even though coming it off means passing certain absolute points of no return. One rather obscure etymology of intelligence is "to read between". As in, to see through the Veil of Maya? As in, to read between the lines (or chains) of thought?

Truthfully, what do we have to lose? Are we so seduced by this worldly melodrama that it's really worth the price of committing intelligence suicide? Delusion can be left. Nothing is lost by leaving that which was never the case in the first place

Do we thinkabout what we think about before we think about it?

Thinking is the unexamined tool with which we examine life -- the glasses, so to speak, through which we view reality.

But can this instrument itself be examined? And from what "non" thought perspective can the credibility of thought be challenged? Surely if thought is very cognition itself, then by definition it's nature is opaque and a veritable mathematical limit to intelligence.

Superstition is "swallowing something whole", it's making straw dolls which we abracadabra into gods. Perhaps thought has become our species wide superstition. Perhaps other dimensions of intelligence are waiting for us to outgrow this foolishness.

Raising such questions is rocking the ultimate boat, but beginning at this beginning is the ONLY beginning since thought is the beginning of everything.

One way (the only way?) to avoid the infinite regression of thinking about thinking about thinking, etc., is simply to LOOK at the raw actuality of thought, i.e., minimize theory and analysis (those long arms of past/conditioning) and pay attention to the "origin" of thought.

Does thinking come from thinking? Do we think about what we think about before we think about it Said that way, it's obvious the answer is no, since the alternative is infinite regression.

But if we DON'T think about what we think about before we think about it, then "where does it come from"? And how do we answer such a question? Easy, we LOOK, we "find out", we directly experience reality process. So let's table the philosophers, forget the neurologists, and toss the paperback books. It's time to honor the miracle of untheoretical living.

And isn't it extraordinary that we keep forgetting (or ignoring) that the already ongoingness of being alive ISN'T theoretical? Certainly, we can (and do) get theoretical about the givenness of being alive, but that "about which" we're being theoretical is never ITSELF theoretical. None of this is hard to see. It's obvious. Theoretical living is a contradiction in terms.

However, thought equates reality with models, simulations, theories, and concepts. As opposed to what? As opposed to what all that theoretical jabber is jabbering ABOUT. Plus, there simply ISN'T any thinking about point of view from which to put reality into perspective.

Axiomatics is a subject from of the Foundations of Mathematics which consists of a set of axioms or postulates from which theorems are derived. Axioms are claims whose truths are (allegedly) self evident and proving a theorem is making explicit what's logically implicit in the axiom set. Mathematics is also strewn with undefined terms, e.g., the notion of a "point".

Thus, axiomatics can be seen as a formal microcosm of the human mind set -- a mind set which is our "living our life from place". Here are Kant's a priori modes and categories. Here are the alleged time and space absolutes seen through by Einstein -- who once said, "Time and space are modes by which we think and not conditions in which we live." And most generally, here is the orient's "maya", which is the death of intelligence, the death of creativity, and the very Procrustean Bed of God (metaphor or otherwise).

Thought dominates our lives more than death or sex. It is our true Lord of lords. We are glimpsing a dimensional continent here it would take lifetimes to explore. No human institution/puppet is unanimated by the hand of thought. Even gods and I/myselfness are the creations of thought.

And yet thought's limitations are as close as the realization/discovery that thinking doesn't come from thinking. Thinking is the “coming into form” of that which is more real than thought. And just as waking up from a nightmare is the self experiencing of that which is more real than the nightmare, so can the delusional thought/flame of the human condition be “blown out” . . . a root meaning of nirvana.

Intelligence is surrender to the ordinary

Where you are right now is as real as it gets. Forget about all that after death business and "Gee, I'm so special!" plans. That's the world, that's science, that's religion. "Look at me Ma, I'm doing what I SHOULD be doing!" Buzz, buzz goes the cicadas. Remember those long summer nights; remember that pulsing drone in the dark? "Look at me Ma, I'm doing what I SHOULD be doing!"

Science is a little like network marketing. It keeps overreaching itself. Religion, of course, can be a thousand times worse. Look at religious fanatics. Something a tad too glassy-eyed there, don’t you think? Remember Elizabeth Taylor's great line in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" when she said to George (Richard Burton), "I'd divorce you if you existed." Samo, samo for the righteous. Null sets on parade.

But what's wrong with science? Nothing's "wrong" with it, it's just too specialized to be pontificating (however implicitly) about totality.

Because intelligence doesn't belong to science, e.g., mathematics, physics, genetics, etc., it belongs to ITSELF. Intelligence is the self-experiencing of that which thought thinks about (and doesn't think about). "And just how to I know that?” you ask. Well ask away, but there isn't any "I" here to answer that question since intelligence doesn't belong to the name/face identity on the drivers license of this bipedal life form either.

So who's saying all this then? No “one’s” saying it! Who's Pacific Oceaning the Pacific Ocean? Does life really have to have all these ball bearing identities to live the living? Enough already with this language hypnosis.

But, I digress ("wiping off blood with blood," as a zenist once said). A digression from what? You tell me, what's the ordinariness of YOUR life? And please excuse the personal pronouns. They’re denotative meaningless, but you have to bake your bread somewhere.

poetry peeks under our skirts
since we tend to forget
our legs
are still there.

EVERYTHING is food for intelligence, but we keep settling for pap from the past. Plus, any "science" worth taking seriously wouldn't limit itself to eyeballs and equations anyway and ignoring alternative realities is criminally myopic.

Immediacy is unimaginably more mysterious than death and quantum physics. Or St. X. Or Equation Y. Or Dr. Z. The problem is how and where do we begin. It's easy to say I'm CONSTANTLY living in a hurricane of challenge, but I've got to sink my teeth in something, somehow, somewhere . . . don't I? Well, it helps to know questions don't have to be answered. Questions are the tail, we're the dog.

where am I?
who am I?
lub dub, lub dub

So This, as they say, is It. The Kingdom of the Point Blank. Well then, what are we waiting for? But why do we think we have to find a scientist or religioso to tell us what to do? Hey, it's right here -- the eye of the needle. All that religion/science stuff can be useful, even elegant, but the "density" of non-theoretical realness isn't sum-uppable by black or white (lab coats) cassocks. Dear God (i.e., dear Metaphor), if it's real, it's intelligence food.

Basically, we know 2 (count em', 2) paths through the jungle of ISness. I bet porpoises know 17. Back & forth, back & forth, back & forth -- our two note symphony of religion and science. BORing (as our children would say). And boring it is. It's like knowing 2 people on a convention floor and thinking everything else is white noise . . . while flicker, flicker goes other dimensions.

Quantum jump time! But not to otherness -- to thisness. To ORDINARINESS, since life, reality (or your biggie of choice) equals ordinariness. Which is more real? Our obsessive "thinking about" (e.g., Hawking physics) or the raw material, givenness we so greedily keep trying to capture in thought's butterfly nets?

And greed DOES play a role in this. Greed and/or hubris and/or insect conditioning. Memory dreams up (literally) its intellectualized simulations and off we go! Hell, we aren't even doing it. We're what's “being done”.

A Holy Grail legend admonishes us that the quest begins with going into the forest alone, where it is darkest, and where there is no path (a gift from the 12th Century!). The contemporary philosopher/mystic J. Krishnamurti says, "Truth is a pathless land,” and a farmer tells the lost urbanite who wants to find his way back to the city, "I don't think you can get there from here."

But none of this is despair. It's simply saying the self evident. Flashlights of memory/conditioning see only what they CAN see, i.e., recognize, as in re-cognize. And just this is the glory of myth and poetry. How else do we communicate about members without sets?

And yet, even here we mustn't settle for the familiar (as in "family", as in thumb sucking), because intelligence is neither thought nor poetry. It's the self-experiencing of untheoretical realness (which is the answer the timorous who say, "My goodness, how can we presume to understand such things?") Well, in the first place, there isn't anyone saying that, since "thinking you're Napoleon" doesn't make it so, and in the second place why SHOULDN'T a child of the universe be able to come home?

my goodness,
I'm humbler than you
and I'm not even masturbating
under my diaper!

So the alternative to cud chewing is the Iron Bull of suchness (forgive the orientalisms, but the shoes fit so wonderfully). There certainly isn't any way to obtain what it's impossible to lose. Craving is really "craver-ing". It doesn't stop because you get what you crave. It's the being (such a dry word) of the craver, i.e., no craving, no craver.

We’re now slipping into other dimensions, but not by following trains and chains of thought. That's insect mind: practical, survival grounded, and deadness to the max. This isn't to say we don't need the practical stuff. Why reinvent the wheel, etc., but INTELLIGENCE doesn't need it (any more than it needs "us"). Intelligence assimilates ordinariness like a physicist peering into a cloud chamber or a hacker from hell disappears into chips. The immediacy ongoingness of non theoretical realness is the thing in itself of intelligence food.

The problem is we’re paralyzed with preconceptions. The past says, do this, classify it that way, and everything will be fine. Yeah, fine like consensus stupor. I don't know about you my friends, but my life is now and always has been mostly wall-to-wall sorrow. Yes, the childhood business can be tinkered with and a little money greases the squeaking wheels, but there's SOMETHING ROTTON in the Denmark of the human condition and the intelligence presence in this life is saying (and saying unequivocally) who needs it, I’m outta here!

And who DOES need the delusional ego/personality and its anguish drenched "reality"? Certainly human existence has its moments. Imagine what it would be like WITHOUT things like love, compassion, creativity and beauty! But these epiphanies are all IN SPITE OF "the game of things".

And the game of things is what? Yes, let's get down and dirty and DEAL WITH THIS. But first, will you do me a favor? Will you please lock the door so we can keep out all the self proclaimed masters of those who know? Aren't you also sick to death of these religion/science certainty machines?

It's time for new eyes. It's time to make love to the pre thought about. But CAN we do this? Yes, it's doable, but not by "we's" or doers or personalities. That's the rub.

Look, you can believe this or not, but these words aren't coming from "a writer" (anymore than they're being read by "readers"). Something is communicating with something here, but it doesn't have a rat's ass to do with personal pronouns.

Challenge is everything. Non-theoretical realness probably IS challenge, the challenge of ordinariness, the challenge of immediacy. No, we can't "do anything" about it (no doer), but that certainly doesn't make it less real . . . and intelligence is always hungry.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


flat walls
in rooms of deceased relatives
stare at nothing.
not waiting
not singing
just being wallpaper flatness
Euclidian boundaries for bugs
containing air no longer (if ever) breathed
by Heroes of Purpose
or Victims of Satan.

if you kissed the paper skin inside these
constructed stomachs
you would taste dust and flatness
and hardness
and silence
s i l e n c e / s i l e n c i o
you could drink it if your were a ghost.
are you a ghost?

these are rooms in which your ears ring
nothing else
the horse shit from busy busy busyness
has blown far and wide
it's all over here.
no second chances
don't call us
we won't call you.

boxes for being vertical in
boxes for being horizontal in.

these faces of flatness are
they're there
defining a moment
emboxing a life.

touch the walls, go ahead,
do it, do it, touch i
t, touchit, run your hand
fromlefttoright, don't close it, ke
ep your palm open, belly up to this paper drum of flatness
-- it won't be nice.

this queer, dry feeling is a cut,
a rule,
a declaration that says STOP RIGHT HERE
you can't go through here!
move away, you're too goddamn close
go over there and sit down and
stay in fleshland. touch fleshland. make love to fleshland.
stay away from us.

oh, oh,
there's a hole in that wall
a rectangular portal to
. . . another box?
flat faces there too
and dryness.
but they're not waiting for me
they have no agendas, wallpaper doesn't unstick itself
or have to be buried
with sacraments or grave gear
or tears.

if I fell to my knees
in rooms of deceased relatives,
the flatness, the FLATness and dryness
and hardness,
the wallpaper, sticking
on grainy, painted walls
(except on portals)
would make no eye contact with me.
I wouldn't be blinked at or listened to
or insulted
even ignored.

something else

something else

Opus 61

the morning emerges from yesterday's resignations
and struggles to meet the day vertically and combed.
snowflakes of the night,
now melted into irrelevance,
no longer blind us with revelations
and the day awaits bipedal outpourings
onto the atmosphere floor.

a black comb in the boy's pocket
bulges slightly
and catches on drawers when he walks too close,
inconveniencing parent policed,
rushing to school trajectories,
but not defining his life into grandparent non futures
since relatives for him drop off the edge of the world
with no particular fanfare.

but grandparents remember still, occasionally,
snowstorms and kitchens of long ago schoolings:
scolding teachers, homework dungeons, and Christmas holidays
now lost beyond lostness,
lost beyond anticipation, commitment, or someone else's prayers
and exquisitely unimaginable to their own children's grudging paybacks.
these sighing epiphanies are flavored with tutored acceptance,
but never with smiles.

the boy’s school is a warehouse of cross talking pandemonium
in which taller and heavier life forms
perform pedagogical rituals which they never took seriously either
and the boy learns far more about what the grownups don't know
than what they, never convincingly,
claim to know with such absolute certainty.
this lesson requires no homework and is never forgotten.

the boy starts to breathe again
the moment he leaves these peculiar factories
and surrenders while walking home to a calling ancientness
which encourages him to bite off small branches overhanging the sidewalk
just for the animal hell of it.
he does so
and spits
and much prefers this jaw living
to the escaped again chalkboard comas.

in jungle summers he sometimes visits dry creek beds
slightly out of town,
memory innocent, adult less, and usually alone
exploring alternative realities
unimaginable to philosophers and businessmen.

breathing and eyes only remain
when merging into these insect glorias and heat saturated weeds,
antidote dimensions to the clutchings of language drunk adults
-- the dead eyed ones who think they're alive
but feed on the earth magic of children.

in early teens he bicycles to small rivers of privacy
into which he abandonly walks
otter nude and sun alive
and drifts beyond the consensus insanities of the world.
the mud moves between his toes
while currents embracing his utter body
propel him through adventures with logs, leaves,
even turtles, and pell mell turnings.
the sky is plane less, the sounds aren't man made.
he has come home.

in due course the booming advice guns
of head livers
penetrate his very castle,
there to echo unceasingly,
contemptuously ignored only by his loins
which remain invincibly memory proof.
the open winged,
sky eyed living of boyhood
shrinks to a bubble of jabber
claiming to be a soul,
an ache of lost wildness
which breaks the hearts of angels.

oh, young boy, young man,
how right you were about everything,
and everything.

the rooM

Ronald penetrated the rooM carefully, turning his head without moving his eyes, first to the left, then to the right, swallowing his spit before he choked on it like he did so often these days. The rooM, of course, was waiting for him.

He touched the first thing he came to, a yellow lamp situated, naturally, in someone else's coordinate system. He smiled to himself experimentally. "What the HELL do you think you're doing?" This voice originated from something surely, but he/she/it was exceedingly coy about self revelation. So what else is new, pondered Ronald.

His fingernails insisted on being noticed, so he did so. Not much to see after all -- flat, clear surfaces clinging to tubes of flesh. Stop bothering me, thought Ronald to himself. But then again, who else would it think it to?

The lamp, however, was another matter. A yellow lamp with a paper shade, a round, unevenly dirty shade, stretched smooth with wires, hiding the little screw in sun somebody had to make. Who knows how to make these things, thought Ronald. He decided to say that out loud, "Who knows how to make these things?" Nobody answered, but it was satisfying to hear those thought sounds. This is called thinking out loud, thought/said Ronald to himself -- but not out loud.

Yet this lamp, this yellow lamp, troubled him. Maybe it wasn't TRYING to trouble him, he was pretty sure about that, but trouble emanated through its shade into his secret places, slyly. Just what the hell are you, Ronald wanted to say to the lamp, and why are you hiding in here EVEN WHEN I'M NOT IN HERE? The sixty four dollar question, but he knew the lamp would never answer.

There was a mirror on the wall and if he positioned himself in just the right way, you guessed it, he could see that goddamn lamp again! This is unacceptable, he thought, I wonder if something can be done about it.

The lamp was sitting on a table. Not squatting there, not going to the bathroom, just flatly sitting there, without deciding to be sitting there, but definitely sitting there, no doubt about that. Dear God, thought Ronald, now the TABLE'S going to be a problem? Is there no end to this? The table wouldn't look at him, but Ronald knew it had tricks up its sleeve.

Ronald's rule of thumb in life was to never, NEVER trust an object. This, indeed, partook of a great mystery in Ronald's life which was how people could so nonchalantly live in a universe of objects. These things are really OUT THERE, he knew that, but it seemed like nobody else did, because if they did they certainly wouldn't be living their soap opera lives. Soap opera lives, perhaps, indeed probably, but a difference of degree can become a difference of kind. Ronald loved that turn of phrase, "a difference of degree can become a difference in kind", and was always on the lookout for opportunities to use it, such as now.
Ronald took objects VERY seriously and never treated them like they were props on a movie set. He knew otherwise. He also knew he was an object among objects, but he didn't talk about THAT to anyone -- ever.

Abruptly, everything slid into corners best unnoticed. Ronald knew the corners were there, he didn't have to read about it, but sometimes knowing isn't worth a cockroach's fart and he knew that too, even though he never bragged about it, even to himself. The problem is he was never quite sure just what the problem was. Occasionally, it crossed his mind (or something did something), and he wondered if HE might be, after all, the problem, but this particularly confused him since one wonders how a problem can solve itself. He knew he was the "one" wondering this, but allowed himself to forget it.

"Yo, Ronald!" This was his neighbor across the hall, yoing at him again. Ronald didn't like to be yoed at, but never told this to his neighbor across the hall. His neighbor across the hall had a name, but Ronald had more important things on his mind, so he decided to duck out of things for a moment and answered, "Yo!". This seemed to do the trick and Ronald went back to work. Talking objects were less interesting than immovable, waiting ones that minded their own business but never stopped watching everything, even at night.

The lamp made no move to undermine the ticking clock in the dining room. The ticking clock had its own agenda and creating the future must be no easy task. Ronald appreciated the clock's persistence. He particularly admired clocks and knew that the world would stop, just stop, with no apologies even to the bugs under the refrigerator if they ever ran out of ticks. He occasionally wondered what happened to ticks after they escaped their creators and assumed they ticked themselves into layers beyond the reach of our ears . . . ticking places, ticking, ticking, ticking, with regularity, dripping droplets of time into the future. Plus, the WINDING of clocks satisfied Ronald to no end, making him think he was the veritable first cause of the future. Consequently, he DIDN'T like to be yoed at when he was going about these essential tasks.

Ronald knew how to play the game. He was very good at playing the game. He would dress himself, do his morning tasks, and go out into play land and play the game. He would talk to people, just like people expect to be talked to, and nobody would suspect a thing. Well, sometimes they might suspect SOMETHING, like that ugly lady in the laundromat he caught looking at him when he was smelling his clothes. He liked to smell his clothes, especially right after they came out of the dryer. He felt then they would tell him their secrets, some of them anyway, but this tiresome, ugly woman, always reading a magazine, would follow him around with her eyes even though she wouldn't move her head while she did it, which Ronald thought was exceeding vulgar.

But on the whole, even though people never TALKED to him much, they didn't seem overly concerned about his venial rule breaking. Sometimes Ronald would grasshopper talk and jump from here to there, without getting a ticket first, and sometimes people, not all the time, would look at him twice, but Ronald had a bag of tricks saved for such moments. He would make certain high, friendly sounds signaling to everyone they would have no problem with HIM, or he would scratch one of his arms, either one, vigorously with a strong sense of purpose, showing he knew what he doing and was going about his business. It almost always worked, even though that ugly, magazine reading woman looked at him SEVERAL times, not just once or twice. No matter, no matter, things to do, people to see, let's keep this show ON THE ROAD!

Oh, oh, here comes the yoer again. "Hey Ronald, I'm havin a party tonight, why don't you come on over and have a few drinks, or whatever? Might meet some ladies you know!" The yoer was always talking about 'ladies', and Ronald knew what that meant. At least, I think I know what he means, thought Ronald. The yoer was black and Ronald was white. Not really, of course, but everybody says it like that so Ronald played that game too. But this lady business is odd almost beyond belief. What am I supposed to DO with them, puzzled Ronald. They're not going to take off their dresses right next to the kitchen table, are they? Ronald wasn't sure about this and so threw a word cloud at the yoer and everything returned to normal.

Time was all over the rug, as usual, a clear density which collected especially in the dining room (THREE clocks!), but Ronald just walked right though it, anticipating going to sleep. He liked to go to sleep and sometimes woke up rested, but there was always that detail about falling asleep which baffled him utterly. He thought, I'm going to sleep, so I should be able to 'watch' myself go to sleep. However, one of the many dirty tricks of the universe is that no matter how hard he tried, the MOMENT he fell asleep he would lose interest, or something, in the falling asleep process and never watch it ACTUALLY HAPPEN. This amazed him as much as it frustrated him. It's like saying I'm going to count to ten, but forgetting what you're doing after nine. Ronald smelled a rat in all this, but was never able to catch it, since every time he reached for the rat he forgot what he was reaching for.

Ronald had this problem a lot, this forgetting business. Sometimes he would forget his tasks, his necessities, and would end up sitting on a couch sliding his hands over the cushions hoping to start some fire of PURPOSE, but it never helped.

Take this present musing, this musing that's happening right now. Who's doing this? Is Ronald doing this, or am I doing it, that's another puzzle. It seems like there should be more CONSISTENCY around here, you know what I mean? But, there it goes again, who's Ronald talking to? OR, who's observing all this Ronalding? It really is a tangle, you know.

Well, the sun blew up three or four times and now Ronald's at the party of the black man. Lots of women, that's for sure, most of them black though. What to do, what to do? Should I relate to them as Ronald and put this whole business on a word stage? But, who's supposed to answer this question, see my problem? The thing is, Ronald never worries about problems like this, since he's much too preoccupied with objects, plus he's GOT to keep those clocks wound up or time will, what?, stop timeing I guess. Not to worry though. Ronald takes his duties VERY seriously.

"Hey, Babe, you live across the hall from Theodore?" Ronald punches his keyboard, emitting a crafted response to the black woman's question, "Uh, yeah." Not bad, for Ronald. The black woman looks a little more closely at Ronald and sees a fleck of something in his eye (which one?) from which she recoils, gradually. Ronald watches her ass as she moves away, hoping to save the memory for later.

Oh God, the yoer! "Hey, my man, you got to party more often, Ronald -- do you good!" Back to the keyboard, "Uh, yeah." Ronald messed up on this one since he meant to eject, "Yeah, you're probably right." His neighbor, however, had other things on his mind (naked ladies most probably), so no harm done and Ronald moves his arms around a lot to prove to whom it may concern that things, organized things, things you do in the daytime around other people while they're watching you were in synch with what was going on behind his eyes. He didn't want anyone to think there wasn't some kind of CONNECTION between all this music and jostling and what was going on behind his eyes.

Eventually Ronald left the party. No one minded or noticed. No one ever minds or notices when Ronald leaves a room. He, of course, never knows this, since he's always trapped in those cartoon consciousness bubbles writers of comic books keep their characters corralled in.

Are YOU in a bubble right now? I can't decide if I am, or not. I can, however, put this black man's party into God like perspective, peering into any bubble I choose, and for as long as I choose. Here, let's look in Ronald's neighbor.

"Jesus, where's that man comin from? There's somethin about good old Ronald that gives me the willies. That's one fucked up whitey, that's for sure, but I LIKE the sonofabitch. Fuck, he's not harmin anyone, he never complains about shit, not music or shootin up. Who gives a shit if he ain't got a full deck -- who the hell has! I got to get that man LAID, though. I'll get Sally to give him a hard on, shit, she'll show him he's just livin in the wrong HEAD. That man won't NEED a shrink after Sally sucks his brains out. Yeah, I got to get Sally after him. She's always raggin about church, fuck, this'll be her Christian duty!"

The problem is does anyone EVER get out of their bubble -- and where would they go if they did? Plus, the thing about Ronald is no one's sure he even HAS a bubble. Is he a bubble among bubbles, or something else? It's pretty hard to tell where Ronald stops and objects begin.

Speaking of Ronald, he went straight to bed with his clothes on right after the black man's party, eager to float in the amniotic fluid darkness. He could hear the marching of the clock next the bed and even counted along for awhile, losing track around one hundred when his breathing interrupted him.

Ronald's breathing was another painful mystery in his life and he preferred not to think about it, but then discovered that trying NOT to think about his breathing was ANOTHER of the many dirty tricks of the universe, since, April Fool!, it's just a DIFFERENT way of thinking about your breathing. After all, you have to know what you're not supposed to think about. Plus Ronald felt resentful beyond words that when he WASN'T thinking about his breathing, he didn't even KNOW it!

It also bothered him that the breathing continued even when he was asleep, not only unobserved, but UNOBSERVABLE. There was a time when he seriously wondered if he should get on television and just TELL everyone, "You know, all that breathing business is going on EVEN WHEN YOU'RE ASLEEP! What do you think about that?". He never did it though. He never did much of anything he thought about when all the electric suns were turned off and the blackness poured back.

But the problem about getting TOO far inside Ronald, is that you "become" Ronald, isn't that true? When Ronald starts his "I" talk -- I say this, I say that -- who the hell's talking? You see the problem? And that's not all of it. When I say, who the hell's talking, WHO AM I ASKING? Who's supposed to answer? Ronald's not really an identity bubble anymore. That's what the black lady at the party was picking up -- nobody's IN there!

Ronald cut the cord, he's not an identity anymore. He's not even a "he". He's nothing at all. There's this bubbling whateverness, but no kernel in the middle of it anymore.

Ronald is a word for pain and fear -- and sadness. It's all that's left of what used to be a person. The world was too much for Ronald and it dissolved him. But he carries on, putting one foot in front of the other and keeps his pants zipped, goes to parties, and votes, he even votes, but when someone looks at him, he never looks back, he just keeps his eyelids open. What's misleading about Ronald is that his BODY is mostly intact, giving the illusion that . . . but there's no words for the presence that's absent. Ronald is absence, a little bubble of absence.

"Now Ronald, you've just got to DO something about this apartment!" This was Ronald's mother who visited him every month or so to recycle her sentences. She had a purse full of sentences and Ronald could mentally finish them after the first two or three words -- his version of a crossword puzzle. She also recycled her inflections so in every way she was a barbie doll with a driver's license. Ronald noticed things like that. He noticed practically everyone recycles their sentences and inflections just like they had strings coming out of their bodies someplace and if you pulled them, out would come blah, blah, BlaH, blAh, or Blah, bLAh, bLah, BLAH -- you get the idea.

He also sensed he didn't have strings anymore, but never made any business cards that said "STRINGLESS". He stopped recycling a long time ago when the person he used to be got mind fucked as a boy, castrated as a man, and treated like a moron by rich people. Ronald had a unique, perfect hatred for rich people which is why he was living in a run down apartment building. He could have lived elsewhere, but he wanted to get as far away as possible from the only people Jesus ALSO hated.

Ronald's religious life had distilled down to the single, ecstatic event of Jesus whipping the money changers out of the temple, since for him, the essence of being "God incarnate" was not to be fucked over by rich people. Accordingly, Jesus was the only hero left in his life.

"Ronald, I was talking to your father and we're both concerned that you've stopped taking your medication." His mother again, of course, recycling her phrases and clauses this time, but keeping the inflections. "Uh, yeah." He knew she'd leave in another 15 minutes, so this was damage control.

And indeed she did leave, barbie dolling into the sunset, her bubble intact. Or at least MOSTLY intact, since the vortex that used to be her son had a queer way of dissolving the boundaries of adjacent bubbles and she always left Ronald feeling disorientated and fearful, which is why she limited her visits with him now to less than a hour. However, for Ronald, out of sight is out of (what's left of a) mind, so her departure is barely noticed. Easy come, easy go and Ronald has his tasks of the moment.

This dissolving thing, however, needs to be looked at, since it reaches out, reaches out, into regions unexpected. Take, for example, this writing. Oh, Oh! ON goes the red light, what's happening to our distance, our distance from Ronald?

And we do want that, don't we, this distance from Ronald? God forbid, WE get pulled into the vortex. But if Ronald's not really Ronald, is anyone really anyone anymore, you see the problem? It's all well and good for us to zoom in and out of literary bubbles, but who's actually doing this?

The bottom line to who's minding the Ronald store is . . . no one at all! Ronald's weirdness is the mere acting out identitylessness. There's nobody IN there, the black woman was right, but is there anything inside the black woman either, or cross eyed presidents, or younger sisters of rabbis or pedophiles? Billions of bipedal, mammal bodies, but zero "individuals", is that what's really the case?

No one can one up Ronald, because what we're trying to one up will dissolve us in the attempt -- and this very much includes this writing and your reading. We don't get to be writer/reader gods who put everything, finally, into objective (whatever that's supposed to mean) perspective. The name of this game is nobody one up's ANYTHING, in or out of print. This is just the way it is and trying to live otherwise is being nuttier than Ronald.

Opus 29 (Two crows on a wire)

Two crows on a wire
laser eye the highway.
Do these keen, blacks beings read our fantasies as we pass?
Do they hear our prayers, celebrate our joys, heal our fears?

No ships passing by night here,
no communication, no intermediaries, no United Nations of species.
Are we in their movie, or are they in ours (or both, or neither)?
If we could make mind contact -- would we really want to?
What alien sharpness, what force of realness would attack us utterly?
How their cries demote our science/religion/philosophies to fatuousness!

Of course, they really aren’t crows,
they don't have feathers or beaks,
and they aren't even animals or things,
but to ignore this sky/wind presence is terror success.
Out of sight may be out of mind (furniture),
but out of mind isn't out of ISness.

. . . they watch us long after we've forgotten them.

Monday, November 27, 2006

the bottlE

This bottle used to be sand, well mostly sand, but here it is now, a little medicine bottle with a screw off top and paper label. It fits our hand quite nicely and stands by itself for days and days without falling over -- which is more than you can say about us.

Liquid lives inside this bottle and sloshes around if you shake it up. Not a good idea though, for lots of reasons. It'd be easy to break this bottle in a fit of pique, or just for the hell of it, after all we're in charge here. Of course, we can also break ourselves in a fit of pique. We ARE breakable, after all, bottles and bodies, both very, very breakable.

What's the difference really, I wonder. Do bottles have souls, bottle bibles, or synagogues? Probably not. Well, what about talking to each other. Do they communicate and have political parties? Unlikely, but we have to be careful here. We can't go TOO far with what we think we know about bottles, because finally they are what they are INDEPENDENTLY of our whistling in the dark agendas. I can bounce this little bottle in my hand, squeeze it, open and close it's top, and then put it back on a table or shelf, but I've got a fistful of ISness here that doesn't belong to any of us.

So what's the deal? What kind of thread might we be pulling and what's unraveling? And what if the more we see this bottle "like it is", the more we see ourselves like WE are, but do we really want to do that? Probably not, but too late for second thoughts now, because that's just what we ARE going to do -- or at least go down that road and see what we see. So, let's go straight to the bottle and let it tell its own story:

us: Hey bottle, que passa!


us: Over here, up here, here's your chance of a lifetime (or bottle time) to say it like it is. What's the story with you? What ARE you?


us: hmmm.

BOTTLE: Wait a minute, wait a minute . . .

us: We're waiting.

BOTTLE: OK, OK, I get it. You want me to be your projections.

us: . . . no, no, we want to talk to YOU. We want you to communicate to US -- tell us about your world.

BOTTLE: You want a lot, don't you? Well, don't worry about it, but you better sit down, because you're not going to be ready for this.

us: Hey, we called YOU up, remember, don't worry about us.

BOTTLE: Spoken like the Sorcerer's Apprentice! Ok, you asked for it. First, I'm not a "thing". That too abstract for you? What you're looking at and fooling around with isn't an "it". There's nobody home here.

us: Uh, yeah, that's a little abstract. What do you mean you're not a thing?

BOTTLE: It means I'm not what you think I am. Say it that way. Whatever you think I am, I'm not. I can't even say I'm something else, because there isn't any "I" here either. You humans have this "I game" you play ad nauseam, but that's just YOUR game. It's wacko, it means absolutely, absolutely nothing, but because YOU take it seriously, you think everything else in life is similar, so you populate giveness with things, like what I'm supposed to be, which I'm not, since I'm not even an I. And neither are you, by the way, but I don't suppose you want to hear that. I told you wouldn't want to hear any of this.

us: Well . . . no, that's ok, we're hanging in there. Maybe you're right, maybe you're not. But if you're not a thing, what are you?

BOTTLE: Look, call me a bottle, maybe a particular bottle -- "this" bottle. Go ahead do it, you're not going to get sued, but there's no denotative meaning (hey, it's fun to use your words) that goes with those words. They're just words, pictures in your mind maybe, but not referring to any thing or object because, from the beginning there NEVER HAVE BEEN any things or objects. You aren't an I and I'm not a thing, because there aren't any you's or I's or things.

us: Who's saying this then?

BOTTLE: You tell me. Who's listening? You humans are so DRUNK with language! You think it's this great quantum jump (God, you've got all these neat phrases) in your life form history, but it's just a sound/idea tool you're allowing to run amuck. You can't even unzip your pants unless you think about it first. Surprise, surprise, the givenness of immediacy has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with all that talking to yourself inside your head which is the essence of what you call the human condition. The human condition is THOUGHT. It's just this anthill of everyone scratching each others thought backs.

us: Wow, you're really running with these images, you know. You ought to be on television.

BOTTLE: Thank you. Yeah I am sort of getting the hang of it, aren't I? In fact, your language/thought thing is really great -- it's just that it's not what you think it is.

us: Whaduyamean?

BOTTLE: I mean it keeps SEPARATING you from realness. The big thing you humans don’t want to look at is that ultimate realness is where you ALREADY ARE. Thinking that you, or anything else, is separate from the maw of ISness is intelligence psychosis. NOTHING one up givenness –not your sciences, not your religions, not drugs, nothing, nothing, nothing! But thought is always telling you exactly the opposite! After all, if you can “think about” it, you must be separate from it, right? WRONG, and so long as you don’t get that straight, once and for all, and all the way through, you’re going to keep living in hell.

us: Uh . . .

BOTTLE: You can put me back on the shelf now.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the birD

"Look at that tiny head," thought Jimmy, staring at his pet pigeon. "It sure jerks around a lot. Huh, I guess it's got a brain, though -- probably like a bb or something."

Jimmy loved his pigeon and had raised him from a squab. His parents didn't like the bird sleeping in the bedroom, but occasionally they relented and the pigeon, named Andy, would sleep on the pillow next to his head. When they would go outside Andy would fly around and exercise his wings, but always return to Jimmy's shoulder, much to the amazement (and envy) of his friends

The pigeon's take on all of this is anybody's guess. Probably if it had been touched with a magic wand, permitting it to communicate to Jimmy and his family and friends, it would have said something like, "I'm not what you think I am, I'm not what you think I am."

A bond was there, though, between Jimmy and Andy and Jimmy felt protective and loving toward Andy. Andy, in his turn, would indeed never fly off, or at least only briefly and from time to time, but always return, much to the agonized relief of Jimmy.

The mystery in all this is what was really happening? For Jimmy of course, everything was clear. He loved the pigeon and fed it and worried about it, but for everyone else, Andy was mostly a pain in the neck hassle indulged in because of Jimmy. But how would Jimmy have responded to Andy's magic communication of, "I'm not what you think I am, I'm not what you think I am"? Which of course was perfectly true.

For Jimmy, Andy was a miniaturized person with feathers. And then there's the love and that love was REAL, just like the love between Jimmy and his dog. The love between children and their pets isn't so easily discounted -- with or without magic wand communications from the animals.

Speaking of which, here IS a magic wand, so let's touch Andy, and see what happens:

Andy: Talking with you, communicating with you, means I'm doing it on your terms. After all, I'm using your language.

us: Yes, that's true, but perhaps you can teach us something nevertheless.

Andy: Very well. Where's Jimmy?

Jimmy: Here I am Andy, I love you.

Andy: What does that mean?

Jimmy: Oh, silly, you know what it means. It means I love you and I always want to feed you and protect you.

Andy: This is very difficult for me, Jimmy. I think I love you too -- even though you don't have feathers or a beak.

Jimmy: But Andy, that's what's so wonderful about love. You can be so very, very different and still love each other.

Andy: Explain that to your parents and all the big people in your world who make your world the way it is and who are afraid of anything that's not EXACTLY LIKE THEM.

us: . . . yes, yes, you're right, of course.

Andy: You think we're animals, don't you -- "things" with feathers or gills or fur, without credit cards or religions. All you care about is how much blood is in us before you cook us.

Jimmy: I don't think that, Andy.

Andy: No, but you will. All the big people think that.

us: Not all of us . . . please, please keep talking.

Andy: We fly around your precious cathedrals, mosques, and synagogues, but you treat us like objects. You think we're "decoration" for your pageants and brittle melodramas. You chatter about souls and God and dignity and compassion and then disappear into your delusions, but WE ARE JUST AS REAL AS YOU ARE. And please don't patronize our brains. Maybe the brain pans of pigeons don't amount to much, but neither do yours compared to whales and porpoises -- or life forms NOT from this planet. You patronize us, you thingify us, and then frequently you EAT us, BUT WE ARE NOT OBJECTS. We really are alive and participate in mysteries just as sacred as yours.

Jimmy: And you love us . . . sometimes, anyway.

Andy: Yes, Jimmy, and sometimes we love you. But when a dog saves a human child from drowning, do you ever look at that "mere dog" as a child of the universe, a child of YOUR gods -- those gods who in your holy books are always ranting about chosen people or infidels or pagans or untouchables! We spurn your gods of hate, your gods whose bellies are always bigger than their hearts. These gods who proclaim that our common Mother Earth belongs to YOU SOLELY, and that all other life forms, all other earthlings, are just decoration or food.

Jimmy: Oh, Andy, I don't know about all this stuff, but I get so afraid when you fly off that you'll never come back to me again or you'll get lost or something. I just couldn't stand it if you weren't there in the morning or when I came home from school (and Jimmy starts crying).

Andy: Little Jimmy, I won't leave you -- you've captured me, but not with that wire house in the garage your parents sometimes keep me in, but because I know you love me. I couldn't talk before, but I always flew back to you, didn't I? And don't I always ride around on your shoulder? We don't need all those dead books Jimmy, we don't even have to be the same kind of animal. You know things the big people in your world have forgotten . . . like how it feels to love us and be loved back by us. All these word/sounds we're using now never add up to love. They're just ways of talking about things bigger, oh so very much bigger, than the talking.

Jimmy: Andy, I love you so very, very much.

Andy: And my little human boy, I love you too. I won't live as long as you will, and maybe one day one of your friends is going to shoot me with a gun, they've tried you know, but we're together right now, being alive together, so we don't need any more of these word/sounds, do we . . .