the city is very busy.


Gary is very ambitious. He makes note cards with definitions and he studies under his covers at night because he is supposed to be asleep. Sometimes, he can't remember the definitions because he studied so hard. I should remember them, he supposes. Mrs. Leary tells Gary he isn't studying hard enough. If you want to make it, Mrs. Leary says, you really need to work hard. I wonder what I want to make, Lilly thinks. She is standing next to Gary when Mrs. Leary is talking. I could make a castle with a moat, no, that has already been done, maybe I will make a green field with a rainbow, no, I think that has been done as well. I am going to study so hard tonight so that I can really make it, Gary decides. Gary spends all afternoon planning to study. He makes four lists: one to follow when he begins to study, one to follow after he has studied for thirty minutes and two more in case his mind begins to wander. I really can't let my mind wander tonight. Not if I want to make it. I should have five hundred definitions to memorize tonight and then I will be much closer to ready than I was before.

Mary visits the city for the first time. She has never been to the city and the city is big and busy and everywhere she goes people are in a great hurry to walk by her. People certainly don't like standing next to me for very long, Mary considers. I wonder if it is because they know that I am from the country. They can probably tell that I don't really belong here. I have never seen so many people run from me, she thinks and it makes her sad. The city is very busy she says to her mother on the telephone. Have you met lots and lots of nice people, her mother asks. No, Mary says. I don't think the people here like me very much. Everybody, even the people in the cars, speed by me all the time. Well you can come home anytime you like, Mary's mother says. We don't have anywhere to go back here and we would be glad to see you. It sure is nice to have a mother like that, Mary thinks.

Jack has been driving in circles for the past forty minutes. Jesus christ, Jack says. You'd think somebody would move their goddamn car by now--I am tired of this shit. Take it easy Jack, Lucy says. We'll find a spot. Its this goddamn city, Lucy. Everybody wants a car but nobody wants to drive it because nobody wants to lose their goddamn parking spots so all you have is a bunch of goddamn people sitting in their apartments looking down and saying, gee I sure am glad I have a parking spot. Take it easy, Jack. We'll find a spot.


Those people must be really excited to get there, Lilly says. Look how fast they are moving. They must have all kinds of important things to do. I think I'll sit right here and look at the sky so that I don't get in their way. I would hate to get in their way when they were doing something so important. I think I will sit right here and look at the sky through the trees. I certainly won't be bothering them here and oh, yes, and I can see all sorts of things.


Mrs. Dempsy lives with white fences in normal america

I'm too afraid to look in the yard, Mrs. Dempsy says. She is more like whispering. I think he might be there, just waiting, like all those terroists, the ones that climb into the attic and leave missiles and then the missiles explode in the middle of the night. Those aren't terroists, Mr. Riley interjects. Those don't even exist. Do you know how expensive that would be? Not to mention futile, Mrs. Johnson adds. They both laugh a little bit. Indeed, the whole room laughs a little bit. And then stops laughing because it is not funny. I still think they could come in through the window, Mrs. Dempsy mutters. It is a small window but they are such small men and they wear clothes that make them even smaller--I think some of them can even disappear when they want to. I heard that too. Everyone laughs when I say that, even the ones here laugh when I say that, but its not that funny and they'll see, they'll wake up in the middle of the night and their little arms will be all over the hallway and their homes will be on fire because they didn't listen and the little men detonated missiles in their homes while they were sleeping. Then it won't be funny. I don't think there is much funny about you, actually, Mr. Riley concedes. The only way to stop them is to build great big walls and to make big swampy ponds around the walls. You aren't suggesting building a moat around the country, Mrs. Johnson asks. I can see you are laughing at me, Mrs. Dempsy says, but its not funny, not at all and you'll see what a good idea it is, when all these people keep coming in here and blowing up our homes and our schools and, well, because that is all they want to do and that is what they care about--that is why they are alive at all, they just want us dead and me and Mr. Dempsy couldn't have that happen to us, not now anyway, not when we are so close to finishing the third floor guest room and when we have just put in new rose bushes in the front. We just can't let these people, any of these people, come in and start putting missiles in our attics. It just woudn't be right. Where have you seen these little terroist men before, Mr. Riley asks. Oh, I see stories about them all the time, they are all over the news channels on the television if you know where to look--but most of the big names in television don't like to tell you about them because they are on their side and they want you to die. So you can't watch the news that is not telling the truth. I see you still don't really believe me. But maybe if you were as afraid and angry as I am you would believe me. Maybe if you hadn't been busy traveling all over the world and working and living in neighborhoods that aren't like mine you would know what we think right here in normal america. Then maybe you wouldn't be laughing. Then you'd know just how scared you should be. And you should be really scared, because talking and getting to know all those types of people has really made you forget just how terrible they are and how they want us all dead. I mean, really, you just let yourself be manipulated and you fell into a trap. I would be laughing at you too if I wasn't so afraid to even go into my backyard. And that is not funny at all.


"For the artist, I believe that there is no difference between the development of the person and the person's art. So, what I have become conscious of is really the development of makind as I now see in Adam and Eve in The Old Testament, where the timeless and the assumed everlasting first has to become obliterated, but where this also means the obliteration of the person, as a necessary condition for the individual development of the person. This obviously can become a dangerous feeling for the person and, if caught in the grip of these two extremes, a dangerous game to play. But what I've learned to respect are those moments of apparent fragmentation, no matter how bad the feelings attached to those moments may be, and what they can provide in terms of access to parts of myself that I otherwise would not have, which have always been faithfully presented to me afterwards as sufficient compensation for whatever I might have felt and motivation to continue to participate in the process. It could also be characterized as a form of dying for one's art, where there are moments where one feels really connected only to this process and disconnected to everything else, including to old comfortable relationships, which as I said must collapse on itself, in or der to reach the objective that one is trying to reach, which is the realization and the development of oneself."


Fourteen Acres on Lake George

I haven't a picture worthy of the prize that I was to win, after admitting, in jest, that I was younger than the recent medical school graduate (as I believe, indeed, she must have been). She was more fit to recline into afternoon stares and regress, as an optional course, into diatribes of what appeared to be (from content of course not from behavior) only casual anger--mediated, I suppose, by the continual faculty conflict. A conflict, I was to learn ever so shortly, rooted in personal hostility and manifested only in academic pursuits:

"We do not suppose that X and Z were correct to conclude that the individual definitions of stately unrest would supercede the collective definitions of spiritual fullfillment, nor do we deign to suggest that their unreasonable analysis of interstate dependence offers any productive measure of social capital, both informally and formally."

Which, I noted, also accidently, presented itself in strict opposition to the radical position of the generalists. Their response, quite succinct:

"Yet again, G and H fail to recognize the empirical data which clearly undermines their rather crude and inadequate analyses."

I wasn't to be her younger counterpart but it seemed ultimately, if I were to succeed in anything at all, I mean really succeed, I should begin to engage in the discussion, to find a knob or a door or a small window and expand it into a room, even a building, a discipline. That was my thinking, rather ingenious yes? I thought so too, rather clever, I considered, never once uncovering the land dispute that sat at the center of the argument, a fourteen acre lake front property in upstate New York--she was aghast at the theft. But I never knew. I mean I really never knew that it was all about a summer home.

Two summer homes.

And a half century behind a curtain. I never thought I could be a patsy in a university. I mean it sounded too much like a novel and I don't even pretend to entertain narratives, not at this rate. Hmph, a half a century behind a curtain and I still can't tell how they managed to make that argument work. All for fourteen acres on Lake George.


his admission

Its the same as it was before, earlier, right after the excuse she gave me, when she said she'd check up on him and then she couldn't, then she said she couldn't and he fell in his sleep, he was walking, like he does, like I told her, I must have told her a thousand times, he walks in his sleep, I said, and she said, I know, I know he walks in his sleep and I said then you have to make sure you check up on him because he's up there all alone, in that house that has too many floors and he likes, I mean he is an obstinate son of a bitch, and he likes sleeping on the top floor, he says something about being able to see the ocean but I don't think you can see the ocean, no, I've been up there you can't see the ocean not from there, but I think sometimes, when its that weather that is just right, I think sometimes you can smell it, you know that weather that comes, sometimes in the late fall and its breezy and you feel winter, I think you can smell it then and I think he is pretty sure he sees it too, but I don't know. I don't think he can see it, but he likes it all the same, and she was gonna look after him, just while I was gone, you see, I had to make this trip down south, just for a week, two weeks at the most, and she said it would be no problem, she said she knew that I had to make this trip and that I'd be out of contact for a couple weeks probably and she'd have to look after him by herself and that was fine, she said that was fine, heck, she said she'd have no problem looking after him and making sure that everything was ok and that he was doing ok and getting the exercise he needs, because he needs the exercise, the walking around, just a little bit, he needs a little bit of walking around, every once and a while, I mean nobody can stay up there in that house and not get out, not every once in a while, and she said all of that, she said it was all fine. And then I get this, I come back from the south, after only a week and a half I wasn't even gone two weeks, I thought I'd be gone two weeks and it turns out these guys down there were really interested in what I had to tell them and they didn't want to wait around for nothing, so I didn't have to stay down there that long, and I come back up here and I have a bunch of messages telling me that he's fallen down and that he's in the hospital and they think he fell pretty bad and they aren't sure, I mean they actually tell me on the message, that they aren't convinced its not foul play, that they think maybe somebody had something to do with this and they want me to come and talk to them and tell them what was going on and all I can wonder, I mean look at this, all I can wonder is where is she in all this, where is she right now, I mean I don't see her here, I haven't seen her since I got back and here he is laid up in the hospital because he's fallen pretty bad and he is pretty banged up and I kept telling her he falls in his sleep when he walks because he is always walking by those stairs. I mean he is living in a house that he really shouldn't be, I mean he probably shouldn't be living there, not really. Not in that house. But she said, yes, of course, I know, I know, I understand what he needs and I asked her, I asked her if she was sure she knew that she really had to watch him, she had to make sure he was ok, she had to make sure he wasn't walking around in his sleep and if he was walking around in his sleep she had to make sure he was ok. And here he goes and falls and look at this. I mean, really, this whole thing is just unbelievable. I can't believe she's not here. This is just unbelieveable.


after the dream of my father

It is not simple. This is a world after all where the sky can be purple, where light bends the thickest tree, and car engines on the highway can sound like the ocean, or kill you on impact. I needed a resolution and found it. "So we are here to say the names of everything..."

Now I feel good enough for the words to mean something, and I spend the morning getting used to the way they feel under my feet. Did the market crash? Are the institutions going to eat me alive? At least there is time to talk like this, and maybe accidentally even say something we mean. Love is the house, history is the floorboards, you and are I are each others windows. "The mirror that is a window..."

Almost time for coffee. I will set up the computer and spend the day trying to describe a process by which numbers can represent the quality of a sound: what makes a violin different than a viola, or a trumpet. It is hard. But I will sit here for as long as I need to. Outside car sounds crash like waves from an ocean which I can remember fondly, if I want; the memory of enough cigarettes and drink to keep us awake while we tried to say the names of everything that mattered. We don't smoke now. What keeps me awake is the difficulty, the inevitable failure, the way it feels so good to try again, together.



What becomes tricky is the in and out of everyday stuff. I take it for granted. Crisp autumn air, the leaves starting to let go, and me, my arms swinging at just the right rate, I mean frequency -- (not two stars for arms like Orion) -- measured in completed cycles per desired time unit, whatever is useful for you and yours, your purposes, plans, what you want to achieve and how best to do it.

I am walking with swinging arms to the general store, to pick up ice cream, and more generally, to eat something with someone I love. My mind is quiet as a library. In the library are books. The are stored in stacks on the shelves, and I run my finger along their spines, the spines of the books in my mind. I used to love this person, this is how I once talked about God, here are a few friends gone missing. I am talking about my books. Outside the leaves are falling and they cry Too Soon! Too Soon! I choose Cherry Garcia. This is the tricky part. Across the bridge the houses rise up and slope into the early evening. The future is mute, but the river talks softly. I open the dictionary and translate, slowly gathering the patience I need to carry on, not knowing but that the ice cream is good, and our bodies warm, our hearts swinging at the right frequency (I mean rate!) of beats per minute, per year, whatever you want, however you want to see it.

the hallway walker

This might all sound crazy, I mean it doesn't even mean anything, not really, not really when I'm looking at the consequences, cause I always am looking at the consequences and how things are then happening and happening again and everybody's running around, at least running around here talking about the last time things were like this, but I'm not really that surprised, I don't think I'm really all that surprised at all. It's as if the whole place, the whole construct, just started to go against itself and then it just started not to work all that well. I'm not surprised, not really. I mean, we spend the next few days, even more so, in class, and I'm listening, I'm really listening and trying to get what they are saying but I can't help but wonder, just a small part of me can't help but wonder, I mean really wonder, if there's really anything at all to what they are saying and then I'm looking at them and I start thinking, and I know this is bad, this is the kind of thing that is no good, it doesn't get anybody anywhere and it makes everybody feel like they are being sized up and spit out, and I know its bad, but I start looking at them, looking at them talking and I think maybe they don't really have any idea at all, any idea at all about the spot right outside where they are, the spot, I mean it might only be one step outside them, it might be hardly one step outside them, it could be barely a single step behind them, and I think they don't really know the step behind them and here they go talking about the classification of this theory versus the classification of that theory and I am just wondering, you know and its not fair, its not really fair, and I apologize for that, I think I have to apologize for that, upfront, right away, I need to apologize for that because its not fair, its really not fair, but I am just wondering what it is that they are trying to say, I mean after they talk and everybody's done and collecting their books and walking into the hallway and going home, I mean what is it that they were trying to talk about, trying so hard to talk about, and I can't help, and I maybe haven't got the intelligence to really question their hypotheses, I know I shouldn't do that, but I wonder if they do either and then its just the same thing all over again. The same thing again, I leave and I'm walking out into the hallway, just like them, and I'm walking down the stairs just like them, and yet they are all smiling and stuff and I'm not, I'm not really getting anything that is being said, any of the things that they are trying to do and so I just kind of fall into a little bit of a sadness, a little bit of gloom, I guess, you know I read that somewhere, once before, a little bit of gloom, or something, about a guy who didn't really think he was gloomy at all and then he realized that he was only in black and white or something, I guess maybe I'm not really gloomy because I can see the spot right behind them, its I guess the happier people who aren't really gloomy yet, not yet. They are just waiting, maybe in the stairs, thinking that it is quite nice outside even in the dark and the wind in the leaves that are still on the branches, and maybe that is quite nice and all, and I could just sit out in the dark and watch the trees and I wouldn't have to think about whether or not this theory fits into this classification or whether or not there were enough subjects in the experiment or whether or not anybody is really doing anything at all, I mean really doing anything at all because it seems to me, and I don't know if I really get it, but it seems to me that nobody is really making any choices anymore, and maybe nobody was ever making any choices, but they certainly don't seem to be making choices right now, not any of them, even those ones way up in the television screens and whatnot, and even those little guys on the street, not any of them seem to want to make choices, not anymore. And what do we have then without anybody making any choices, anybody really chosing anything anymore. We have me in there wondering what it is that they are thinking when they are talking and what it is they are thinking when they are in their home and in their bed because they sure are a lot happier than I am and I am really the gloomier one for all of this and I just wondered, I mean perhaps this is pushing the limit, but I just wondered if maybe I could get something that would help me not to be making choices and would let me just be talking about putting this theory in this classification over here and this other theory in this other classification over there because that isn't really going to make me that upset if I don't have to think about choosing, not anymore, at least.


until democracy allowed the mediocre a mediocre vote

Just as opposed, on principle, to the greatest inbalance, the in and out in the early hours before the ongoing charade of press conferences and state breakfasts much like the lengthened hours of a formal church meeting, ah, I suppose he is prepared, yes, of course, without a hint of embarrassment, to embrace the foreign despot from the nation of syranki ( it is actually, unbenownst to the dearthly educated and traveled current administration, syranique). No, this wasn't inappropriate. Hmph, far be it a cultural sidestep, a one hop and two hop, across linguistic bridges, metaphors really, crude illustrations of elephants eating shit, Indian elephants, you know the other type, the only type we can suggest now with all the goddamn correctness speech. Well all that anyway, all that would intimate. Because it could have been, I mean perhaps it could have bene, a rather inappropriate relationship between shit eating elephants and the challenger, a presumed non-shit eating elephant and a man with sublime presence and skill and intelligence (god forbid, those damn assholes are in heat, the shit eaters are in shit and in shit and in shit and no, no, only ever in shit!)--the other man, he is a man of wealth, etc, etc. Yes, just as non-shit eating elephants could ever be, even the non-shit eating elephant of African descent, and not the other lesser most unappreciative type of squirrel, rodent, even a fucking donkey wouldn't suffice. I mean who eats fucking donkeys? Who trusts a goddamn donkey?

....and you know, another thing, about the turnaround, you know her turnaround, when she walks in next time, just watch her, wait for her to do it because she will do it, and when she does it, hell, you'll see what it is that she is doing, this goddamn turnaround, a twirl I think it is, yeah, well, here she comes, you know, walking out like she is about to dance, and she does this twirl, this spin, and then she looks out and she just kind of smirks....

Who trusts a goddamn shit eating elephant anyway. He is a foul, untasty, and crude elephant. No, who trusts a shit eating donkey anyway. He is a foul un-trainable and un-making-kids-able as is possible (that is actually a mule). All I can say, ultimately, without the benefits of common politics, of course with no allegiance either way:

....its just a god-damn twirl.


sunday night she said that she was next

I am exhausted and there isn't much I wouldn't forgive if I could see back to where I was yesterday. There isn't much in the mind of recognition, you know, the favorable appreciated claim that I am gonna re-claim by hands on the person that I was to become, once, in the town, I was growing up in, rising up in, and then, all of them, thinking, that perhaps, once, there was going to be a moment where they'd all be with me, all of them on my shoulders and me still walking, along the road. There wasn't a time that wasn't like that, or wasn't unlike that. I think its the way it is with all of us. We are all out there, swimming around, holding each other's plans, each other's good and bad, each other's judgements, and we are walking around in each other's homes, in each other's basement--hmph, in the places that are only collections of the world out there, the stuff we have decided to bring inside and put down here, and over there. We are all walking around waiting for someone else, someone who collects the same things that we collect, that we have in our home, in our pantry and in our kitchen--waiting for them, hopefully them, to come up and say: Wow! What you have actually got in your kitchen, in your den, is really actually rather unique and it is something special and it is, I am sure (we are sure) it is nowhere else to be found and there couldn't be any place that we would rather be, there is no place that we would rather share our time and our lives than in this den that is so rare and unique and is yours and was made by yours and now, welcome to the human race.

Wouldn't that recognition be something. Wouldn't it be the exact moment that I really found out that I was joining the human race and the human race was joining me and we were merrily strolling, window shopping, sharing the great stories of the greatness that we have been a human and a special human at that. I don't know how it started, I don't know how it keeps starting, stopping and starting, and the absolutely convinced, I don't even know, I mean, do you? Do you know? You must know, you've been studying this and looking at rules of humans and other civilizations and how they interact and like each other--or in this case, maybe, don't like each other but want to like each other, or want everybody else to like them. I mean what do you think? Do you think it really is the next step, this transformation because I can't figure it out, not really at all, I don't really know what I keep in my house and I can't remember if I have a couch in the living room or if it is a few chairs. What do you think? When is it going to be the time for the first recognition and the knowledge that, hell, you don't even have an answer for any of this, do you?

I am exhausted and tired of the pretense and, even so, even in the creation, even in the examined and purposeful examination, I am tired to the innuendo and the plausible failure--if, if only, if ever, if then...If only I could remember, first and then second, the only ever moment that was only ever the only ever moment. Then I think I wouldn't need this anymore, then I think I could think without this and I wouldn't be all wrapped up in the possibility that my ambition is just a fear of looking bad. Hmph. Then I could just lean out the window, out the window of my home and I could just scream and it wouldn't be because I had anything, anything at all, in my house, and it wouldn't be because I wanted anything, anything at all in my house. It would just be because I didn't want to think that I had anything or for them to think that I had anything--and then we could both relax in each other knowing that we both were kind of mediocre and that was ok.