123109 draft

We needed a reason to believe
and so built these homes
these cities
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
is ripples


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
and go


1942 and with the fire raging
in his heart Mr. Goldenslicker drove his secretary
in his car
over the bridge
and died
the war was on
but for him
and the woman he made love to

it was all over


fragmenting out comes time
and boundaries

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...


Working out the plot.

We needed a crime. In order for the story to work. What did we mean, work? For whom does the story work? Not the victim, whether she be hung by a belt in the closet so no one would suspect homicide by the gardener, whom she loved once; or a man mowed down by a bus, it's a shame but it happens sometimes, people will say but will they guess that the driver owed him a fortune he would never be able to repay?

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--



Now I can. Listen: breaking in, trying to do it right. Looking like a chandelier cyrstal hanging from a wire. Somewhere else there is lamp light, the slow pulse of trains on the tracks. A broken whisle, listening, the listener got tired and for a minute dozed off. I saw him in the therapist's office, where I went with a heavy heart loaded up with things I needed to get out. Broken toyys, trucks, the reason I didn't stay and say this or that.. it was getting too much so I went like I said to unloud. When the doctor fell asleep. I looked at him, waited. He woke up and asked the next question.


draft 0.1

... a recklessness with others, to be able to hurt without feeling that you have done so, these gifts come untethered from weights of responsibility that comes from empathy; this is Joseph's advantage, what he tries to give to his son. It is raining in Park Slope. The windows outside the house give off ceiling light to the dull daylight shine. This is better than the way it used to be. Before Joseph was a raging animal, caged inside himself and poked at by time and other concerns the children did not get let in on, or his wife. Anne was quiet for several years, and then very quiet, before anyone noticed she wasn't eating much and then I found the laxatives in the bathroom, and first made the diagnosis.

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.



The Present

We took enough bread and cheese to last for several days. Up here, the days end early and so it gets colder in the afternoon. I was in love with Helen; she was in love with the world. I wanted to be like that, too, but for me the only way to the world was through someone I could love. When I am not near her, I am stranded in myself. Helen gives me the gift of feeling the value of things.

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.


Quite the opposite, so we don't mind what comes out.

If I am perfectly open to everything, then everything will come through. It gets noisy; yes there are rocks, and sometimes my wrists hurt. From lifting up my hands which do the talking for the voiceless endless deciding

without choosing

which everything

is everywhere