and so built these homes
and gave ourselves the work
we do everyday
I was born not a saint
but a psychiatrist
and in the town by the sea
I learned by watching
what people believe
and what trees believe
all organisms must be met where they are
and to each our own time scale
so I spent time in the backyard
with a pair of binoculars
and a telescope on the roof
and I watched what went on
while inside the knots were being tied
inside the house I mean
it was a different world
consider this an introduction
the first splitting of things from each other
in the shadow of the garden
I played investigator of the world
while inside life was trying to keep itself
this is the first crime
and the rest
consider a different time entirely
and then the pressure of language
and then the force of numbers
consider a entirely different perspective
what it is like to be a bat
a different man
consider the genders
fluid in the body
fluid in the mind
consider all the options
the skin pigmentation
the density of bones
then take your magnifying glass
1942 and with the fire raging
in his heart Mr. Goldenslicker drove his secretary
in his car
over the bridge
the war was on
but for him
and the woman he made love to
it was all over
fragmenting out comes time
the crime I am investigating, that the police called me in for, is boundary violation. someone crossed a line that we agreed would not be crossed. Josephine lay in the living room with a small hole in her head and another slightly larger right over her heart. The fan is still spinning; it is late august in NYC, the year is 2010, and I am running late.
when I arrive, the police scatter in all directions. "They used to call psychics," Charlie says as I pass. "Now they call you."
"Yeah. Well I'm glad they do."
"I bet you are."
"Got to eat."
"You don't look hungry."
"Business is good." I regret saying that, the way it sounded. I meant
"Business is booming. Unlimited inventory. Unlimited demand."
I bend close over her body. Josephine was beautiful. Still is, even with the holes and the blood. Her eyes are half closed, one less than the other. Her hair on her forehead falls away from the skin that falls in towards her brain. I am sweating. I crouch down.
I remember one case, Tyrell Govan, age 32, black male of African-American descent, low IQ but not retarded, who had sex with the bodies. He didn't kill them; he came after the crime, before the police, which confused the hell out of them. They thought there was a serial murderer rapist on their hands. Tyrell wasn't murdering -- and he just kept leaving his semen inside the women and the men. Polymorphus perverse, almost except I think he preferred them dead because they were closer to objects. He was oriented away from life in that way...
No no we are wrong. The story works for the victim too. Without it, she makes love in the garden one last time and is shocked at how few years need to pass before the details of that time are forgotten. And meanwhile the man makes it across the street, the driver lets him pass and the debt is perfectly ordinary, that is, invisible to literally almost everyone.
And the killer? Well it's clear to us what he gets. And we will be secretly rooting for him, even up to the moment when he is finally (inevitably) caught. His action took him to a place in which whatever he does, no matter how ordinary, will seem charged with meaning, electric, which is why he must be punished; but only after we get what we want from him.
And what about us? We get the chance to both be away from lives and deep in them, feeling everything--
I am a psychiatrist. I am the hero of this story.
When Joseph first came to me, he presented his world so well and so meticulously that it was hard to believe he needed to be there at all -- everyone else in his life, on the other hand, sounded like monsters. Human monsters. These things exist. It is important to realize that, to grasp the importance. I am not just talking about pedophiles, or murderer. I mean that there are people we encounter every day who warp the interpersonal fabric of the universe in such a way that others suffer. The question of intention, of syntonos with self, is a different discussion.
Joseph's life was populated by such monsters. He believed that he was always honest, and that his care for others was plain for all to see, if only they possessed decent enough eyes to recognize such things when they saw it. There was a rose garden he kept, and he worked hard to keep the insects who ate petals away, though he understood they needed to eat to, and so kept a few roses for them as a kind of sacrifice. For Christmas he brought me dried roses pressed in a book. The gift almost seemed romantic, but his way of giving it -- loudly, saying, "Hey Doc, their are people I don't like and there are people I do. This is because you're a good guy... I don't care about the holidays -- if you ask me, no matter how you slice it, it's all baloney, but think of this as a just a token of my appreciation..." -- distracted me from the fact of the gift itself: roses, carefully dried and placed in a small book, handed to me in my office.
Outside the park rolled over into the distance. There were no children out there today, too wet, but the dogs came with women in boots walking them and some men smoking and talking on the phone, the animals electrocuted with life. The men and women usually walk alone and don't talk, except when their animals intervene, and then the right is theirs to decide what they want.
When we left she was angry. "The mosquitos, the mosquitos, always the mosquitos... I forgot how it is up here."
"They're hungry -- they need your blood to stay alive."
Am I explaining or being compassionate? For life in even it's weirder forms. And to think of it the mosquito is a strange shape life has taken in its drive to eat itself. I am strange looking myself, too. How many living things need me to stay alive? These are the kinds of questions that do nothing to drive away loneliness, though it seems like they could, if I only I believed in them stronger. I don't think Helen considers things this way. I watched her apply the spray that would keep the mosquitos away.
When I was Jesus' age, I first became aware I was slowly learning that everything that had happened to me was gone. I understood that it was a part of me, but not as deeply as I once thought it was. In my head were the constant ripples of experience but they were not the rock in the pond, and they faded. This meant I was not the sum of my experiences. I started to think at that age I was truly a man of the present. It was Christmas in the woods. Helen gave me another piece of bread and from inside the tent we watched the insects and the trees work, each at their own time scales. To everything its own pace. My heart is slow, but it knows what it wants. Set me into time lapse film and it will be startling clear: who I was, whose blood I needed.
It is a cryptic sense of failure--nothing is so confusing, vexing, as the black pit of this beast. His is a mouth of disgust and I am longing, though unconvinced by my clearly pseudo hedonism, for a separation from the heightened attack of mis-numbers. This is a death. And they are admiring and staring at only the ever glaring peak of absence, a truthful stare into the misery of absolute denial, emptiness.
I am not in death, surely, but against my better self, I am without a doubt, in bounty. I owe too, she declares. It is a price of self-pity which I am un-eager to repay. We have too many hands, of a distant reclamation, perhaps an authentic re-connection with the lurid hands of impostors (ha!). This is hell, he admits, again, casually.
I am not in death.
The wind blows them away unless you poke holes in them first.
In the busy microcircuits of my mind I am constantly gathering myself
from the remembered present, and everyone I've known is there to lend a hand.
Whether or not I loved them, or they me I am constantly constructed
in a conspiracy several thousand years old of colluding parties like
wind and particles and great migrations,
and then I'm gone--
unknowable to all investigating forces.
But what if you can't see the pattern? I can't see it but I know there are trees outside the window living their lives without pronouns, no possessive; once I was high and watched them grow in fast motion on the TV and right then and there I knew a truth: we are not alone. I have seen fungus sprout from the brain of a dead ant. I have shaken hands with people who fuck children. There is a porousness to all boundaries, DFW was right, and if we don't feel the holes we will fall through them: holes in the head, in my heart, in other people's eyes and intentions, and what do you hate the most? "Other people's needs," said the comedian.
I am afraid too. When I die I think I won't ever be me again. What a loss! So huge I can't imagine myself without it. And then there's all the pain, and regret, which is worse. But right now I can reach through the screen and find you. If you take apart these words maybe you can write something else with the letters. Maybe you can press yourself into the alphabet and leave behind a career. Before you disappear. I am trying to point without pointing. Close your eyes. Open them.
They put long barrels of trash here, Mada. Where once I sat and wondered (in glee), now it is only long barrels of trash.
“The distance from the audience to the event is a factor in news judgement. What happens in your own town is more important to you than an occurrence in another town. If your own Boy Scout troop changed its cap style, that would be more newsworthy in your own town then elsewhere.”
--JOURNALISM pg. 7 of the Boy scouts of American Merit Badge Series.
When I left Miami, guns left me too.
My beloved shotgun remains in North Carolina where a friend shoots it, on occasion, at tree stumps.
My pistol remains in New York State –but, by no means, by my side. I live in New York City now. Guns are criminal items. I seem to recall a friend whose Brooklyn apartment caught fire while she was in it. She escaped, frazzled and sans cats. When firemen discovered the charred remains of several handguns in the wreckage of charred furniture and felines, she was doomed. The guns weren’t doing anything in her apartment. As far as I know, they hadn’t done anything in their past aside from sit in a bag some rich kid drug dealer had left there.
But they were there. And that was enough to put her in jail.
Guns are terrifying things in New York. During my Special Patrolman training (I am an Urban Park Ranger) our NYPD instructor told us never to touch guns, for any reason. “If you find a firearm,” we were warned during out pepper spray training seminar, “put a trashcan on top of it and wait for the police to arrive.”
Though I have been issued a baton, handcuffs and the powers of arrest, the notion of giving myself—or any Urban Park Ranger— a gun strikes a chord of lunacy. No psychological profile is necessary to become an officer in the Urban Parks Service. Furthermore, some thirty percent of my graduating class (there is a Park Ranger academy) had been arrested at some point or another.
Beyond our general lack of mental balance, the notion of carrying a gun in our job seems outright ridiculous. The worst crime I ever witnessed in Central Park was a drunken disorderly pissing on a tree in plain sight. I yelled at him until he left. Though I never patted him down, I was able to conclude from his lack of functional pants, that he was not carrying a firearm.
To our credit, no one in the Urban Parks Service has used his or her baton –beyond one nutjob who beat a suspect in cuffs; he no longer works with us.
I’m letting all of this be known simply to let you know that guns are bad here. For most people, they are not things you own or think about owning. You may fear them. You may even fetishize them. But not own them. Never. Are you crazy?
I recall having dinner with friends (a non-profit organizer and an art handler) who spent the better part of an evening talking about what a slimeball one of their cousin’s had brought to a family reunion. The poor bastard had mentioned, while sledding in the Berkshires, that his father had given him a gun that had been in the family for generations.
The cousin had later confronted them, in tears. “Please,” she pleaded. “He’s not that bad.” But they could not be convinced. Nobody decent owns a gun.
I forget how different things are once you pass a certain latitude.
On a recent road trip, the signs began cropping up once we hit North Carolina. It was a certain brand of bumper sticker which would become increasingly prevalent as we continued south. “I’ll take my freedom, money and guns,” it read. “And you can keep the change.”
Whatever else you may think about the Obama administration, he as provided a healthy shot-in-the-arm to the gun industry. People are buying up guns with a frenzied gusto, believing, in earnest, that he will surely outlaw them. On several Asheville area print ads, tag lines urged potential customers to “buy ‘em before they’re outlawed.”
As we continued South, through Georgia, gun shops began appearing along the roadside with a bizarre frequency. They were advertised on billboards along I-75 urging drivers to turn off at upcoming exits –as though they provided an essential service: bathrooms, food, a place to sleep. And guns.
Once in Miami, guns began to pop up in all kinds of social situations. While drinking beer in the very suburban living room of an old homebrewing pal, I suddenly found myself sitting before a small arsenal. Handing me a glass of Heffeweizen, he struggled, tensely with the magazine release on a Ruger bolt-action .22 that he had purchased for his son. “I wanna take him out to shoot some jugs of water,” he said. “I want him to know what they can do.”
No situation seemed inappropriate for guns to make their appearance.
My girlfriend’s father, in the midsts of a breakfast table discussion about his misgivings about taking anti-depressants brought out his pistols (a .357 revolver and a Ruger .380). He too struggled with the magazine release –though he stored both of his weapons fully loaded.
Despite his recent battles with significant psychiatric problems, he is currently on a waiting list to renew his concealed weapon permit.
His son, my girlfriends’s brother, likewise lamented the difficulties in procuring a concealed weapons permit. Despite having his hours cut back at work and encountering difficulties in making ends meet at home, he described plans for buying a handgun, in addition to spending hundreds of dollars on requisite classes, FBI fingerprinting and background checks.
The most alarming case of Florida’s gun mania came from a young attorney. I’ll call him Larry Espositio and tell you that, after becoming a licensed lawyer, he decided to just hang out in Miami and teach sailing to children.
He exhibited a jerky, nervous energy when he spoke and sometimes made jokes that involved screaming at you.
Esposito had grown up in an academic family in Coral Gables. Even in Miami, this demographic is typically hard sold on guns and the wisdom in owning them. Nevertheless, when Larry’s grandmother died he spent nearly a thousand dollars of his inheritance on firearms. They were a good investment –he reasoned. If, one day, he came to his senses, he could count on selling them back for (at least) 80% of his original investment. I didn’t want to tell him that something you lose %20 of your money on cannot, in any real way, be considered an investment. He now owned four guns, a fact he was never comfortable discussing in front of anyone.
“Not in public,” he would whisper, when I prodded him to discuss his gun love in a bar.
Weeks earlier, while driving in Miami, an incensed driver had rammed into his vehicle, pushing him off the road. Esposito kept a handgun in a Crown Royal bag under the driver’s seat. “It fucked me up,” he said. “If he had tried to kill me, I would have shot him and then run into a closet, balled up into the fetal position and cried about it.”
Luckily the driver drove on and Esposito’s gun remained under his seat. Besides, that guy coulda had a gun.
If this piece goes online, I can already predict the response. A phalynx of comment dropping morons will unleash a volley of peudo-patriotic nonsense.
I am vexing as an entity, because I like guns in the sense that they are fun items for me to play with. From a policy perspective, however, anyone with half a brain could tell you that they are an incorrigible scourge.
People are very stupid. Every year, busloads of them chop their fingers off unclogging lawnmowers, get their genitals caught in vacuum cleaners and crash heavy machines into one another every second of the day.
Miniature cannons are not a good idea for these creatures—everyone agrees with that.
A lot of people, however, believe they are a good idea for “me.”
And, who knows, they just might be.
Every time I go down this road, someone hauls out the quote “an armed society is a polite society.” They believe that, rather than limiting guns, we should be making them readily available to all.
More guns=less crime + more freedom.
Get ‘em into the national parks to cut down on all those picnic basket snatchings. Put some in the employee parking lot and people will stop stealing shit out of the minifridge in the break room. Pack a gun into every purse in Miami and date rape will go the way of the Do-Do.
Hell, if every airline barf bag on September 11th had contained a loaded .357, those planes never would have crashed into the world trade center.
As Florida’s CCW continues to be honored in more places and more people come to want them, this theory will be put to the true test –though I doubt it will yield positive results.
While all the fearmongering is good for the gun business, I wouldn’t believe the hype. The gun industry has won the war, for now. While it seems unlikely to me that Florida and other libertarian states will be able to have their CCW’s honored in New York City any time soon, Obama hasn’t seemed to want to do anything about the assault weapon-toting protesters showing up to his town hall meetings.
The barbarians have lined up at the gates.
Don’t worry Florida. You’ll get there.
Let us consider these limits. Take Thomas Nagel, for example.
It will not help to try to imagine that one has webbing on one's arms, which enables one to fly around at dusk and dawn catching insects in one's mouth; that one has very poor vision, and perceives the surrounding world by a system of reflect high-frequency sound signals; and that one spends the day hanging upside down by one's feet in an attic. In so far as I can imagine this (which is not very far), it tells me only what it would like for me to behave as a bat behaves. But this is not the question. I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat.
Nagel's question -- what is like to be a bat? -- is often repeated in scientific articles on the nature of consciousness. What is not stressed, however, is the closeness between this question and another one perhaps more relevant to the quality of our lives: what is like to you? Your early development is guided by the genes we share and the variations within your body, and as your brain grows it is changed by your experiences, giving rise to a morphology unique to you and you alone. If I try to imagine what it is like to be you, I may very well get farther than Nagel when imagining hanging upside and emitting high-frequency sound. But returning to Nagel:
... I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task. I cannot perform it either by imagining additions to my present experience, or by imaging segments gradually subtracted from it, or by imagining some combination of additions, subtractions, and modifications.
So many middle classmates, and yet all these empty spaces! I count pigeons between the electrical wires,
they don't carry conversations through the wires anymore--
all our voices must find each other through unbounded space.
It's hard not to think of you sometimes, and just now I guess I closed a door
I didn't know was open
which explained the draft,
I wanted to sing a song that was specific, and unique
to my throat; and whatever physics said about its shape
the precise measurements of my hollow spaces
and how they related to where I am full
was only as interesting as the handwriting
of a beautiful poem.
Like the way my voice sounded when I lay in the basement
and told a friend which girl from class
I secretly loved.
Now I enjoy taking a moment to add them all up and see what I find.
The difference is between taking a moment to make something
and making something of a moment,
which is what I do each day thanks to the specific foldings
inside my head that so many hands have touched,
fingerprints like handwriting: unique--
all of them
He travelled all over America and never thought much of anywhere but Brooklyn.
"Cleveland is shit," he said, from behind the wheel of his Lincoln Town car. "Chicago is Shit! Everywhere is boring, boring."
"New York," he continued. "Is a powerful city. You feel alive here."
Fred stopped drinking recently and lived alone. He had a five year old daughter, whom he wanted to spend more time with. Sometimes, he went to the saunas. His favorite was the old one. He didn't quite know why. It was reasonably priced and old. He liked the fact that it was old.
To pass the rest of his time, he went to the Safeway Car Company's dispatch center and worked the board. When he was really lonely or bored, he would drive the car.
A night before, I had met Fred over the phone when I called for a car to pick me up at a Haitian restaurant in Canarsie.
When the driver showed up, I couldn't believe my eyes.
It seemed as though Danny Devito's Penguin had died and come back as some sort of a woman. She Wore a New York city shirt and a schlubby jacket. She had dandruff and a bald spot. The fat of her face and body seemed to be launching a full retreat from the rest of her.
She led me to the car and then excused herself. "I gotta use the toilet."
She ducked inside the Haitian restaurant and left me sitting in the back of the car for a good twenty minutes with a broken window cracked open on Avenue L.
"You're still here," she said as she slouched back into the driver's seat. "My stomach ain't so good. That's why I only drive a couple nights a week."
She was quick to anger --particularly when you mis-named the neighborhood you happened to be passing through or put on aires regarding the most appropriate way to get from A to B.
She had been born in Marine Park and now lived alone in a place in Kensington. She pointed out every KFC we passed. "There's a Kentucky Fried Chicken outfit right there," she said, as though noting glorious city landmarks..
The initial ugliness that she projected as a human specimen only swelled as she spoke. Everyone black (the Haitian restaurant, the man who stole her car, the types you hadda pick up when you drove a yellow) struck her as predictably malignant and bad for her. She couldn't stand spicy food or driving for more than two days a week.
During her off time, she slept and watched Direct TV. She watched the movies, only. Her favorite was "An Affair to Remember." Her other favorites all belonged to the same ilk--breathless romance of a bygone era. It was her only humanizing quality, you could say. Or her only pretty one.
When pressed for a hobby, she said that she read sexy novels, when she was in the mood. Her favorites were written by Joan Rivers' sister --she was so hot, she hadda write her a letter. She hadn't ever done anything else with her life --cept drive a yellow. That was terrible because she had to pick anyone up who hailed her, by law.
"With a car service I don't have to pick you up if I don't want to," she said. "Fuck that. I can tell just by looking' at you if you're gonna be ok. I use my women's intuition."
SHe projected an Aristotelean ugliness. Or maybe it was Dickensian --the spirit of South Brooklyn Present. Whatever it was, it wasn't exactly human. In this way, the ride felt like a dream and every dark and depressing detail of her life only fed my desire for more. What was the weirdest thing that had ever happened to her while driving a car? A guy ("a black guy, of course") had punched her in the face, stolen her car and smashed it into seven vehicles before abandoning it in Queens.
Fred knew her well. He hated her in fact. Every night he offered the rest of the drivers a thousand dollars, cash, if anyone would fuck her. Every night, they offered him $2,000 back.
"She is shit," Fred said. "Disgusting."
THey had fired her a couple of times. "She fucked up a car though," Fred said. "So they took her back. She owes them money."
As we neared the end of the ride, I asked Fred what he weirdest thing that had ever happened to him was.
"Three people fucking in my cab," he said. "Some people need to fuck while you drive fast. It's a sickness."
Fred told them to just keep on fucking. It had happened a few times, he said. On the weirdest occasion, they had asked him to join in.
Fred said no. But he didn't tell them to stop. If you tell them to stop they complain. If you let them keep going you get tipped, big.
Afterwards, on the walk home I felt a peculiar sensation in my chest and somehow recognized that it was connected to the way the wet trees were making me feel as if they were all I ever needed. I don't remember if I used the word love, but why not put it out there now? Aren't we going to die, like the leaves outside Ferlingetti's pennycandy store -- crying too soon, too soon? So why not love a Batgirl, even if she does only date assholes? She's got an asshole, I've got an asshole -- we're a perfect match! And in the meantime, there's the lesson here, which isn't that it's better to go out than stay in or that the endless endlessness makes no promises to carry your personal ass, monkey-tortured soul, or god with it as it flows and so it goes--
No, the lesson is nothing can be reduced. I'll say it again: It was Halloween in Brooklyn, 2008. There are 8 million people here. Count them.
how it hurt
to see all our bones
and the air
turn to dust
swept into oblivion
after a very short time
(and then, right after, I was back; the lamp shook as I typed
the strangely pleasant awareness I had of my breath
lifting my ribs letting them go
When I was a kid I kept saying it. "It's divine! It's divine! Everything is connected to everything else." But nobody listened. My friends, my teachers, the kids at school kept on being themselves, like little locked safes inside of locked houses. "Let go," I begged. "Open up."
"He's so spiritual," they said and left the room.
So I spent a lot of time in the backyard. There were oak trees, and a blue view of the harbor between the leaves. It was a good place to practice what I preached. I breathed the air, which was molecules, into my lungs, which were molecules, and if I pictured it just right the boundaries between me and the world blurred and I felt an electric tingling start from the base of my spine and spread up and across my shoulders, tiny electric wings, until I exhaled:
Everything is connected to everything else.
Sure, it was lonely sometimes, and sure, I didn't have sex for a very very long time after all that, but at least I had something important, even if no one else wanted it.
And now you're sitting in here, and you're telling me, you're asking me, "Did I know? There's a divine connectedness in all things!" You have the science to prove it. All the Buddhists agree, and certain mystical sects of Judaism do too. They've been meeting with the scientists, and everyone is starting to get real excited about this, I mean it's a real breakthrough, you tell me:
Everything is connected to everything else.
"Aren't you excited??" you ask, and I have to admit, I am a little bit, there is something like excitement or maybe the shock -- of recognition, like picking up the newspaper to find a story about your cock on the cover -- sure, excitement, yes I'm feeling something like that. And I am very glad this is common knowledge now; glad you found it, proved it, no faith required; glad that this makes you happy and isn't that what this was about all along, you being happy?
"You're so spiritual," I said. "And beautiful." So you blush, little molecules come to the surface of your cheek, and later in your bed you do it again and I get that feeling again, those little wings and I think to myself, Oh yeah, I forgot what this was all about:
Everything is connected to everything else.
But when I was little, there was bright cold air, the subtle turning of sunlight as the planet moved. Do I miss it? I do, I do I do
to make life last forever
I picked you up
and drove us down
to the clinic
near where you grew up
"this place has changed so much"
you said and touched your face
I know I know I know
what that means
I know I know I know
what that means
you did the same thing
in the kitchen when we first fought
it was snowing outside
light came through the blinds
like tiny hands like tiny
light came through the blinds
like tiny hands like tiny
the light came through the blinds
like tiny hands to touch your face
tiny hands to touch your face
tiny hands touching me touching you
touching your face
and now the scientists found a way
to make that last forever
Still I get a chuckle out of imagining him shirtless and sweaty, hurrying to put on his pants and talking about Sanderg's computational assumptions while Anne sat up and pulled the covers over her breasts, which I've always admired, and were my vote anyway.
Did we think he was right? No, of course not. Did we stop him? It all happened so fast -- that's the expression, but well we could have said, "No no, it probably just fell from a tree," which of course it had, it had in fact fallen from the branches of the oak above us and that seemed obvious no sooner than our friend's snowball hit the old man right on the top of his bare bald head, and when he looked up shaking with cold or anger and began asking us why it was very clear at this point that our friend, who wondered about robots, and us, well we could only laugh though years later what stands out most is not that we didn't stop him but that we didn't because we were friends, which we're not now, no falling out just time, and though he of course has new friends who must like him it still makes us wonder a bit, wonder
and no relationships are just "in our heads"
so don't go down that road unless you are ready
to shut all the windows and close the blinds
in a sensory deprivation tank
even the dumbest people hallucinate
the busy galaxy of the mind has all it needs
and if it what goes on between people
is only in there
then so is the air and the dust,
the blood, the tall buildings many people made
once breathing now gone
they don't belong to anyone
There are a countable number of possible universes but an infinite space to cross in each one. Why do it alone? you might ask.
But there is no one there.
And why not? When everything done is done, and all the new things have started themselves up, single finite cells of infinite depth, will that be a good time to talk about God? There never is, lately, unless you happen to have a magnetic resonant imaging machine, several underpaid graduate students, and a Lonely Planet's guide to the human brain. Then you might hit on the g-spot right in the center of that old wrinkly white and gray mass, the God spot, and when you do it will light up the charts.
"There He is": a functional MRI of self-reported religious experiences.
Still in the end the alligators will blink their complexly-lidded eyes; the flies will live so fast if you were them then this morning was childhood, tomorrow you die. What then? Fly heaven must be an infinite space too, and if there are particles there (mustn't there be?) you can bet they contain a whole heavenly depth of their own.
Ruth was right: better stick close to the surface of things. Everyone who's everything is there.
the first year is nothing.
the second year it hurts like hell.
after that, you start to stop noticing.
I think it's been four years now
and I'm not even sure--
am I still doing it?"
he said. and banged his head.
What if he wrote you a poem right there? He fights the urge to lick the flakes from the air. Samuel is faithful so he will not bend or else he might tear and out will come his faith. This is a problem; poems require flexibility, a certain carelessness about the joints. Impossible not to leak, even just a little.
When the world is pixelated, later, pixelater, there is a threshold past which it becomes impossible for you to tell yourself apart from the sofa and the window with the view, and your hand. Fortunately since feeling is first it is the last to go. You will know your hand on your knee even if you cannot see the distinction. And if you write poems -- if you write at all -- it will be like closing your eyes in the dark.
When Samuel closes his eyes now he see the whiteout and the tree swallowed up by the world come to meet him, years ago, and what happened next he knew then would change absolutely everything. Now he thinks of the line "closing your eyes in the dark" and tries to type where the difference is there is no difference at all
but mistakes his lap for the keyboard and writes until he feels such joy that he leaks out all this best thoughts on the floor.
She is caught, oh god. And I, this troubled sour beast have taken the plunge into the world that is not mine, will not be mine, should not be mine.
AND made it once, and if there ever were a wheel, oh dear god, if there ever were the turn back into the grave that was that wheel, if there was, dear soul of mine, if there ever were a ground that did not demand its own sacrifice to unbecome itself--damn, damn--to unbecome itself, then, yes, that would be our beacon, our hope, our--
Fuck. It is his light. He is not so forgotten. I have it here, close to my chest, it is so dear to me that I could see like he does if only I could remember that I am only ever, yes, yes, only ever being taught [those are only assholes].
To see. Alas, I have no eyes.
It used to be no one could talk about it until a gentleman sorted out a few centuries worth of thought and came up with infinity. It had been around forever, of course, but it needed rules to work. Otherwise you're just talking about a mess and that is far from the stream, the endless endlessness flowing through you, now and now and now now now now now
But the computers still can't model it, and neither can the typefaces looking at you, all pupil, from the whitespace of the page. Discrete words -- the best you can do it arrange them so they point, like a finger at the moon. But every dog knows how that one goes. He'll just look at your hand, tail wagging. Doesn't seem to be bothered by the problem at hand. Then again, he knows he did something wrong when you come home and he's slinking around the silent stain on the carpet. How? Somewhere in his mind -- now the preferred term is brain -- he held on to a piece of a now, even as it passed several hours ago downstream while you and Carol were at dinner talking about the relative merits of slow vs. fast moving zombies in film. Remember that? (You agreed faster = scarier and now that too is downstream, bobbing with the pee and the release of one canine's unbearable urges).
How do you remember? It can't be caught, yet somehow it stays, sometimes horribly permanent, sometimes like little clearings in the wild of your mind. Brain. Apparently what infinity needed was a set of relationships to something not infinite. That's what he figured out. That's where you come in.
Fountain falling, the water shines under the sun. It is difficult to tell the news from words, a poet almost said, but without them we are lonely. Is it because then we are adrift in the senses? Somewhere a few days ago an information theorist reminds his audience: "Our world is 80% vision."
So whose voice is that, in my head each day?
I am remembering a path in the garden. Tomatoes pull on the arms of green vines, they are almost all red except for the curved window of sunlight reflecting off their side. Which is where I put my teeth to. And the juices, I am remembering the taste, outside of words, inside of time, back all the way across the days, unnumbered; before the machines came and needed to know how many before we could know what it meant.
I want to know what happens -- I am curious to know what happens, she says. She mutters. The goddamn process, I tell her. I am spitting. Quite enraged. The goddamn process.
Who gives a shit what happens. Who gives a shit where it takes you. Like you even fucking know when you got there.
I am troubled, indeed, later, to know that she is committing suicide, right now, by sticking a pen in her eye, because that was where it was that she knew, she knew where she would go, at least in immediacy, when she stabbed herself with her pen. I am pledging, yet again, and this I admit is most foolish, to abet the next wishes of the next woman. Even she will, I suppose, stab herself with a pen.
It is raining inside these blood vessels, like tiny boats in my arms.
So we all get wet.
Today it didn't rain, and that's newsworthy to me. So let's post it using the internet, and not ask how it got there. Take it as a given. Take it with a grain of salt. Take time, take time, take time, before the soap cleans us out.
The collection, though very dear to her heart, and exquisite in nature (obtained illegally from an Iranian gypsy seeking safe passage into the artic states) became expendable during her third marriage -- indeed, her entire wealth became expendable. As she once imagined herself forever attached, certainly most secure, in her foundation, her physical harness to the world of the elite, the frightful fall from twenty seven thousand feet cleared her of any misconception concerning endless love and, more severely, about the possibility of harboring wealth beyond her tragic and now imminent death.
Aftewards, the obtuse captain proclaimed (quite fittingly) the outer door did not close upon take-off and we were forced to shed some weight to regain balance. Of course, the proceedings, during the following days, focused predominantly on the assumed heirs, only one of which was excused from any possible wrongdoing. Oh he is quite too mentally ill to be engaged in criminal offending. Besides, his suicidality is right off the charts, it is about a nineteen and a half. He wants to kill himself so badly the doctor has to duct tape his hands to his legs. Why would anybody that mad desire a collection of Iranian gold coins?
We are ever desperate in this cube.
I think it is timing that is coming and going -- but not at all -- all that coming and going is just wasting time collecting things and thoughts about other things until -- all that coming and going stops and we aren't really fixed at ever.
Boy, I liked that distraction. It cost me about twenty-seven years.
There are whores down that alley, Frankie. And they cost $35, at least. You want the other alley, next to the department store.
Is she here yet? Has she arrived. Please ensure that the tables are properly set and that our guest, this fine gentleman, is seen delicately into the drawing room. I would hate for any activity (especially on such a fortuituos occasion) to disrupt what must be considered to be an inevitable future. A remarkable bond. He is here? He has arrived? Like this, I am not even prepared, not even dressed, why I have forgotten all about my own self, how irresponsible, yes, yes, show him into the drawing room, ensure that he is with tea or drink or whatever it is his pleasure is -- I am beside myself, I have erred, this union will not take place, I have completely and utterly forgotten myself, to such a post I do not think I have ever been, how has this occurred, how has this transpired, I such a wench.
She runs out of the room, muttering ever so fiercely to herself: that fucking teddy bear, I will find that bear and let him know his tricks are not acceptable and will not derail this princess. I cannot believe I have forgotten myself for such a time, at such a momentous occasion. That brute bear will pay for this!
He bought the lamp in Lisbon after witnessing a spectacle, indeed a state execution, he should most likely never forget. It is the lamp owned by a religious zealot a socially labeled vagabond, who had suspiciously murdered fifteen children in the back of an alley and set them on fire. He has insisted. She has accepted, eventually. Suspiciously, though? No, she mused, I suppose not. Nevertheless, he wouldn't ever forget a spectacle like that -- and even if there were a course of reality that brought a self-bought lamp to be the lever of his own maiming. But, as matters seemed to transpire, not even the general public felt her actions at a distance from the normal hectic meanderings of those under strict supervision due to mental instability. She couldn't have possibly understood such ramifications, it was illustrated in the daily monitor, but to assume that one who already seeks help has but no wall to protect her from such illness is to assume we are a state of unseemly and crude aliens. I for one am not, she snickered, even in court, pretentious and without veil. The manner in which a man begins to introduce authentic altercation -- yes, yes, the manner in which he begins to offer -- as opposed to simply imply -- a contribution without the threat or disguise of reward is, of course, a manner in which he is seen to know and favor the wells of intimate humanity and not merely enjoy to drink.
This I couldn't possibly describe, she admits -- and even admitted, later. Though, perhaps against the better (urbanely) pleas of her casual acquaintances, assumed romantic bothers, she would acknowledge weakly, maybe to only herself, that it was the other he she meant to kill.
I admit. I exhaustively admit that we were without recourse. Our own fingers, bless their bleeding by my own sight, epitomized failure -- and alcohol. The Countess, so taken to service by our --(sure, yes, regardless of the admitted, the admittedly deplorable and realized legal enslavements of crude and improper populations)-- but this countess, again, so taken to service by our tragic and isolated and defeated image swore an oath, to such a height there must have been a doctrine of angelic mandate, reminded demands of man over angel, serve the un-servable, the indolent indigents! Serve us who have lost our people, our followers, serve us who now have no voice!
It surely, upon my own brow, I swear, it must have been this calling, though Melissa, sour and uncouth, against the better likings of her proper feudal mother, dismissed such aid as inadequate, indeed repellent to the (mind you a woman endlessly inculcated by, again, noble doctrine) skin of such grace, perfection, and ah, the angel. And dare I admit, by Pete, that there was such crude interruption, such crude intrusion into the inner estates of the dear lord and provider that, upon, my head, by which was included notes of treasonous and seductive intent --
"Zounds, by Pete, they shot her dead!"
"...the tall one says its accustomed to difficult inference -- and manipulated, only slightly, by the disjointed bridge to appropriate, certainly legal and justifiable resources -- it would, it implies, only use generally agreed upon and specified courses of action. In such a situation, while disposing of competitors efficiently (and in an unbiased seemingly random fashion) would greatly benefit the syndicate in legal gambling gains, political contributors, and even in the number of average dull normal conservative check writers (the fucking balls of the abused)..."
She is watering flowers, afterwards, in the garden, in the back. It might rain, she mutters. That would be the fucking day, he thinks. He is reading a napkin:
1. Everybody wants it.
2. It is accessible to everybody.
3. Everybody does it on their own.
4. Only the self is to blame for failure.
I'd rather pour gasoline on myself and ride through town on fire, he says. Then it'd be the hell they'd see, not the hell they'd let themselves walk. You aren't ever gonna ascend beyond the barbershop, dad. Stop yelling at the radio. All they see is that black mud on your face.
You're blocking my sun, she says, and it is about to cloud up. I don't think I'm the one blocking your goddamn sun, he mutters. Recognition is the same fucking goal -- and we'll give up the natural world -- the one that is not in pieces, is not picked apart by the reductionist illusionist -- because it all happens tomorrow.
she says she suggested a solution
a reasonable solution
to a hyper-allergic drug addicted bond salesman --
she was numerating, you know,
making it happen,
making it happen.
All the while,
she was just making the numbers roll,
back and forth,
like it wasn't anybody's,
wasn't nobody's business,
not to start the slashing,
the slashing and the cutting,
the slashing and the cutting --
she didn't even like the dissections
not that she was making them,
not that she was asking him to make,
just a punk bond salesman.
just a punk bond salesman.
2, I loved computers;
3, I connected with them;
4, My sisters and I;
5, played them all the time;
6, But at thirteen I decided;
7, If I kept loving computers;
8, I would never get a girlfriend;
9, So I stopped;
10, My sisters became a teacher and a veterinarian;
11, and I became a therapist;
12, I took care of people;
13, I told them;
14, We are in the world to love the world;
15, if we can only learn how;
16, But the computers called me back;
17, to paint with them;
18, what I dream;
19, And what I dream is;
22, to everything;
23, because everyone;
24, is everything;
25, and everyone I love is everything;
26, and whoever loves anyone;
27, loves everything;
if I can only learn how